Introduction to Kindergarten Earth Science -Worm Composting

-Next Generation Science Standard* K-ESS3-3

One of the Next Generation Science standards* asks the student to “communicate solutions that will reduce the impact of humans on the land, air, water, and/or other living things.”  To cover this Kindergarten Earth Science standard, we chose to study worms and composting.  Composting reduces the need for land to be set aside for landfills, it decreases the air pollution caused by methane released from landfills, it decreases the possibility of sewage “juices” being released into local waterways and the preserved land can be used as a habitat for trees and animals.  Therefore, composting was a perfect way to cover this standard in a real, meaningful, hands-on way for Jack.

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You can find the complete lesson for this project at our Teachers Pay Teachers store.  The lesson includes worksheets, assessments, materials lists and instructions for completing this project.

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Materials List for Kindergarten Earth Science -Worm Composting

red wiggler worms
magnifying glass
meter stick
Composting with Worms lesson

Step 1: Download the Composting with Worms lesson and complete the worksheets

Here is a sample worksheet from the lesson:
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Step 2: Examine the worms using a flashlight, trace them and their structures, and measure them with a ruler

We began by purchasing nightcrawlers from a local bait shop.  However, after some research we found that we could have ordered a boat load of worms (250 of them!) online.  These red wiggler worms, which you can purchase online, are great for composting.

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Our bait shop worms worked perfectly for the observations we made with a magnifying glass and flashlight.  We wanted to see the structure of the worms up close and we wanted to test what happened when we shined the light on them.

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We took some measurements of a few of the worms to compare their sizes.  This was not easy because they are wiggly and slimy!

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We carefully traced a worm and filled in its structures, which we viewed under the magnifying glass.

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Step 3: Check if the space you are going to release your worms is an appropriate habitat for them

We used a meter stick to see if our outdoor compost bin was deep enough for the nightcrawlers.  It was not.  The nightcrawlers like to dig 3-6 ft. into the ground and our bin was not even 3 ft. tall.

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So, we released our worms into our garden where hopefully they met a much better fate than if they had been used as bait!

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Step 4: Practice using a kitchen compost bin, learn what items should go in it and what items you should leave out, then complete the assessment from the Composting with Worms lesson

We do have a kitchen composter, which I used to teach Jack the things that can go into the compost and what cannot.

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Here is a sample assessment page from our lesson.

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NGSS Lead States. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By States. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

*”Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.”