Worms up close

Activity

Study the structure of a worm and its preferred habitat.

  • Estimated time: 30 minutes
  • Location: Outdoors & Indoors
  • School term: All year round
  • Level of experience: No experience needed
  • Subject(s): Science, Geography

Learning objectives

  • Observe living things in their environment (microhabitat)
  • Learn how worms have adapted to their environment

Essential background information

Preparation

  • Use books and the internet to find out the names of a worm’s body parts and their lifecycle.
  • If the worms are shop-bought transfer them to a larger container, add extra soil and organic matter such as grated carrot.

Equipment needed

  • Box of angling worms or worms dug from school garden
  • Large shallow container
  • Table covered with plastic sheet
  • Water sprayer
  • Magnifying glasses
  • Soft paintbrushes to gently move worms if necessary
  • Paper and pencils to draw worms and record facts

Step by step

  1. Present the container to the group and ask them what they think is inside. It will look like soil as the worms will be hiding. The black substance is mainly worm casts (‘poo’), depending on how long the worms may have been kept in the original container.
  2. Gently tip out the contents to reveal a mass of writhing worms. Gently spray the worms with water to keep them moist. Make it clear that the worms should be handled gently and carefully.
  3. Ask pupils to think of a name for their worm. It could be male or female as they are hermaphrodite!
  4. Ask the pupils to study the body of a worm, think about the worm life cycle, or where a worm fits into the food chain.
  5. Write a worm diary. What does a worm do in a day, what does it eat, does it escape from a predator?

Hints & tips

  • Check with the bait shop the type of worms bought and ask if they can be released into the garden? if not return them to the shop.
  • Use this activity as part of the Earth Matters class growing topic

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