Worm Bin Project Unit
- Grade level: Middle Elementary
- Subject Area: Science
Students will work collaboratively to exchange data
with their peers (groups of students at other schools). They will discuss
differing findings and hypothesize reasons for these differences. Note: This is a
long-term activity; be prepared to devote a small amount of time to this activity
each day or week for roughly two months.
- Students will learn to share observations, data, hypotheses, and
questions orally and in writing by collaborating among each other and with
students in other schools.
- Students will discuss differences and similarities
in data collected from each of the schools in the context of the scientific
- Students will learn about the sorts of food that best sustain worm
life and growth.
Materials and Resources Needed
- Email capabilities
- ClarisWorks or other integrated software
- While preparing to set up the worm bin activity, contact other
schools via email to see if there are any classes interested in conducting the
activity at the same time. Refer to some of the general educational Internet
sites for suggestions on how to get in touch with other schools. Set up lines of
email communication with interested schools. It is fine for one class to start
the project earlier than the other class. The class that starts earlier can field
questions from the other class.
- Have students work in collaborative groups and connect them with partner
groups in other schools to discuss the worm bin project and their observations
and data. Although the initial contact with other schools will probably be
teacher-to-teacher, try to allow students to develop unmediated contact with
other students. Discuss appropriate email behavior.
- Have student groups record their interactions with their partner groups in a
journal. For instance, students may want to record data they collect (eg: how
much food they fed each worm bin on a given day) that is similar to or different
from the data their partner groups collect. They might also wish to record
interesting information not directly related to the project, such as the size and
location of the partner group's school. Such information can provide detail and
context for the project. The journal can either be handwritten or typed into the
computer and saved in a computer folder. All students in the collaborative group
should participate in keeping this journal.
- At the end of the two-month period, share graphing data from the first
lesson. Compare results and hypothesize any discrepancies.
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