Worm Bin Project Unit
Decomposition, Soil, and Life Cycle Research
- Grade level: Middle Elementary
- Subject Area: Science
Students conduct background research on the
decomposition process, soil composition, and the life cycle using the resources
provided for directed Internet searches.
- Students will conduct research using Internet resources to enhance their
understanding of the life cycle, soil composition, and the decomposition process.
- Students will work in collaborative groups to select a topic for
investigation and to conduct Internet research.
Materials and Resources Needed
Internet resources: Refer to the list below of resources on worms, gardening,
and soil to help students get started on their research.
- Have collaborative groups of students discuss a topic of interest
for investigation that is related to the worm bin and plant growing lessons, as
well as to humans' place in the life cycle. Possible topics may include soil
erosion, the growth and distribution of crops on a farm, vegetarianism, a
particular plant of interest.
- Consult the list of resources provided and then have groups of students
conduct Internet searches to collect information on their selected topic.
Discuss appropriate Internet behavior and etiquette. Students may need assistance
in learning to use the Internet.
- Students collaborate over email with the partner groups arranged in Lesson
2. They may choose to send questions over email to experts in the area they have
chosen to explore.
- Have students consider their place in the life cycle.
Discuss with them in the whole group the effects of human activity on the lives
of other organisms.
Here are some resources related specifically to worm projects:
Web site at Dartmouth
Includes a generic gopher server, the Sanger DCener, UTSW Server, The Worm Web, a worm-related newsgroup, the Worm Breeder's Gazette,
the Worm Literature Index and Term Searcher, and photographs.
Educational Resources Server (NERS) at U. of Arizona
A very good site
that includes teaching resources - including a syllabus, laboratory exercises, lab
- Willy the Worm's Wonderful
Words of Wisdom
A web site
for Ms. Edding's 2nd grade class on worm bins.
Photographs and text on how to use worms for composting.
Here are some resources related to gardening:
Information for the "serious gardener";
forums, books, mailing list.
- The Garden Spider's
This is a
clearinghouse for all kinds of gardening information: kids' gardens,
searchable publications databases, fact sheets, newsgroups on all kinds
of plant- and garden-related topics.
Agricultural Service page including information on landscaping and
environmentally sound composting (with worms).
Ohio State University site with fact sheets, mini-quizzes, and
other gardening resources.
Garden Gate: Finding Answers on the WWW
Tips for finding
answers to specific gardening questions. Also contains databases on
particular types of plants, such as carnivorous, cacti, bonsai, and
others. Also provides information on composting.
Descriptions of dozens of
rare, edible plants.
Here are some resources related to soil:
1: About Soil
information about soil types, care, composition, and conditioners.
- Green & Growing
Environmental Education Project's Home Page
Site on environmental and
agricultural education with downloadable lessons and teachers' guides
on topics including soil, chemicals, and the interrelatedness of
contains information about vital soil and plant nutrients and
fertilizers. Look under Soil and Crops.
- NSCSS Soil Science
of Consulting Soil Scientists page containing information on
university, government, and professional soil science organizations.
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