Worms & Worm Bins
What do worms and chickens have in common? How can you tell a male worm from a female worm? Why to worms come to the surface when it rains? A read-aloud of an informational book about worms helps students begin to understand why worms are so beneficial for the garden. Students learn that worms help decompose waste and recycle it into valuable fertilizer. Mentors challenge students to examine how we humans, could be as good at recycling, as worms. Students break into small groups to consider the different destinations for items in a bag of “garbage.” Items are identified as those that can be sent to the recycling center, those that could go into our garden compost bins, those that could be put into our worm bins to feed our worms, and those that can be left for trash pick up. Mentors help students identify the different parts of worms with worm worksheets. Students are asked to keep all materials in their garden journals. Mentors then help students to observe and examine living specimens from our worm bins. The red wiggler, a segmented worm, from the annelid family, can really thrive in the captivity of worm bins. Students discover that the ideal environments for worms include: cooler temperatures, darkness, moistness, and availability of food. Students learn about “worm farming” as mentors help them create their own worm bins for their class rooms. These bins will create valuable organic material called “castings” that we can added to our Teaching Gardens. Mentors engage students in a discussion of the value of a 3 pound bag of worm castings, created by worms, in our worm bin, made from table scraps. While all of this activity is taking place, students are also create their own edible “worm bin dessert” from a recipe, the dessert is served to all participants.
For over 10 years The KCK Organic Teaching Gardens have conducted hundreds of “Worms & Worm Bin Workshops” for nearly 10,000 students in KCK Schools, as well as special workshops for area church Sunday schools, gardening groups, pre-schools, and parent nights.