As spring begins to spring, the children's fascination with the creatures that live in our yard is exploding. One of our very favorite things to search for are worms! These creatures can be found all around our yard, under stumps, in the dirt, and often in our hands. To support this interest we created a worm habitat for our classroom, so that we can observe their homes more easily and to foster a deeper inquiry into the world of a worm.
The first step was filling a large, glass cylinder with soil. We chose some from one of our garden spaces that has yet to be planted. As we gathered the dirt, we talked about our plan:
"We are inviting the worms to visit our classroom. We want them to be comfortable so they want a lot of dirt. The dirt is their home!" With careful movements (and much concern about the glass breaking) we filled the container then set it aside. The real work was about to begin. We needed to gather many, many worms!
There is a corner in the yard where we have been digging lately to see what we can find. The frequent rain and digging has created a beautifully enticing mud pit that we have been loving. I got out a large shovel and everyone gathered their own smaller ones. The children naturally broke into different jobs: worm grabber, bowl holder, digger, worm spotter. Each child has their own comfort level with getting dirty, touching worms and being in charge of holding the collecting bowls. At first I did the heavy digging, but soon the children were interested in participating and formed digging teams. It felt so good when it worked, and the worms were plentiful.
As we were digging, we noticed that the worms were all sorts of sizes! Some were very small, some were bigger, but short. We even found a huge, long worm! After we gathered quite a few everyone paused for a moment to notice how the worms were moving:
scrunching up, then reaching out
pushing the dirt with their heads
trying to find a home
climbing on top of each other!
Once we were satisfied with the amount of worms collected, they were placed at the top of the container of dirt. Everyone felt quite happy and even surprised at how quickly the worms buried themselves into the dirt. A few wiggled close to the sides of the container, so we could see just how far they had gone. After watching for a while, we covered the sides with black paper to mimic the darkness under the earth and brought it inside. We are feeling excited to observe it during the week to see what the worms are up to!