The Earthworm

Carolyn Matthews Curie High School
4959 S. Archer Avenue
Chicago IL 60632
(312) 535-2100

Objectives: 1. To acquaint students with earthworms 2. To help students to begin to overcome their fear of earthworms 3. To show students why they should have an appreciation for earthworms Materials Needed: Provide a sufficient amount according to the number of student groups shoe box lids (for worm observation) black cardboard for covers tongs magnifying glasses flashlights data sheets Strategy: Activity #1 Earthworm and Soil Fertilization Each group will receive an earthworm for observation, and a checklist of necessary things to observe. Color Differentiation between head and rear end Ears, eyes, nose, mouth, legs How long is it? How does it eat? Describe the worm's appearance. Where is the clitelum? What is it? What does the earthworm smell like? How does it feel? Do you think that it has a brain? Do you think that it has a heart? What color is the blood? Do you have blood vessels? Can you see them? Discussion: How does the earthworm have influence on soil structure? The ingestion of soil; the partial breakdown of organic matter; the mixture of these factions, and the ejection of this material as surface or sub-surface casts; the formation of water-stable aggregates; the aeration of the soil, and the improvement of its water-holding capacity; the addition of lime to the soil. Activity #2 Miscellaneous Observations Touch the worm in any spot. Put the worm in an open shoe box. Cover half of the box with a piece of cardboard. Put the worm in the uncovered portion of the box, and observe what happens. How does the worm respond to elevations? Does it prefer to crawl up or down? Performance Assessment: Did the students get used to the worms and handle them with confidence? Did the students exhibit verbally or through their actions a respect for the earthworm as a complex living thing? When the observations were completed, did most students show some concern about what would be done with the earthworms?
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