Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Intro to Wormy Wednesday


Kindergarten Unit on Worms: We Love worms, lesson printables

Everybody likes me, everybody loves me...I guess I'll study worms! 


Ok, so I took some liberty with the original lyrics! But I'm singing because its time to study worms!

I've teamed up with Andrea at No Doubt Learning and Erin at the Usual Mayhem to coordinate a kindergarten worm unit for our 5 year olds. The idea first came to Andrea after she read the article titled, "Kindergartners, Fish, and Worms...Oh My!" in the September issue of the NSTA publication Science and ChildrenI feel so blessed to be working with these two incredibly creative women, and to be able to bring you this wonderful unit study on worms.  

Wormy Wednesdays will be featured on each of our sites for the next four weeks. We will be sharing various aspects of our the worm unit. Just to get you excited, our earthworm unit includes the best resources we have found from educators across the globe, as well as creations of our own. The unit includes read alouds, crafts, music, experiments, phonics, math, food, and art. If you'd like, go take a look at our collaborative Worm Board on Pinterest

Kindergarten Worm Unit: STEM mom
I  have the pleasure of organizing the science aspects of the unit, most importantly including experiments that children can safely do with worms. I have put together group of 6+ simple experiments that kindergartners will greatly enjoy. At the end of this post, you will find a free science notebook printable where your child can record his experimental results. 

First of all, we have to get some worms, right? The best time to get earthworms, or "nightcrawlers" is at night, go figure. So my son and I planned our worm hunt after the 18 month old went to bed. We were armed with a flashlight, hand shovel, and plastic shoe box. There is just something super exciting about going outside with equipment after dark, almost naughty! Caleb was as excited as I was to go find worms. I knew that worms can't see red light, and so all the research I had done recommended you use red cellophane over the flashlight so the worms won't squirm back into the soil. But I didn't have cellophane. However, I did have plastic lids to storage containers. We just put the red lid in front of the light and viola. We saving the other colored lids for experiment # 6. (You see what I did there? Teasing you with the experiments coming up? he-he) 

Using Colored plastic lids to create colored light for science experience: from STEMmom

We took turns one holding the light, the other digging. Finally we had a clump of soil, placed it into our plastic bin, and headed inside (its been cold here in the midwest). After carefully going through the soil, we only found two worms. So we went to our back-up plan and bought night crawlers at Wal-Mart. In my next post, I'll share with you how we made a home for our worm. But here's my son Corban, a bit unsure of these little creatures.

Little kid unsure as he peers into a worm farm: STEM mom
Andrea at No Doubt Learning made a Daily Worm poem that you can download at her site, that gives kids an opportunity to draw, color, and identifying rhyming words; one poem for each day of the week. This little poetry notebook is too cute for words, make sure you go take a look.  (Do worms shrug? he-he)

Before we did observations of our worms up close, I had Caleb draw a picture of what he thought a worm looked like. He drew two circles, labeling one as the head, and the other as the body. In the science notebook I designed there's a place on the first page for a drawing before we study worms and one after all or reading and observations. The plan is to see how much better he can recall and draw details of the worm.  


Boy reading "There's a Hair in My Dirt" as part of a worm unit study: STEM mom

There's A Hair in My Dirt: Book for a Worm UnitWe started our unit with a book by Gary Larson titled, "There's a Hair in My Dirt." This is a book that I read to my high school students when introducing invertebrates. Its a really cute story about a little worm who is disheartened by his lot in life as a worm. He father goes about telling story to cheer him up. There is a lot of "adult humor" and some thought bubbles of the characters that I don't read to my 5-year old, but the point of the book is to help people understand that nature is not always what it seems. In the end, the little boy worm feels better about his role of aerating the soil and helping with decomposition. As you can tell from my photo, my son is fixated with the page where he figures out that the "fair maiden" decomposes and that is where the little worm's hair in his dinner came from. While this concept might not be acceptable for all 5 year olds, its the concept that is keeping him interested.     

Once we did some initial reflection on what features we thought worms had we took a closer look. We set up the worms on a cookie sheet moistened with wet paper towels and used magnifying glasses to take a closer look.  In addition to the How Stuff Works suggestions, here are some questions to help hone in on your child's observation skills.

Touching Earthworm for initial science observations: STEM mom
  • What color is the worm?
  • Are there objects in the room that are the same length as your worm?
  • What does the worm feel like? 
    • Wet or dry?
    • Smooth or rough?
    • Cold or warm?
  • Can you figure out which is the head of the worm, and what is the bottom? How did you figure that out? 
  • What happens when you touch the worm?
  • How does the top of the worm feel compared to the bottom?

Boy and Dad observing Worm as part of a Worm Unit Study: STEMmom

While I wasn't too concerned at this point about vocabulary, our primary goal was to figure out what end of the worm was front and back. Then we also used this worm coloring and handwriting sheet from TwistyNoodle.com to look at the word "Worm."   

We "heart" worms: Kindergarten Unit Study on Earthworms: STEMmom

Experiment #2: Wet or Dry? 

For each science lab notebook experiment there is a place for your child to predict what they think the worm will prefer. In this case, Caleb thought worms would prefer wet over dry paper towels. Then the notebook has a table for data recording of three worms behavior. We placed the worm on the dry towel and waited to see if he'd move over the the moistened towel. I also left room for "Interesting Worm Observations" where we made note that while two of our worms did prefer the wet side of the paper, they ended up wiggling under the dry towel. So our conclusion was that worms do prefer wet over dry, but light also impacts this. Next we'll do experiment #1: Can Worms See Light?  

Boy studying whether worms prefer wet or dry paper towels

At the end of our worm unit, we'll have a place for you to link up and share your best worm activities.

As promised, here is the free science lab notebook printable for your child to use while conducting the observations and experiments as part of this Worm Unit. I printed them two on a page, so that you could make a booklet if you printed them back to back. But the size also makes it conducive to lapbooking, if that is up your alley. The size also makes it perfect to glue into a composition notebook. 

Free Science Lab Notebook for K-3 Science Earthworm Experiments from STEMmom.org
Click the image above or this text to get the free download.

This post is the first in a series of posts I'm doing on our kindergarten worm unit. If you liked this one, here are the others!  You can click on the Worm Unit graphic in the sidebar, or if you prefer, here are some direct links to the individual posts.  




And don't forget to go see what cool worm ideas Andrea over at No Doubt Learning, and Erin at Usual Mayhem are doing this week! 

My Button   Photobucket


6 comments:

  1. I love the photos in your post! We've been having a great time too!

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    1. Photos are the difference between a "nice idea" and an "Oh, that is sooo cool, I have to try that with my own kids!" Unfortunately, I'm working with a point and shoot camera this week, waiting for my new SLR to arrive at the end of the week. My nice camera died last week, and I didn't realize how much I relied on it! :)

      Darci

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  2. Our worms look teensy compared to yours!! We're excited to head into the experiments today, now that we have our worm home built. It will be interesting to compare the results cross-country!

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    1. We added the two worms we found in our soil, along with our bait worms into our worm farm. Their size was noticeably different. But as we have been learning in our worm unit, no matter their size, they are powerful little organisms. I'm more and more impressed with them every day that we study them! Thanks so much for this collaborative unit idea! Yeah, I can't wait to compare results. Maybe midwest worms react differently than west coast ones? Hum?

      Darci

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  3. I stumbled upon your website while preparing an earthy lesson for our homeschool group tomorrow. The age group I'm teaching is 5-7...they are going to love this! Thanks for putting these simple experiments together in a way that will be easy for the kids to record their data!

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  4. Thank you thank you thank you for these worm posts!! I am so inspired and excited to teach my kindergarteners about worms. These are wonderful inquiry-based lessons.

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