Vermicomposting (composting with worms) is a successful hands-on project that we have done with our students in the classroom for many years. Our worm homes are a plastic bin with airholes. Inside, there is a thin layer of soil, shredded newspaper for bedding, and one end devoted to our food scraps. We stick to fresh fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grinds, eggshells, and bread - which the worms eat right up. The worms are fed once a week for the duration of the program and then the worm castings (worm waste) will be harvested to add nutrients to the soil in the schoolyard gardens.
This picture is of volunteer Bea and students checking out the worm bins.
In this lesson we also learned about worm anatomy. Students were fascinated by the worm's five hearts, chomp and gizzard (how they eat and digest), as well as how worms sense their surroundings. Before tucking our worms away in their bin, we observed the worms and were able to identify the different parts and the functions of each.
If you're interested in making your own vermicomposting bins, here are directions.