I can tell you, life is not boring when you mix 6 y old kids with a bin of worms.
We Future Cycle presenters came to Mount Vernon Holmes Elementary School and while the older grades took their state tests, the younger grades had a chance to learn about worms. With big eyes, first and second graders learned how every living being on earth has an important job to do. Giggling, the students followed explanations that worms have no eyes and ears, and that they eat what ever organics are falling in their path and that their castings are good soil. Slight shuddering went through the kids at this thought.
Students are learning that worms -as all living beings- also need to eat, breathe, reproduce and die. Audible gasps came as response to the fact that worms have no nose and are breathing through their skin. All students rubbed their skin, clearly not quite processing how that could possibly work. While talking about how they move and how fabulous their muscles are, students got a chance to flex their biceps, as activity about muscle function and they mimicked the stretching and pulling motion of the worm. Can you imagine 23 wiggling children on a carpet?
When it came time to get down and dirty, the worms did not disappoint and samples on moist paper towels were oozing with worms of all sizes. Even cocoons were plentiful and easy to spot, to the utter delight of all children.
However, what took the prize and made this class indelible in student and teachers mind was that we got to follow the path of a “casting” from within the worm to outside. Worms are somewhat translucent and one can make out the dark spots in the tail section where the castings (technical term for worm poop) are making their way through the length of the worm. In laymen’s terms….we got to see a worm poop, and that was the highlight of the day, all kids clustered around that one poor shy worm to carefully inspect that freshly produced “casting”.
It was great fun and very heartwarming as students came to hug and thank us for teaching them.