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 for the 3rd year in a row to Webster’s first graders to teach them about how every living being on earth has an important job to do. With big eyes 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.
Under the leadership of Assistant Principal Michael Hildebrand, New Rochelle Trinity students are able to participate in school wide Earth Day activities and are loving it.
A team of We Future Cycle presenters descended upon the school and had great fun introducing kindergarten students and first graders to worms and worm composting.
Students were somewhat hesitant when they saw the worms, some leaned far back into their chairs, some even voiced how nervous they were. But learning about how worms master this world, and how important their jobs are, won them over and when the time came to get down and dirty with a handful of worms on a wet paper towel, they were all game. Armed with the new minted knowledge of how worms moved, they watched with the magnifying glass (it was not really needed, but they all LOVED having one in their hand) At the end of the lesson, each worm had a name, and all expressed their love, one student asked if she could kiss him…. 🙂
The key to environmental literacy is sustained education around different aspects. Trinity elementary students are old hands at sorting in the lunchroom, being the longest school on board of the We Future Cycle recycling program. Flawlessly they separate commingled from food waste and from remaining trash. And with the never wavering support of the Trinity administrations, students are treated regularly to environmental education and they are loving it!. Today’s classes were suppose to be 45 min, but often, I did not get out of there until 1:15 min because students had so many great questions. This is how future environmental leaders are made.
Recently White Plains Ridgeway 2nd grade students learned all about how important worms are for this world. They listened to a presentation about them, and got down and dirty to check them out up close and personal.
And now they are taking care of them and are writing about them. Check out what Maria and Saul have to say about them.
Worms Are Awesome!
By Saul Leon Huerta and Maria Clara Bornia
Worms Are Awesome! Worms are important for our environment because they eat food waste and then poop out rich soil. The worm poop is called castings. Their poop has a lot of nutrients for the soil and is good for all the plants. This is called compost. They eat our food waste, which doesn’t only help them but helps Worms eat half their body weight every day! Worms have to stay under the soil and the leaves so they don’t dry up and die. They have to be moist. Our class is learning about worms and worm composting. We are trying to recycle and reuse stuff so it cannot go into the landfill. We set up a worm composting bin in our class. It is called vermiculture. Our worms eat our natural snack waste. We gave them banana peel, watermelon, and strawberry. We made a hypothesis to predict what food they would eat first. Most of us guessed watermelon. We observed for a week and discovered they ate more watermelon. Our hypothesis was correct! Next we will give them an apple core. We think they will love it!
Meet the new “friends” of Ridgeway’s Ms. Vendola’s second grade. Eager students learned all about the wonders of worm composting, or technically called Vermiculture.
We Future Cycle Executive Director Anna Giordano brought her composting friends to share with the students. Primed and prepared by Ms. Vendola, Students learned in a presentation about how worms eat, breathe, live and of course….poop. The worm casting is what makes vermiculture so desirable, talking about fertilizer on steroids!
After learning about it, students got to check things out for themselves. On wet paper towels, in a darkened room, each student, armed and dangerous with a magnifying glass looked for baby worms and cocoons. They learned how worms can move and checked out the bristles on the underside (yes, worms have an underside) of the worm that helps them to move.
And then we built their very own worm bin and some of Anna Giordano’s “friends” have a new home now at White Plains Ridgeway Elementary School. Students will do scientific observations as to what foods are preferred by the worms, how long it takes for an apple core to be consumed and how fast the worms multiply in a friendly environment. A fascinating, hands-on experience for the students.