Welcome to our factory – worm factory, that is
Students from Harbour Grace Primary have been busy creating and caring for a worm factory at the greenhouse attached to St. Francis School.
Over the past eight weeks they have been experimenting with vermi-composting, using worms known as red wigglers.
The first step for the students was to make a worm bed. They crumbled dry leaves and small pieces of paper, added organic soil and enough water to make the bedding just right for the industrious worms to start working.
The second step was feeding the worms. What do worms like? Apples, pears, banana peels, bread, coffee grounds, veggies of all types, egg shells, tomatoes, oatmeal, cardboard, paper — anything organic. Ever wonder what worms do not like? Salt, potato chips, milk, dairy, meats, pressure treated wood, vinegar, plastic or chemicals.
Students have discovered worms have no bones, eyes, arms or legs. In the wild, worms can consume up to their own weight in organic food every day. Here are some more facts: • worms breathe through their skin; • direct sunlight can kill them in less than three minutes; • salt is harmful, even fatal to a worm; • worms can’t hear, but they respond to vibration, light and temperature;
• worms have five hearts (more to love)
• worms have a mouth, but no teeth.
Students count and measure the worms from week to week to record the increase of the worm population and check the temperature in the worm factory.
They measure to record the percentage of worms that have grown certain lengths; and they experiment to see if worms are sensitive to light, colour, sound, temperature or vibrations.
Students are also experimenting with plants in the greenhouse to record plant growth with organic compost, produced by the hard working worm, and plants without compost.
Teachers love it because it connects with all curriculums, science, environment, language, math, nutrition. Children benefit from hands-on learning as it accommodates many different learning styles. They are more engaged in learning and retain knowledge longer as a result of their hands-on experience. It is a fun way to apply what they learn in the classroom.
This Environment program is provided by the Lower Trinity South Regional Development Association, New Perlican, with funding from Environment Canada (Eco-Action) in partnership with Education and Skills Development and Eastern School District. Submitted by Jill Hiscock,