Wel­come to our fac­tory – worm fac­tory, that is

The Compass - - ORTHTE -

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.

Mak­ing ob­ser­va­tions

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,

pro­gram co-or­di­na­tor

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