Earth ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Worm Factory & Worms Eat Our Garbage Classroom Guide
ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon
EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience
Students should be able to describe several positive effects of adding vermicompost to garden soil (i.e. improves soil aeration; returns nutrients through the process of eating, digesting and excreting organic matter; improves water-holding capacity; decreases need for chemical fertilizers which can pollute nearby water bodies when washed away in run-off water).
Students will design and conduct investigations to compare garden or schoolyard soil to vermicompost and to soil in which vermicompost has been mixed, to determine differences in texture, composition, pH and nutrient content (using soil test kits), water-holding capacity and fertility (by comparing plant growth).
The included book: Worms Eat Our Garbage, includes many activities about worms and composting. Students may build shoebox worm composters that take into account worm anatomy and behavior. Students may create diagrams to show the cycle of a macronutrient (P, N, or K) through plants, soils, and atmosphere.
Students may propose solutions to the poor soils and set up a year-round vermicomposting project at school.