Investigating Vermicomposting

Earth ecoSTEM Kit Materials Used: Worm Factory & Worms Eat Our Garbage Classroom Guide

ENGAGE - Students Observe This Phenomenon

GATHER

GATHER Energy Investigations

REASON

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EXPLORE a Kit-Supported Learning Experience

Students can use the Worm Factory 360 Composter and the Complete Guide to Vermicomposting to set up a classroom vermicomposting project that will decompose lunch and snack foods (other than meats and fats) to make a nutrient-rich compost for the garden or schoolyard.

 

EVALUATE

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).

ELABORATE

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).

EXTEND

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.

COMMUNICATE

Revised EXPLANATION

After making sense of a core idea by engaging in science or engineering practices through the lens of crosscutting concepts, students revise their original explanations of a phenomenon.

EMPOWERMENT

Students may propose solutions to the poor soils and set up a year-round vermicomposting project at school.