E is for Earl the Earthworm

12/20/2009

Earl the Earthworm

~Mali is 4 years 10 months~

For our alphabet fun with the letter E, Mali and I read Earl The Earthworm Digs for His Life.



From Green Sugar Press,
"In this 32-page book geared toward children aged five to nine, Earl takes us deep into his world. From buzzing bees, working ants, tall prairie grass and an amazing tree, Earl explores his surroundings in a quest to answer the question: What is it I do? After near total exhaustion, rain starts to fall and Earl begins to dig. Why does he dig? Nobody knows for sure, but if you ask Earl, he’ll tell you his gut told him to."
We learned some neat facts about earthworms and then we made an earthworm composting bin.

Earthworm Composting

First, we layered organic material, such as dry leaves . . .


coffee grounds and egg shells in a 5 gallon bucket.


And then added more black and white newspaper cut into thin strips.



We learned that earthworms breathe through their skin and need moisture to breathe. So, we sprayed the newspaper with water to moisten it.



Introducing Earl to his new home





An earthworm's body is made up of many tiny segments. Each segment has tiny bristles that help it move. I was happy that Mali remembered this from last summer.

Mali didn't mind handling the worms.

An earthworm has both male and female parts, but it takes two worms to do the worm dance. We read that it can take 2-3 weeks for baby earthworms to hatch.

In their new home.

Earthworm Food

potato peelings
carrots
lettuce
cabbage
celery
apple peelings
banana peels
cornmeal
oatmeal
eggshells
coffee grounds
tea bags
newspaper

Egg shells and sweet potato peelings.

E is for Earthworm

Earthworm Experiment:

Do worms prefer light or dark? Mali thought that they would like dark better because they live in the dark soil. To find out, we put a piece of black paper over half of the compost bin. After a few days, Mali checked and found most of the earthworms under the dark paper.
I had Mali draw a picture of his obervations and then narrate his conclusion to me. He said:
"The worms digged through the dirt and went under the black paper. Worms like dark."
You can see his drawing of the earthworm peeking out from under the black paper in the the picture below.
Mali's scrapbook pages.

Earthworm Enemies:

Hedgehogs
Moles
Birds-Robins, Blackbirds and Thrushes
Shrew
Little boys when they go fishing

Digging for potatoes led to finding our stash of earthworms this fall. Whenever we went fishing, we put the extra worms in the garden boxes.

Earthworm Tunneling

The earthworm tunnels under our potato bed.

An earthworm worm pushes through the soil creating tunnels that aerate and loosen the soil. This helps rainwater to run underground and water the roots of plants and trees.

Earthworm Movement


A worm’s uses it's bristles to help him move. The worm digs them into the soil-- using them like little anchors. He anchors himself as he scrunches up his body and then pointing in the direction he wants to go, he stretches out his body and uses his strong muscles to push through the soil.

We also learned some earthworm vocabulary, such as: burrow, cocoon, castings, bristle, saddle, and setae.

Earthworm castings make rich organic composting material that is ideal for gardening and we always have plenty of earthworm food around here. We are looking forward to seeing if our worms reproduce and how long it takes to make compost.

UPDATE! Read about our earthworm babies:

My hope was that our earthworms would reproduce to make more worms - enough to process our organic waste. And we have babies!


Here is another picture so you can see how small they are compared to the adult worms.


I took these several weeks ago, so I am anxious to see if they have grown. Because they are so small, I don't want to disturb them until they get a little bigger (plus, I read that they don't like to be disturbed). On a warm day, we will take them outside to get a better look and see how many we have now. (We began with 24).

Aren't they so small and cute? (Well, earthworm cute, anyways.) *Ü*

Up Next: U is for Underground

Delightful Earthworm Links:

3 comments:

Luke said...

I loved this post. Earthworms and boys just go together and it was great to see my son handling the worms. Also, I loved how my wife commented that one of the threats to worms were "little boys when they go fishing"! I found this hilarious, but yet awesome that we can use such a cool creation and go fishing with it to get food! Awesome, awesome.

I love you, my wife.

-Luke

Nf1andprek-whisper said...

hi, My son is so intersted in worms that my husband wants to compost with worms but we have no idea how to start? is there a kit?? can you help us?

Veronica said...

Thank you very much for the lapbook, with three kids (one a baby), I don't have time to make things like this. Bless you and your family, you are wonderful for sharing your talents. Thanks again!

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