Comparing Canada and Reds

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SWBAT compare red worms with Canadian Nightcrawlers by observing them side by side.

Big Idea

Young children don't realize that there are a variety of worms in the world. This lesson gives them a sneak peak.


5 minutes

To engage the kids in this lesson, I ask them to think about our last two experiences with worms. I have them think quietly in their heads and then tell their floor partner what they remember learning by observing worms.

I tell them that today we are going to compare the two kinds of worms we looked at. They need to follow the same expectations as the last two lessons:

  • Keep hands in laps until we are ready to begin.
  • Never touch the worms with dry hands. It can hurt them.
  • Table leaders spray the worms with water only when you're asked.
  • Be gentle! If the worm starts to get off the table, call for the teacher.

Once each table has a worm, I call one table at a time to sit with their hands in their laps. I have the helper of the day hand out magnifying glasses. I then ask the kids to begin observing the magnifying glasses.


10 minutes

Once we've reviewed the expectations, I call one table at a time to go sit at the tables. I go to each table and place one of each type of the worm on a laminated piece of paper.

The kids are then asked to observe the worms and talk to each other about the likes and differences they see in the worms. I help the conversation by first asking them to look at the worms and find how they are the same and share with their table team what they notice.

I then ask them to quietly think about how the worms are different. After about 30 seconds, I ask them to share with their table what they notice is different about the two types of worms.


5 minutes

Once we are finished observing the two types of worms together, I walk around the room and collect my wiggly friends and put them back in their habitats.

I have the kids come to the floor by calling one table at a time to sit like scientists.

Once we are all seated and ready to work, I have the kids tell me everything they learned from that experience. They already learned so much by watching the worms individually, but seeing them side by side is eye-opening. They get a lot from seeing them next to each other.

I first have them talk to their floor partners about what they saw, what their tables talked about, and what they think about the worms.

I then choose random kids to share what they discussed with their floor partners by pulling name sticks from a name stick can. This allows me to avoid bias in calling on students and keeps all the kids engaged because they don't know who's going to be called.

As the kids share out what they discussed at their tables and with their floor partner, I record the information on chart paper to hang up in the classroom for future use.

I do this because it keeps the responsibility for learning on the kids. They are now accountable for the experience and the learning.


5 minutes

The explanation is a reminder that there are more than 4000 different kinds of worms in the world. I do an image search for worms and show the kids several different types. I use an ActivBoard to show them.

If you don't have an ActivBoard or Smartboard, use the pdf pictures in the resources section by printing them and holding them up.



10 minutes

The evaluation of this lesson is done with a diagram that has a picture of the two different worms and blank lines with headers. The kids need to write the answer for each worm on each line:

Type (red, Canadian)

Color (red, brown)

size (short, long) or (big/little)

movement (a lot, a little)


I roam the room and assist when needed. I also ask questions to make sure they are getting information from observing the worms.

I may a variety of questions:

  • How do you know which worm is the night crawler?
  • How do you know which worm is the red worm?
  • What is one difference between the two worms?
  • How are the worms alike?
  • If we had a worm race, which worm do you think would win and why?

When the kids are done with the comparison page, I have them glue their page into their journal. The table leaders are responsible for picking up the journals for their table group from the basket at the back of the room.

Once everyone is finished, we meet back on the floor and I randomly choose four kids to show and share their work with the rest of the class by pulling names from a name stick can.



5 minutes

We go over a take home reader that will be sent home in the homework folder. The kids are expected to read the book to their families to keep them informed about what we are learning in science.

I have the helper of the day pass the readers out to the kids. We read it three times:

  1. I read, they follow
  2. We read together
  3. They take turns reading it to their floor partner

I have the helper of the day collect them back and I place them in their homework folders to read to their parents at home.