I have the kids gather on the floor by calling one table at a time to sit like scientists. This means crisscross apple sauce, hands in their laps, mouths closed, eyes and ears open, brain ready to learn.
I read the book, Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard.
I stop periodically for discussion. We stop to talk about the following:
Once the story is over we prepare for the exploration. We go over these rules for observing the worms:
I explain to them that today they are going to watch the worms to see what they like. We are going to put them in a tub that has four different types of soil mixture. We will see where they want to dig.
I have the kids remain on the floor while I place a tub on each table. Each tub is divided into two sections which are color coded with a color dot.
Each section has a different mix of soil:
Once each table has a tub, I call one group at time to come sit at the tables. Once they are all seated, I deliver a guest star night crawler to make an appearance with each group.
I tell the kids we are going to observe our guests to see which end is the head and which is the tail. The kids need to be able to identify when the worm begins dig and eat.
They then place the worms in the soil tubs and observe them until they decide to start digging. We are trying to find out if Canadian night crawlers have a preference for a certain type of soil.
The kids are given a paper that has a rectangle divided in half. Each half has a color word circle in it. They quickly color in the circles with the correct color and the draw pictures in each quadrant to represent what's in the soil. For instance, the one made with banana peels added, they draw and color a banana in the quadrant. This way they can remember what's in the worm's chosen soil once it picks where to dig.
To begin this section of the lesson, I collect the worms after the observations and ask one group at a time to sit on the floor like scientists.
I then use a piece of chart paper to record each group's findings. Before we begin, I ask the kids to think about what they've learned about worms so far, from the very beginning, the first day we observed the red worms.
I give them about 30 seconds to think about it and the I have them talk to their floor partner.
After that, I ask the kids to think about where their worm went. I say, "Which color dot soil did the worm like? We are going to record where each table's worm went and see if most of the worms liked the same one or if they all liked something different.
I call on each table leader to share with the class where their worm decided to dig or hang out. I record the table name on the chart in the corresponding quadrant.
I have the kids look at the recorded data and ask if they can make any inferences, or come up with any ideas, about the night crawlers based on what they see on the chart.
I call on random volunteers to answer. I encourage and assist when necessary when kids need help vocalizing their thoughts about the data presented. I provide them with sentence stems like, "I noticed that most of the worms..."
After the kids have exhausted their ideas we remain on the floor and I prompt the kids to formulate a summative statement based on the evidence. I record and they revise until they like it and it's accurate.
Once that is complete, I explain to the kids how a worms "senses work" and if they have preferences in food or waste.
I then call up one table leader at a time to pick up a blank piece of copy paper for each person at their table. The kids are asked to draw a picture of the experiment and copy the summative statement on the page as a reflection of their learning.
The kids glue their recording sheets in their science journals on the next available page. I roam the room to monitor progress and ask kids questions to assess their understanding of not only this lesson, but knowledge of worms in general because the goal is to unify all information learned so far into a full understanding of worms, where they live and how they survive.
I have them copy the summative statement based on evidence under the recording sheet. I also have them record from the chart where all the worms went.
We gather back on the floor and we discuss why it is important to document your observations and how that might help us in the future or when we are talking to our parents about what we learned.