To begin this lesson, I call the kids one table at a time to sit on the floor like scientists. This means that they are sitting with their hands in their lap, quiet and ready to listen and learn.
We begin by reviewing what we’ve already learned about worms. I then bring out the experiment procedure poster that we made in the last lesson, Planning wormy races. We go over each step listed on the poster.
We do this for two reasons:
The kids remain seated on the floor as I demonstrate how to make the race boards.
I then call one table leader at a time to come up and get a tub of supplies:
I tell the kids that they are expected to work together to make the race board. Everyone at the table is expected to participate. I roam around the room and assist as needed.
I have them take charge of the experiment and figure out how to work together on their own because they will need to develop this skill as they get older. This lesson is done after January in my room so most of the groups do a great job figuring it out and working together. When I encounter a table that struggles too much with delegating jobs and figuring out how to get everyone to participate, I then assign specific jobs. This year I didn’t have to do that for any of the table groups. They took on the task with enthusiasm and they all worked out who will do what when making the board and racing the worms.
Once all the tables have a completed race board, I go over the rules for having worms at the table one more time:
I deliver the worms and the kids work to race their worms on their own. I roam to help out only when needed, usually runaway worm rescue.
When all the tables have finished racing their worms and recorded which worm won their race, I gather the worms back into their soil tubs and have the kids clean up. My helper of the day collects the supply tubs and returns them to the back of the room.
After clean up is complete, I call one table team at a time to come back to the floor. I ask the kids to remember which one of their worms won the race.
I ask the kids to turn to their floor partner and share their experience with worm races. I do this even though they all had a similar experience, they all internalized it differently so they can learn from each other. As I listened to the conversations,I heard one student tell another student that she saw that the Canadian Nightcrawler was able to stretch longer each time it moved than the red worm so he won. Another student told his partner that their worm must have been hungry because he “ran” to the salad at the end of the track.
After the kids have shared with their partners I call on each of the table leaders to share with the whole class about their racing experience. I record their thoughts on chart paper as they share. The other table members are encouraged to jump in to add any details they may feel are important that the table leader doesn't mention.
To elaborate on this lesson, I tie it to reading. I prepare a take home reader about worm races for the kids to read to their parents at home. It is appropriate for independent reading in January of kindergarten.
I have them practice reading the word, "worm" throughout this lesson so they are ready to take it on at home using the reader.
The reader is prepared the week before this lesson, copied and stapled. The kids spend a couple of minutes taking turns reading it to their floor partners before taking it home to their families. It is not intended to be a cold read.
Once they have practiced reading it, I collect them and place them in the homework folder to send home.