Reflection: Trust and Respect More Than Manure - Section 1: Engage


Many students (particularly my boys, surprisingly enough) have a hard time handling earthworms. Luckily, this is a very small part of the lesson and doesn't happen every day. I allow students to opt out of handling the worms if they desire, but I also encourage the use of gloves if that will make a student feel more comfortable and allow them to participate in the activity.

I also set down very clear expectations about the handling of worms. Not only do we respect each other by not shoving them in one another's faces, or down one another's clothing (hey, you never know), but we also treat the worms with respect by not handling them in a way that could be harmful. Many kids want to look closely and study them, which is great! But some tend to take it a little too far, wanting to test the worm cutting myth, try to burn them with magnifying glasses, etc. It is VERY important to set your expectations clearly and have an alternate assignment prepared in case someone decides to mishandle these delicate creatures. I usually have a much less exciting activity, such as a lengthy textbook chapter copied on paper, just waiting to be read, highlighted, annotated, paraphrased, and shared orally with the class.

You may notice that some, or even many, earthworms will die during the three week investigation. This is natural and pretty common. Be prepared for this possibility, and add additional earthworms as necessary.

  Yes, I said worms!
  Trust and Respect: Yes, I said worms!
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More Than Manure

Unit 2: Zoology
Lesson 9 of 17

Objective: SWBAT evaluate the contributions of plant and animal matter to soil.

Big Idea: Even the smallest animals can contribute to the well-being of an ecosystem!

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