Archive for October, 2016

Hello Gardeners,

Our most recent lessons were about WORMS. We talked about earthworms, the kind that live in garden soil and eat dead leaves; and we talked about red wigglers, the kind that live in compost and manure piles. Red wiggler, or Eisenia fetida, loves to eat waste high in nitrogen and is perfect for our school worm bin, which the students feed with lunchroom scraps. Worm waste is called castings, and it is some of the best and most valuable natural fertilizer around, rich in microbial life and of a beautiful texture. Gardeners sometimes call it “Black Gold”.

We learned:
The life cycle of the worm
Anatomy of a worm
The worm’s friends: decomposers in the worm bin


Garden Educator Rowan teaching the Worm lesson.

The students also learned a new song: I am a Worm (Gusano). Gusano means “worm” en espanol! It’s a great song for clapping and singing along. The song goes like this:


I am a worm
The wondrous worm
It’s down under
I love to squirm
To eat the dead
And the living’s my toil
And what comes out makes magnificent soil

Gusano nonono nono nonono nono nononono, si!
Gusano nonono nono nonono nono nononono, si!
I aerate the earth as I tunnel and squirm
I’m proud to be called a worm

Our tunnels flood
It rains all night
Come up for air
We don’t like light
We do such good
From us you could learn
But you make us fish bait in return


After the song, the students divided into work groups; each group received a tray of worm compost to explore and a worksheet to complete. They counted all the red wigglers they could find, identified the parts of the worms, looked for breeding age worms, and identified other decomposers such as sowbugs, potworms, and mites.

We found a few baby red wigglers, identified by their pink color, and a few students found tiny golden worm eggs. One group of students was lucky enough to watch a worm egg hatch and several baby worms emerge. I have never seen this happen, so it was quite a treat!

The students last task was to choose a champion worm for worm races. We made a “racetrack” from a laminated song sheet and dropped the champions inside the inner ring. (The lamination keeps them from sticking to bare paper). A few classes had enough time left in class to race their worms. Amongst the chosen champion names were such favorites as Squiggles, and my personal favorite, Moldemort.

It was a fascinating experience to see nature up close. This sort of experiential learning tends to really stick! It’s also a great reminder about how many tiny organisms make the world work in ways we have only started to barely understand. Students participate in gathering, describing, and using information about the natural world, giving them a deep understanding of life sciences.

Big thanks to awesome Garden Interns Duncan, Reid, and Jessica for all of their help at the school garden! See you next time.

Happy Autumn,

Rowan Maya Lang
Garden Educator
Cascadia Elementary School Garden

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