Worm composting, or vermiculture, provides students an opportunity to enrich their school garden, both literally and figuratively, and is an easy way to teach students that waste is in the eye of the beholder. While learning and applying skills that satisfy Hawaii State Academic Standards, students can study worms and how worm composting turns garbage into worm food and then into soil nutrition for new plantings.
Use of school cafeteria and garden vegetable waste for the worm bin also provides opportunities for a variety of interesting experiments, and maintaining a worm bin in the classroom can culminate in a school garden or class project using the finished super nutrient rich product as worm “castings” or worm “tea”.
By organizing students or classes into worm care teams, (or worm farmers!) they take on the responsibility of providing an optimal habitat for the worms. Such responsibility is an important component of student development and an added bonus to this hands on garden learning experience. Contact Kirk Surry – School garden Coordinator for South Maui School Gardens Project to schedule a learn about worms class.
Thanks to Kihei School Garden volunteer Buck Joiner for donating our first red wigglers and their new worm bin home located in the KES garden.
Learn basic anatomy of a worm in real life by bringing your class to the garden for a fun and educational opportunity to bring your classroom lessons to life in the garden.
For more in-depth exploration of worm composting download a copy of “The Worm Guide – A Vermicompsting Guide for Teachers”.
Fun Worm Facts
- There are over 2000 species of earthworms worldwide.
- There is a species of earth worm that grows to over 8 feet long.
- Worms do not have eyes but have light sensitive cells. They are also sensitive to touch and vibration.
- Worm bodies consist of a digestive system, a circulatory system (with about 5 hearts) a head and a tail as well as reproductive parts.
- Worms are hemaphrodites, having both male and female reproductive organs.
- Some species of worms can survive for days in water.
- Worms have setae, which are tiny bristles, which allow them to attach themselves in a certain spot in the ground, making it harder for birds to snatch them up!
- Most wormsare burrowers, foraging deep into the ground for food. Others are top dwellers and are well suited for bin type composting.
- The burrowing action or worms helps to aerate the soil (adds oxygen) and their castings (poop) provide the soil with nutrients along their journey.
- Worms are primarily vegetarians, they prefer dead organic matter as food, like mulch, leaves and vegetable scraps, but will also dine on cardboard, newspaper or even drier lint.