Worm Bin Composting
In this lesson, students learn about worm bin composting called vermiculture. They will fill the worm bin with bedding, find out what to feed the worms and care for the worm bin in the classroom. Construction of the worm bin can be done beforehand for younger grades and as a project for upper elementary or middle school students.
Students will be able to:
Know the best kind of worms to use
Know what materials are good for bedding
Know which foods can or cannot be used
Learn to identify worm bin problems
Know how to use compost
Joy of connecting to nature
Holding squiggly wiggly worms!
Materials to make a worm bin:
2-20 gallon stacking storage bins with lid (like Rubbermaid)
drill with 1/8" drill bit
2 qt. size plastic milk jugs with lids for spacing the bins
Materials for bedding
Lots of cardboard
Large bucket of water or access to sink
Plastic strainer with medium holes when moving worms to a new bin
Worm friendly food (see "How to Feed the Worms")
Before making the bins, make sure to watch this online tutorial.
Once the bins are made, introduce the lesson :a
Ask students if they know the word vermiculture (have older kids dissect the word vermi-culture to understand its meaning. Include it in your spelling or science vocabulary.
Show them a sample of worm castings and discuss their use in the garden.
Show them all the parts of the worm bin composting system and explain how each part is used.
Rip up cardboard into pieces about 4" x 4" and fill the worm bin 2/3 full
Dunk half of the cut cardboard in a bucket of water or sink and allow water to drain so cardboard is moist but not soaking wet. Add this back to the remaining cut cardboard in the bin and mix the two until the cardboard is evenly moist (about the consistency of a damp sponge)
Show students what type of food the worms do and do not eat and review the Worm Care Writeup containing this information.
Add a small amount of food to the bin under the top layer of bedding. Let the bin sit for a few days until you are ready to add the worms. This allows excess water to drain and the food to begin to decay.
After 3-5 days (or even a week), add red wiggler worms from an existing bin or from a new shipment purchased online at Uncle Jim's Worm Farm.
Send home Worm Care Writeup in a quart sized zip lock bag with the student responsible for feeding the worms the next week.