Compare characteristics of animals that make them alike and different from other animals and nonliving things.
Compare different types of the same animal (i.e. different types of dogs, different types of cats, etc.) to determine individual differences within a particular type of animal.
What do you know?
- List or draw pictures of five things you know about worms.
- List or draw pictures of five things you want to learn about worms.
What Ms. Yvette knows...
Worms are slimy
Worms live in the ground
Worms come out in the rain
Worms help our compost
What Ms. Yvette wants to learn....
What do they eat
Do they have eyes
How are they different
How do they get in the ground
Red Worm, Red Worm, What Do You See?
- The body of the worm is divided into segments or rings called annuli.
- Worms do not have eyes. Each segment of a red worm has a pair of spots which detect light.
- Baby worms are not born. They hatch from cocoons smaller than a grain of rice.
- The largest red worm ever found was in South Africa and measured 22 feet from its nose to the tip of its tail.
- In one acre of land, there can be more than a million red worms.
- A red worm is moist to the touch because of a slimy coating which keeps it from drying out.
- If a worm’s tail is cut off, it will grow back. This is called regeneration. It will not become two separate worms.
- The worm moves by contracting its circular and long muscles that run throughout its body. The forward part of the worm’s body has five pairs of hearts. Blood is pumped by muscular action.
- A red worm also has bristles on the underside of its body to assist the worm to move through the soil.
- Red worms eat leaves, grass, decayed plants and anything that is organic (at one time was alive).
- There are more than 3,000 species of red worms found throughout the world.
- Red worms are active at night; this is when they eat.
- The red worm makes tunnels in the dirt as it moves. This loosens the soil, allowing water and air to circulate and helping plants to grow.
- Worms are extremely beneficial and a cornerstone for keeping the soil rich in nutrients.
- A red worm does not have lungs. The worm gets oxygen through its skin and must remain moist to live.
- The red worm does have keen senses of touch, smell, and taste.
Night Crawler, do you only Crawl at Night?
Though night crawlers can burrow down to a depth of 6.5 feet, they generally stay close to the surface. This increases the chance of running across one when gardening, playing in the dirt or landscaping. These worms receive their name because you can usually find them feeding above ground at night, but they're really just your common earthworm.
When you examine a night crawler up close, note their red-gray color and ring-shaped segments called annuli. Tiny bristles called setae cover each annuli. Night crawlers use their setae to slither and move as well as burrow into the ground. If you dissect one of these worms, you will discover that it does not possess a backbone, making it an invertebrate. Night crawlers can grow to be a whopping 14 inches long and can weigh up to 0.39 oz. In the wild, the average night crawler can live to be six years old.
The first segment of a night crawler’s body contains the mouth. As they burrow, they feed on soil. The dirt contains decomposing leaves and roots, and the worm's body extracts these nutrients from the soil. The fact that they eat plants for energy makes them herbivores. They can eat up to a third of their body weight in a single day. These worms also function as food for many creatures such as birds, rats and toads. Commercial and recreational fishermen often dig for night crawlers in order to use them for bait to catch fish.
While some areas consider night crawlers to be an agricultural pest, they provide a valuable service to gardeners, farmers and the earth. Their tunnels introduce air to the ground and allow the soil to breathe. Aerating gets oxygen to roots to aid growth helps fertilizer and water reach roots and loosens up compacted soil which helps roots grow. Plus, their waste transports important nutrients and minerals from the underground to the surface.
You can divide night crawlers into two types: European and Canadian. European night crawlers usually measure around 3 inches in length. People use these worms for fishing and composting. People pour their household food garbage into a compost bin where worms eat it and produce compost through their waste. They then use the compost to fertilizer their lawns and gardens. Others feed these worms to their pet lizards and turtles.
Canadian night crawlers grow larger than European night crawlers, up to 14 inches. This makes them great for fishing because they can easily be secured on a fishhook. The worms also remain alive for approximately five minutes while under water. This means their movements can attract fish. They make good bait for freshwater fish such as large-mouth bass, trout and catfish. However, Canadian night crawlers don't like warm temperatures and will die in temperatures above 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
1, 2, 3! What do YOU see?
Rules for the Worms
- Do NOT pull the worms apart.
- Be NICE to the worms.
- Keep them on the plate.
- NO SCREAMING when the worms are out.
- DO NOT throw the worms.
What Did I Learn?
- Look at the KWL Charts and Science Notebooks to see what each student learned.
- Asking the students open ended questions and seeing what they remember about the worms.