STEM Day at Whitlow
Ok, so Friday was a fun day. Brenda Mahoney invited us to share our passion for worms, gardening, and nature with the fourth grade classes at Whitlow Elementary School in Cumming, part of Forsyth County Schools. Each grade level at Whitlow Elementary is participating in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) project (https://www.smore.com/xu5bb). The fourth grade classes’ project is “Composting Craze”—composting all organic waste from their lunches.
Traveling with 500 Worms
We packed up the car with a large plastic bin, two buckets of worms ready for processing, two buckets of fresh dirt with worm food and nutrients, screens, large plastic bags, a small bag of worm castings, and a laptop and headed north. When we walked into the school, they had a “Welcome, All Natural Worm Castings” sign in the office. We followed Ms. Mahoney to the music room, a perfect venue since it was designed with risers, allowing the students to sit in four tiers, each tier above the other.
Worm Poop Presentation
We began by using a slide show to acquaint the students with us, our home, and our animals. They were especially impressed with the pictures of Loba and the fawn we had rescued earlier this year. We then played a true/false game with statements about worms. See how you do:
Next, I explained that healthy soil needs bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and nematodes to attract worms. Then we looked at the anatomy of a worm. Finally, we got our hands dirty. We went around the room with both a bucket of fresh dirt ready for worms and a bucket with worms that had produced castings and were ready for sifting. Scott used volunteer students to sift the wormy bucket of dirt to separate worms, castings, and refuse dirt. I went around the room with a handful of worms for the students to touch, and then we put the worms in the fresh dirt bucket. Using more volunteers, we potted two plants for each classroom—one flower in plain soil and another flower in soil with some of the harvested castings. The students will chart the growth of the plants over the next few weeks.
Satisfaction from Sharing
The students were curious, excited, and so respectful. We had a great time; so great, in fact, we plan on contacting schools closer to home to see if they are interested in a similar presentation. If you are interested, please contact us.