Though worms may not be everyone's favorite animal, they are readily available for kindergartners to find. You can instill an early interest in biology and curiosity about how organisms live with worm lessons. Write a whole unit about worms and incorporate multidisciplinary lessons revolving around the theme. After working with worms for a couple of weeks and learning about them, the students might have a new appreciation for their little neighbors and so might you.
Find, Observe, Draw
One of the best things about worms as a topic is that children can actually go outdoors and find some. Go on a worm hunt, being sure all the children understand that they are to collect worms carefully and not squish anything. If you don't find many worms, talk about why that might be. Take the worms to the classroom and allow students to examine the worms closely, even with magnifying glasses if you have access. Discuss how worms move, stretch and contract. Have students draw a picture about their experience.
Mealworms are are easy to care for and will go through their life cycle fairly quickly. You can acquire some from a pet store and keep them in a container in the classroom so the children can watch how the worms change as they grow. The worms will eventually turn into beetles, and you can talk about other life cycles, such as those of butterflies and frogs, animals that you won't have easy access to, in relation to the worms' cycle. Students can keep a log of what the worms look like each day; have a different student draw a picture of the worms in the log each day.
For schools that have a designated space, building a worm bin is one way to learn not only about worms, but about how all of the organisms on earth are connected. Talk about why worms are important, how they digest food and how having a worm bin can help the environment. Even if you don't have the space for a classroom or school worm bin, you can show pictures, visit a worm bin near the school and encourage students to build worm bins at home.
The Internet has a wealth of information about worms that is age appropriate for kindergarten students. Try looking at Proteacher for lesson plans and fact sheets about worms for many different levels of student, including a comprehensive unit called The Adventures of Herman. Read, Write, Think also has activities using a story called The Diary of a Worm, or check out 42Explore for a list of worm lessons online.
- worm image by Ksenija Djurica from Fotolia.com