Kaplan's Think like a scientist as you observe a real live earthworm (nightcrawler)! Kindergarten, first, and second graders will love this hands on science activity. The lesson can be scaffolded by having Kindergarteners first observe the earthworm with a scientific tool (magnifying lens) and then complete the observation sheet with or without teacher help. The older children do the same, except think more critically by comparing the earthworm to a human- did you know earthowrms have 5 hearts?! We have eyes, they do not, we have 2 legs, they do not, we move by walking, they crawl and so on. The kids are amazed. More facts about earthworms are easily found online. Start the lesson by displaying the "Mystery Box." Have students guess what's inside. After a few quessess "wake up' your earthworm family (one dozen costs about $1.00 at bait shops and some grocery stores- free from your yard). Show them the earmworm and talk about some of its characteristics. Tell them they will have a chance to observe the earthworm up close at their tables. Place paper plates or towels in the center of the table and scoop out 2-3 earthworms along with some of the dirt. Let your little scientists observe their characteristics (see handout) and record their observations. Don't keep the earthworms out of moist soil for very long- maybe 5 minutes or so and then gather them up so they can go back to their cool dark habit. Goodnight little nightcrawler! You will enjoy this lesson and the kids will come back to you for years asking and looking for the earthworms.
~Denise Orcutt, Gifted Resource Teacher