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Vermi Hermi Habitat

Vermi Hermi Habitat Unit

Created by: Ali L.

Copyright God's Way Homeschool and Homeschool On A Budget 2006

How this unit came to be: My youngest son adopted his father's fishing worms as pets. He simply could not stand the thought of these things dying, and he named them all "Hermi Wormies". He was 5 at the time. Well, I didn't know much about worms really other than the fact that they make good fish bait, so we had to do a lot of research to figure out how to care for these crawling things. Thus, this unit came to be and the "Hermie Wormies" lived happily for several months until someone left the lid off the worm bin and the birds and ants decided to help themselves to free food!

Unit Objective: To combine the principles of Math and Science into a fun, hands on project that will provide opportunity for continued learning long after the unit is finished.

Unit Ouline: In this unit, we are going to build a compost bin and/or a worm bed. Most of the materials needed for this can be found around your home or property. You *might* need to purchase inexpensive wood for building the bin. Although a large plastic garbage can with slits cut in the bottom or a Rubbermaid tote with a lid will also work.

Unit Materials: The bin/bed (this can be as large or small as you desire). Dirt (not potting soil, use yard dirt), organic kitchen waste (tea/coffee grounds, vegetable/fruit peelings, egg shells, stale bread, nut shells, etc.) DO NOT add any meat, bones, oil, grease, citrus fruit,onion, garlic or milk/cheese etc. to this as it does not break down easily, will smell bad, or worms won't eat it. Cut up paper/card board scraps (not glossy), yard clippings, leaves, etc. Try to avoid getting seeds into the mixture as when this stuff breaks down it will be VERY fertile and you just might grow some unwanted plants (like weeds). And, last but not least...worms! **Note: Worms break this stuff down much faster than if you allow it to break down on it's own. Plus, their waste makes this material richer for growing house plants later or fertilizing your garden with.**

Useful Internet Sites:

Worm World http://yucky.kids.discovery.com/flash/worm/index.html

Make Your Own Worm Farm http://www.ccc.govt.nz/Waste/Composting/MakeYourOwnWormFarm.pdf  

Worm Farming Comic Book http://www.carbon.org/WormFarming1/Comic_WormFarm.htm  

Vermi The Worm http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Vermi/  

EEK! Our Earth http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/caer/ce/eek/earth/recycle/compost2.htm#worms

Worms, Worms and Even More Worms http://www.ciwmb.ca.gov/Publications/Schools/32298008.pdf#search='vermicomposting'

Teacher lessons http://www.nasaexplores.com/show_912_teacher_st.php?id=030307125651

Captain Earthworm http://www.epa.state.il.us/kids/fun-stuff/wormbin.html  

Useful Books for this project:

Worms Eat My Garbage" by Mary Applehof

Worms Eat Our Garbage by Mary Appelhof, Mary Frances Fenton, & Barbara Loss Harris (work book)

Wacky World of Worms by: Debbie Anderson

Pee Wee's Great Adventure: A Guide to Vermicomposting by: Larraine Roulston

Pee Wee and the Magical Compost Heap by Larraine Roulston

Pee Wee's Family in a Nut Shell by Larraine Roulston

Diary of a Worm  by: Doreen Cronin

Starting the Unit:

For this unit, you are going to need to make a notebook or journal. This can be a notebook, computer paper with holes punched in it, plain writing paper, etc. Use your journal to keep track of your math and science work and discoveries. Feel free to include photos, drawings, etc. in your journal.

What does the word vermi mean?

What language is the word vermi from?

Math and Science for the unit:

Worms eat their body weight in food per day! So, know how much your worms weigh. On average, one pound of worms will equal about a thousand worms. Worms will also multiply every month. So, if you start with one thousand, provide them with enough food and the right living quarters, you will have 2000 in about 30 days!

For this part of the unit, keep a journal of how many worms you have, and how much they eat, or are fed each day. Do this for as long as you are working with this unit, whether that be a week or a year. Keep track of how many worms you started with, and how many you have at the end of the unit.

How big was your worm bin?

How much water did you have to add and how often? (use gallons to measure this)

How much bedding did you add (use pounds to measure this)

What kind of worms did you use? Be sure to write this in a science journal as diffrent types of worms act diffrently. And some are not good for vermicomposting. The best ones for this job are either red wigglers or jumpers aka Alabama or Georgia Jumpers.

Where did you purchase your worms from? A worm distributor or a bait store.

What kind of bedding did you use?

What did you feed your worms each week?

What happened to the food and bedding after about 6-8 weeks?

What did you build your worm bin out of?

Did you see other things living in your bin besides the worms? What did you see? Were these things good for the worms or bad for them?

When you cleaned out the compost, did you find any worm cocoons? If so, what did they look like?

How often did you have to refill the bedding?

Is vermicomposting good for the environment? How?

Did the vermicompost help your house or yard plants to grow better? Why do you think this is?

Draw a picture of what the inside of a worm looks like (please do not disect a worm for this, you can find such pictures online to use without killing a worm).

Concluding the unit:

Be sure to write what books you read and when, as well as what internet sites you visited while doing this unit into your journal.

Now, pretend you are an environmental reporter. Write an article for a newspaper or magazine about why you think more people should vermicompost. Describe how it helps the environment and what benefits the people could get from it. Be sure to include resources for how people can get started vermicomposting.

For the last assignment, write down what you have learned from this unit in your own words.

Copyright Ali Lock, God's Way Homeschool and Homeschool On A Budget