Soil Science and Worm Composting

Created by:
Julie Newton 
Huntington Beach City School District

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UCI Summer Science Institute WebQuests - 2001

UCI Science WebQuests from all years


  • Students will explore and investigate worms and their role in composting by using internet resources. 
  • Students can take information from various sources to create their own composting bins using worms at home. 
Resources Needed
  • An internet connected computer, a printer, pencil, paper or notebook, magnifying glass, and your imagination. 
  • You may want to have your own compost bag (see materials and directions below) with worms to study.
  • Other materials will be needed if you want to create your own compost bin at home with your family.

  • Activities

    A good scientist always keeps an orgnized record of his or her findings and thoughts. Get a spiral notebook or other kind of note pad to record what you learn while doing these activities. Be sure to record the date and time at the top of each entry. You can make and decorate a cover for it too.

    Activity 1: The anatomy of a worm.

    Just like we have names for the different parts of our body so does a worm. 

    Activity 2: Worm vocabulary.

    In this activity you are going to make your own wordsearch. 

    Activity 3: How does a worm move?

    Activity 4: The compost pile and what a worm eats.

    Compost Pile - Yuck!Worms have a special job. They are called decomposers. They eat fruits, vegetables, leaves, grass and other natural things that rot and break down in soil. Any fruits, vegetables, bread pieces, or garden clippings are great food for worms in a compost bin, Meat, cheese, and other things with animal products are will make your compost bin smelly. There are many places your can explore on the internet to find out what worms like to eat. 

    Activity 5: My day as a worm.

    Now that you are a worm expert on worms click below to write a fun story about life a worm.

    Write StoryMy Day as a Worm
    Activity 6: Show what you know.

    Activity 7: Make your own compost bag to study.

             Collect your materials 

  • a medium sized Ziploc style bag
  • a hole punch
  • 1 cup of damp soil (you can take it out of your home flowerbed) 
  • some food that a worm would like (see Worm Deli for ideas)
  • 3-5 worms (you can get them from your flowerbed or buy them at a bait store with mom or dad's help)
  • Observe your materials
    • Use your magnifying glass to look at your soil. 
    • Draw a picture and color it to show what you see right now.
    • Do the same thing with your worm food.
    • How does the soil feel? Record your ideas in your notebook.
    Assemble your compost bag
  • punch 4-6 holes in the top half of your Ziploc (near the zipper)
  • fill the bottom of the bag with the damp soil
  • add worm food
  • carefully transfer worms into your compost bag
  • close zipper on bag carefully
  • Maintain your compost bag
    • Keep the soil moist (not wet) with aged water (water you let sit out in an open container overnight from the faucet to get rid of the chlorine).
    • Store your bag in a cool, dark place.
    Observe your worms at work
    • Watch the worm food in your bag and write in your notebook about what is happening. 
    • Include drawings as well as writing about what you are seeing. 
    • After 3-4 weeks you will notice major changes in the worm food.
    • Remove some of the soil and look at it with a magnifying glass. Record what you notice.
    • Compare your drawings now to the ones you made a the beginning of your study.
    • Write about what you notice.
    • How does the soil feel now? Record your ideas in your notebook.

    Activity 8: Make a compost bin at home.

    There are lots of sites that will show you how to make your own compost bin at home. Explore these sites with your family at home and find one that you like. Happy composting! 

    Activity 9: Congratulations! You're a certified wormologist! Click on Herman to print out your certificate.

    Congratulations from Herman!

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    August 10, 2001

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