Home F2S Lesson Plans Worms: From Garbage to the Garden - Winnona Park Elementary School (K-3rd Grade)
Worms: From Garbage to the Garden - Winnona Park Elementary School (K-3rd Grade)  E-mail
Written by Ms. Cutia M. Blunt   
Friday, 16 April 2010 00:00

Background Information:

Younger, elementary-aged students are naturally curious about the world around them.  Many also lack an aversion to what others deem as ‘yucky’.  While devising a plan to introduce my current second grade students to gardening, I came up with the idea of starting a vermicomposting (composting with worms) program.

This idea makes a natural fit into both the goals and objectives of the gifted program and the expectations of the Expeditionary Learning school reform model.

Students will actively contribute to and learn from our class worm bin.  Next school year we will use the fresh compost as a valuable amendment to the soil in the existing garden beds.



  • Students will learn the definition and basic structures of vermicomposting.
  • Students will prepare a worm bin.
  • Students will maintain a worm bin using materials found around the school and brought in from home.
  • Students will observe the changes occurring in a worm bin.


Georgia Performance Standards Addressed:

  • S2CS1 – Students will be aware of the importance of curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism in science and will exhibit these traits in their own efforts to understand how the world works.
  • S2CS3 – Students will use tools and instruments for observing, measuring, and manipulating objects in scientific activities.
  • S2CS4 – Students will use the ideas of system, model, change, and scale in exploring scientific and technological matters.
  • S2CS5 – Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly.
  • M2P1 – Students will solve problems that arise in mathematics and in other contexts.
  • M2P4 – Students will understand how mathematical ideas interconnect and build on one another and will apply mathematics in other content areas.
  • ELA2R3 – The student acquires and uses grade-level words to communicate effectively.


Lesson Plan 1: Diary of a Worm

Allotted time: 60 minutes

Materials: Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin, iPod Touches (one per student), graphic organizer, pencils


Learning target: I can research facts about worms.


Instructional plan:

1. Read aloud Diary of a Worm.
2. Lead students in a brief discussion about the implicit and explicit facts presented in the book.
3. Remind students of research procedures.
4. Pass out an iPod Touch to each student.
5. Briefly remind students how to use the Mobicip application to search for the research topic (worms).
6. Pass out one graphic organizer to each student.
7. Instruct students to search for 10 facts about worms.  They are to transfer the facts into their own words and record them on the graphic organizer.
8. Provide students with plenty of time to independently complete this activity.
Close the lesson by having students choose one or two facts to share with the remainder of the class.



Graphic organizer
Informal observation of research procedures


Teacher observations:

I was impressed with the way the students navigated through Mobicip via the iPod Touches to locate research information on worms.  However, next time I may prescreen the available websites to see if they could find an adequate amount of information on red wigglers.  Those are the types of worms we’ll use in our worm bins.


Lesson Plan 2: Preparing a Worm Bin

Allotted time: 60 minutes

Materials: Completed worm bin, red wigglers, soil, newspaper, fruit and/or vegetable scraps, broom, paper towels, graphic organizers from lesson 1, ActivBoad, laptop, data projector

GPS: S2CS1, S2CS3, S2CS4, S2CS5

Learning target: I can assist in preparing a worm bin.


Instructional plan:

1. Allow each student to share one additional worm fact (found on their graphic organizer from the first lesson).

2. Introduce the lesson’s guest expert – Ms. Myriam from the Oakhurst Community Garden.

3. Ms. Myriam will work with students to assemble the inside of the compost bin.  She’ll discuss why each material goes in and how the worms react to the materials.

4. Discuss plan for students to take home the compost pail to collect food scraps from family meals.  Those scraps will then become food for the worms.

5. The lesson will conclude by students using the ActivBoard to create a list of what to put into a worm bin and what not to put in.



1. Informal observations


Teacher observations:

The students were really engaged in the information Ms. Myriam offered; I’m glad she was able to take the lead for this lesson.

Next time, I need to ensure the ‘take home’ compost pail is available.  Unfortunately, it had not yet arrived from the gardening company in time for this lesson.  I will also spread newspapers under the bin, allowing for an easier clean up!  Perhaps having magnifying glasses available during this lesson would be beneficial.

I need to retype the list of what to put in and what not to put in, laminate it, and send it home with the student who is in charge of the compost pail each week.


Lesson Plan 3: Maintaining the Worm Bin (ongoing)

Allotted time: 20 minutes per week

Materials: Existing worm bin, fruit and/or vegetable scraps (brought in from home in compost pail), shovel, newspaper

GPS: S2CS1, S2CS3, S2CS4, S2CS5, ELA2R3

Learning target: I can maintain and observe a worm bin.


Instructional plan:

1. Obtain the compost pail from the student who took it home for a week.

2. Take students outside to the worm bin.  Remove the lid and top layer of paper.  Allow students time to make observations using their sense of sight and smell.

3. Allow a student to add the contents of the pail to the bin; he or she can then use the shovel to ‘mix’ the new contents with the ones already composting.

4. Ask for additional observations.

5. Have students shred newspaper, if the bin seems too moist.

6. Replace top layer of paper.  Place bin back in its’ somewhat-shady location.

7. Send the compost pail home with another student.



1. Informal observations

2. Discussions


Teacher observations:

Maintaining the worm bin is one of the most exciting things we do each week!  I’m amazed at how quickly items we place in it are decomposing.  The system of allowing one student per week to take home the bin seems to be working.  Next year, I’ll ask parents to take photographs of the process at home.

The worm bin that Ms. Myriam created with us is working for now.  However, I would eventually like to use a professional bin. We’re having issues with draining the excess ‘compost tea’.  For now we’re solving the problem by adding extra newspaper when the bin gets too moist.


Supplemental Activities (in conjunction with the ongoing nature of lesson 3):

1. My Day as a Worm - While imagining they are worms, students will complete sentence starters to write their own story.


2. What’s for Dinner? - Students will write the names of things a worm could eat while inside of a worm bin.  They’ll list one for each letter of the alphabet.  The example given for the letter ‘A’ is for ‘asparagus’.


3. Worm Food in Your Trash - Students will analyze a list of things people often throw in their trash cans.  Then they’ll evaluate which items could be fed to worms in a worm bin and circle the correct answers.




Our Mission & Vision

Mission: To integrate Farm to School concepts into current City Schools of Decatur curricula, partner with local farmers to supply fresh produce to schools, and support a sustainable, local food system.

Vision: A community-driven, sustainable school food system that provides fresh, local foods in schools, teaches children the skills and knowledge essential to food production, preparation, nutrition, and enjoyment, supports the local economy, and preserves natural resources.