Do the Worm Bin!

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MAIN TOPIC OF THE VIDEO: Vermicomposting

 

Frame:

  1. Focus:What is a worm bin used for?
  2. What is composting?
  3. How does composting relate to climate change?

Frame:

  1. According to the video, what are some materials you will need to start a vermicomposting bin? What are some must-haves for composting? More information here.
  2. What are some food scraps that are appropriate for the composting bin? What are the no-no’s for a composting bin?
  3. What kind of worm is best for a compost bin?

Follow-up:

  1. You can compost indoors or outdoors, with or without worms, depending on your living space and the resources that are available to you. Find out more about different types of compost and try one! (A quick online search will get you plenty of tips to get started!) visit the following sites for more information: Kitchen compostingOutdoor compostingHome compostingCompost guide, and Composting for kids.
  2. Composting helps to reduce trash and greenhouse gases. What are some other actions we can take to do reduce climate change? For some ideas, go here.

ANSWERS TO DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

Frame:

  1. A worm bin is used for composting.
  2. Composting is a biological process that occurs when microscopic organisms break down organic materials (old plant and animal tissues) and make them into rich soil called compost. It’s basically returning nutrients back into the ground and allowing other plants to grow by means of absorbing the nutrients that come from the compost.
  3. Human beings create an incredible amount of trash, and most of it goes into landfills. Landfills are the third largest source of methane (a powerful greenhouse gas) emissions in the U.S. Since 30% of the trash we generate can be composted, by composting, we help to limit the amount of greenhouse gases being released into the atmosphere.

Focus:

  1. According to the video: container with holes, newspapers, sand, water and worms. The composting pile also needs a proper ratio of browns (carbon-rich materials) and greens (nitrogen-rich materials).
  2. As the video shows, fruits and vegetables are the ideal food scraps for earthworms. Eggshells and grass clippings are great as well. No-no’s: meat scraps, bones, diary products (milk, cheese, ice cream) and oily foods. These food scraps will cause your compost pile to stink and attract unwanted animals and pests.
  3. Eisenia fetida — red worm, or red wiggler are the best kind of worms to use because they thrive in rapidly changing environments with rich organic matter deposits. They can survive in warmer conditions and environments where there are lots of worms. They can also breed and consume wastes much faster than typical soil worms.

Follow-up:

  1. Compost styles and required materials may vary.
  2. See the Green Ninja Take Action page for a variety of actions involving our use of energy, transportation, food and general consumption.

ADDITIONAL TOPICS AND LEARNING EXPERIENCES

The video states that worms’ poop gives us free fertilizer! How does the worm’s anatomy and functions allow it to turn organic material into valuable fertilizer?

The worm can only eat microscopic organisms and organic matter. Worms have no teeth can cannot chew. However, bits of sand and soil get into their gizzard and help to grind the food into tiny pieces. The food then leaves the gizzard and goes into the worm’s intestines, where the nutrients are dissolved and absorbed into the bloodstream. When all the materials are processed and exit the worm’s body as castings (poop), the end result is a very rich fertilizer.

ADDITIONAL NOTES AND RESOURCES

  1. The Worm Guide: A Vermicomposting Guide for Teachers” from CalRecycle
  2.  The Adventures of Vermi the Worm online game from CalRecycle

Credit: This teacher resource has been adapted from content originally developed by Hannah Sun.