"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Earth Focus: Worms, Snails and Slugs...Oh My!!

Our new theme is Spring and we're covering lots of subtopics. This week we were learning about soil, worms, snails and slugs. We've been assisted by lots of amazing books, a great song, a phenomenally informational GEMS guide, and lots of ideas from other early childhood educators, Pinterest, and friends. 

These are some of the AMAZING books
we've been using in our study.
Each of them have something special about them
and I STRONGLY recommend every one of them.
I actually found Mr. Carey's Garden at the local library,
but enjoyed it so much that I ordered it through Amazon.

GEMS: Terrarium Habitats
This guide provides detailed information about
worms, snails and slugs. It's actually a guide for
setting up terrarium habitats. We pulled the pertinent
information from the guide. That's one of the things I
LOVE about the GEMS guides, you use what works for
your program and your class.

We began with soil exploration.
We dug up some soil from our
school garden and placed it on the table.
We provided magnifying glasses, tweezers, and a
craft stick for our inquisitive little friends.
They discovered some roots,
leaves and other materials in the soil.

We just received our new sensory table and are
THRILLED with it. We placed garden soil and
potting soil in the garden along with plastic insects,
silk flowers, root veggies (carrots, artichokes and
asparagus), watering cans, gardening gloves, garden
spades, plastic worms and aprons.

I LOVE it when I see one friend helping
another friend without any adult involvement.
This year we have one friend who has learned
how to tie her shoes and other stuff. She was
the perfect friend to help with this task.

The kiddos fell in love with the song, 
Dirt Made My Lunch and were truly
able to grasp the concept of the need
for good soil to grow EVERYTHING
they eat. This video clip is very old,
as the Banana Slug String Band look
nothing like this now, but you can
hear the song this way. 

We start our study with determining what the kiddos
already know about the subject. We document whatever
they say, whether accurate or not. During the study
we'll determine what is true and what isn't. Very quickly
after we took down the info, the other kiddos shared
knowledge with the "Worms have legs," friend and he
decided that wouldn't stay on our board any longer.

We set up a mini worm farm. We found an appropriate
see-thru container, placed a capped water bottle filled with warm
water in the center of the container. We then layered
soil, sand, soil, sand, soil. We sprayed the top
layer with water, added some spinach leaves on
the top, then put in the worms. We then wrapped a band
of black construction paper around the container.
The next day we removed the black paper and could
see where the worms had tunneled through the layers.
*We did poke holes in the lid for air holes: large
enough for breathing, but small enough so they couldn't
climb out of the container. 

We were BLESSED with the gift of a worm farm bin
from our Nana Teri (grandmother of one of our students).
We placed shredded paper, a little soil, and some
lettuce in the container. We spritzed the contents with
water, then added the worms.

We placed a wet paper towel beside a dry one,
then laid a worm on it to see which side it
would prefer. Thanks to spelloutloud.com for
this idea, the download of the book below
and the suggestion of using the water-filled bottle
in the mini worm farm!!

Observing Worms book download
from www.spelloutloud.com

Our "worm" painting provocation:
plastic worms, two shades of blue
and green paint, paper.

These friends were very busy painting with worms.

No worm study would be complete without
tunneling like a worm.

We discussed that worms, snails, and slugs were
invertebrates. The kiddos are familiar with the term
"spine" when we talk about the parts of a book.
I pulled out our skeleton model and showed them
all the bones in a spine and talked about how any animal
with a spine is a vertebrate, any animal without a
spine is an invertebrate.

Once again we gather the beginning knowledge
of snails. The kids were pretty knowledgeable.

Our snails were brought in from a child's home.
The parent collected them and put them in a large
plastic coffee container with a few coffee grounds
in the bottom. The caffeine definitely had an
impact on them. I've never seen snails move so fast!
It was a totally unplanned experiment and not
one I would have set up intentionally.

The kiddos LOVED playing with the snails.

This friend looked through the magnifying
glass after the snail was crawling on it.
He was able to see the "foot" of the snail
move. It looked kind of like ocean waves.

After our snail day ended, we moved them into
their own habitat complete with soil, plants,
veggies, and an occasional spritz of water. If
you look closely you can see their silvery paths.
We then began studying slugs.
This was the next day and they
didn't move nearly as fast as the
snails, though they had been in
the same container. Who knows?

Look closely to see the shiny trail!

We also had some leftover real flowers and
decided to use them for some flower painting.
The results were beautiful!

We're having so much fun!!


  1. I love these activities. I have a feeling I'm going to be saying that a lot about your posts...so glad to have found your blog. We're learning about worms this week, and we've done a lot of the same worm activities. Looking forward to trying some of the snails and slugs discoveries, too!

    1. Thanks so much, Shaunna. Glad you can find some inspiration here. Come back often and be sure to check out the Facebook page, if you haven't already. I can post lots more photos there. https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531?ref=hl

  2. Oh my goodness I love your blog. Thank you so much for taking the time to share the way you have. My children are going to love doing this next week. Thank you again.

    1. Thank you so much, Sheilla. I really love what I do and love sharing ideas and inspiration with others. Thank you for your kind words. Have fun with your kiddos. I'd love to see photos of your adventures. You can post them to my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/For-the-Children/170943436350531?ref=hl

  3. These are awesome activities!! My kids love the same animals!! I'm pinning!

  4. Wow, looks like so much fun. Love the books you used!

    1. Thanks, Growing Book by Book! I love doing a study and integrating high quality books into the study. These books are especially superb!

  5. This is so fun! We are featuring you tomorrow on Share It Saturday. We will also be sharing with our FB and Twitter followers, and pinning. Thanks so much for joining us at Share It Saturday!!
    Colleen at www.sugaraunts.com

    FB: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sugar-Aunts/406711342711382?ref=tn_tnmn
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/sugaraunts
    Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/thesugaraunts/

  6. Oh, what great lessons!! Thank you for sharing on Sharing Saturday!

  7. LOVE! The combination of science, sensory play, and literacy is awesome. I'm featuring you today at Stress-Free Sunday with Fun-A-Day! and pinning this post. Thanks so much for sharing it with us. :)

  8. Just popping back over to say thanks for linking this post to Discover and Explore. I hope you'll be back to share another idea for our Stars, Moon, and Nighttime Sky theme this week.

  9. Fantastic blog!! Im a preservice teacher and cannot wait to do a unit just like this in my own class =) Thaks so much for sharing all of your fabulous ideas!!

    1. You're most welcome. I had never done this theme and will definitely do it again.

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