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Active Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Project Time
3 or more days
Key Concepts
Earthworms, Observation, Habitat
Worms burrowing themselves in dirt.

Introduction

Earthworms are important for the soil and a lot of fun to study. Few people know there are over 2,000 types of earthworms. Some like to burrow deep in the soil, while others stay near the surface. Do you know what they eat, or what their eating and burrowing habits are? Fill a pot with moist dirt, add a few worms, and observe your worms to find out.

Credits

Sabine De Brabandere, PhD, Science Buddies
This activity is not appropriate for use as a science fair project. Good science fair projects have a stronger focus on controlling variables, taking accurate measurements, and analyzing data. To find a science fair project that is just right for you, browse our library of over 1,150 Science Fair Project Ideas or use the Topic Selection Wizard to get a personalized project recommendation.

Materials

  • Clear plastic pot or deli container, 32 oz or more, at least 12 cm high; like these, available from Amazon.com
  • Push pin
  • Scissors or nail
  • Loose dirt; potting soil works well (enough to fill 1 pot)
  • Optional: Water spray bottle (1); like this one, available from Amazon.com. If you do not have one available, you can wring out a wet cloth over the dirt to moisten the soil.
  • Newspaper (1 sheet)
  • Earthworms (15)
    • Red wigglers (composting worms) can be found locally in a composting pile, or at well-equipped garden stores. You can also purchase them from numerous online vendors, including Amazon.com or Carolina Biological.
    • You can also use other earthworms found in your yard or local bait shop, or buy them from an online vendor, like Carolina Biological. You will need fewer worms if your worms are long (on average more than 7 cm). Note that some species require special care (like refrigerator temperatures.) Make sure you can give your worms the care they need (like storing your pots with worms in a refrigerator).
  • Brown paper bag or cardboard box (1)
  • Fine-tip permanent marker
  • Cutting board
  • Knife for cutting food
  • Fruit; melon or melon rinds work well. Harder fruits like apples are good, but might take a little more time to start decaying. This will increase the total time to observe what worms do when food is around by a few days. Avoid citrus fruits, as worms do not like these.
  • Optional: lab notebook

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Active Time
45 minutes to 1 hour
Total Project Time
3 or more days
Key Concepts
Earthworms, Observation, Habitat