Adopt a Worm

SEEK - Sharing Environmental Education Knowledge

​Adopt-a-Worm Classroom Composting Program

Red wiggler worms are looking for new homes in preschool through 6th grade classrooms in Kitsap County! These worms are more than just classroom pets-- they are super garbage eaters and science teachers. 

 

Adopting Composting Worms

 Why adopt?

Bring wonder to your classroom. Reduce waste at school. Hands-on exploration of sustainability, science, and biology. Create a classroom business selling worm compost. Practice responsibility. Become a Washington Green School. Have fun!

Teachers who adopted worms during the 2016/2017 school year connected the following concepts to worm composting:

  • Waste reduction / sustainability / caring for the Earth
  • Food webs / decomposers / ecosystems / habitats
  • Needs of plants and animals / life cycles
  • Responsibility / classroom jobs / teamwork
  • Caring for animals                    

 Is your classroom ready for composting worms?

Requirements

  • Students care for and interact with the worms regularly.
  • Contact the program educator for help with issues, or research solutions online.
  • Return the bin before the summer, or request to keep it during the summer.
  • Return the bin if it's not being used.

 

Other considerations

  • Will you need to ask permission from administration to keep live animals?
  • Will you have a steady supply of fruit and vegetable scraps to feed the worms?
  • Chopping food scraps into small pieces helps the worms eat faster, which prevents insects and reduces potential for odor. Will you have time to help students chop or blend food into smaller pieces?
  • Is there a place at your school where you can get shredded office paper for bedding material?

 

 Supplies needed

Provided by the classroom

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps from the cafeteria, staff break room, or students' homes. Around 2 lbs per week.
  • Shredded paper for bedding, as needed.
  • Blender or cutting station for preparing the food, a sink for cleanup.
  • Tools or containers for collecting food scraps and feeding worms (bucket, tongs, measuring cups or scale).

 

Provided by Kitsap County

  • One pound of red wiggler worms
  • Worm bin made from a plastic container.
  • 5 magnifying lenses and placemats.
  • Books and curriculum, if requested. 

 

 Request a lesson

Fill out the online adoption application to request and schedule your adoption day. Your students can help!

Program staff will contact you to schedule your adoption day. 

 Make a feeding plan

Before adoption day, talk with your students about a feeding plan. Here are two examples:

Cafeteria Plan

Every Tuesday, the third grade class takes a bucket to the lunchroom. When they are done eating, they put their banana peels, apple cores, and other non-edible fruit and veggie scraps into the bucket. A classroom helper brings this bucket back to the classroom. The class weighs out approximately 3 pounds of food. An adult chops the food into smaller pieces and the students feed the worms.

Next Tuesday morning, the students check whether the worms have finished (or mostly finished) last week's meal. If they have, the students feed them the same amount as last week. If the food scraps are still mostly whole, the students feed the worms less than last week.

Break Room Plan

The 4th grade class has asked the adults in the staff room to put their fruit and veggie scraps into a special container in the freezer. They trained the adults and also made a reminder sign. On Wednesdays, a volunteer from the class goes to the staff room to check that the adults have remembered to do this! On Fridays, a volunteer collects the container from the freezer. An adult chops the food into smaller pieces and the students feed the worms.

Next week, the students do the same thing. Before feeding, they check to see whether the worms have finished (or mostly finished) last week's meal. If they have, the students feed them the same amount as last week. If the food scraps are still mostly whole, the students feed the worms less than last week.

 Poster showing what worms can and cannot eat.

 Adoption day!

Thursdays or Fridays, minimum 45 minutes.

On adoption day, students will explore the question, "How do worms help us recycle?" through a hands-on investigation and short video. They will also receive an adoption certificate and other materials.

If you cannot keep a worm bin for an extended period, a limited number of worm bins are available for short-term loan! Does not include an educational lesson. 

 2017 Adoptive Classrooms

  • Cougar Valley Elementary First Grade: Mrs. Davis, Mrs. Salstrom, Ms, Shibsted, Mrs. Swanson
  • Peace Lutheran School Kindergarten: Mrs. Meryhew
  • Silverwood School 3rd & 4th Graders: Mrs. Rathgeber
  • Hawk @ Jackson Park Elementary 3rd Graders: Tina Piper
  • Orchard Heights Elementary Kindergarteners: Peggy Ray