Kids Do Ecology
|Kids do Ecology, 2010
This experiment was designed and carried out by Ms. Galbraith's 5th
grade class at Monroe
Elementary School with help from Drs. Christine Petersen
and Carol Adair
After giving the class a short introduction to worms and food webs, the
students came up with
a hypothesis to test:
Because worms need to be wet (but not too wet) to breathe and survive,
we expected that we would find the most worms in wet areas.
To test the hypothesis that there would be more worms in wet than dry
areas, we used
a gradient of sites from wet to very dry. The students found one wet
site (near a leaky
sprinkler head), 2 moist sites (in shady areas), and 2 sunny,
grunting (also called worm charming or fiddling) demonstration
To find worms, we used a technique called worm grunting (more
information on this method here).
One-meter radius circular plots were set up at each site. In the
center of each plot, an 18 inch dowell was set one foot into the
ground. A wooden block was rubbed across the top of the dowell to
generate a grunting/clacking
noise that mimics the sound of moles digging in the ground. This
technique caused earthworms to
rise to the
surface (to escape the
moles). All worms within the one-meter radius circle were counted and
|The students found
18 worms in the wet site, an average of 2.5 worms in the moist
sites, and no worms in the dry sites.
concluded that more worms were present in the wet areas,
supporting their hypothesis.They presented their results to
other scientists and
scientists-in-training at NCEAS
on March 25 (below pictures).
|More pictures of Kids do Ecology
2010 can be found here.
photo: Mt. Massive in Colorado, 2009