Recent studies have found that a good science education in the earliest grades in school is very important to help your child excel at science throughout their life. Science is taught at a lower priority in most early grade classes, and researchers found when interviewing kindergartners, just over one-third of the children showed any knowledge of science from school or other sources. It is important to make sure your kindergartner is introduced to and has the opportunity to study science during their earliest years. Here is a fun science experiment to observe earthworms you can conduct with your kindergartner at home to expand and build upon their early science education.
Build an Earthworm Observation Jar
One science concept children learn about during kindergarten is the life cycles of animals, and a good way to teach them this is by observation and experimentation. With this earthworm experiment, you and your kindergartner can build an observation jar to watch and learn how earthworms live and work in the soil.
To do this experiment, you will need:
- Large glass jar
- Potting soil
- Dark-colored construction paper
- Three to four large earthworms
Explain the following to your kindergartner: Worms are beneficial and important to the soil as they keep it healthy. Worms break down raw materials that are in the soil, such as dead leaves and other plants, by eating them. After the worms have digested the materials, they excrete them as casings, or worm poop, which makes the soil fertile and full of nutrients. Worms also loosen and ventilate the soil as they burrow through it, breaking apart hard clumps and adding oxygen to the soil.
Assemble the Experiment
Tell your kindergartner you are going to help them build an earthworm observatory, so they can see the worms while they live in a soil environment. Instruct your child to fill a glass jar, such as a mayonnaise jar, alternating the soil and sand with one-inch layers of each, using a measuring scoop. Be sure the top layer is soil. Next, have your child pour some water over the soil and sand layers to dampen the whole mixture.
Next, you will need some earthworms to live in the observation jar. Help your kindergartner collect some earthworms from your soil outside by digging down several inches into a patch of moist, or root-filled soil beneath some grass or other plants. Place these worms directly on top of the soil in the jar. The worms will immediately begin to burrow into the soil, so let your child watch them for a couple minutes.
Next, you will need to cover the jar with a dark-colored piece of construction paper, as worms like to live in the dark. Wrap the paper around the outside of the jar, using tape to hold the paper together. Leave the jar's lid off so the worms will be able to get air they need to live.
Observe the Earthworm's Work
After three days, let your child pull off the paper cover from the jar to see what the worms have done to the layers of sand and soil. Talk about what they have discovered and how they think the worms moved the soil around in the jar.
Your child can continue to watch the worms periodically over the next few days. Be sure to place the paper over the jar's exterior to keep out sunlight between observations. After a few days, return the worms back to their outside soil environment, so they can continue to be beneficial to the earth.
Use this experiment of building a worm observation jar to teach your kindergartner about how earthworms live beneath the soil. If your kid is not yet enrolled in kindergarten, consider a school like Triple R Child Care.