Today in Science, I read a story called Compost, By Gosh, by Michelle Portman. We learned that composting indoors with worms is called vermicomposting, and that there are many organisms that live and work together in a compost bin. The end result is lovely castings, which gardens just love.
As we opened up our vermicomposting bin, we immediately noticed that there were many fruit flies. Once they cleared, we also noticed that almost all of the food scraps we have put in there were gone, and there were many worms all clumped up in some areas.
Each young scientist received a small amount of compost containing at least a few worms. Armed with magnifying glasses, we tried to find the different body parts, as well as learning some new vocabulary. By careful observation, we could distinguish the mouth from the anus by which way the worm seemed to be going. Also, more mature worms had a enlarged band around its body (the clitellum) that contains the reproductive parts. Since it is located closer to the head than the tail, that was another way to tell.
Some children could even located the tiny bristles that were located in pairs on most segments, and the tiny flap in front of the mouth (called the prostomium).