Monday, October 20, 2014

Down Comes the Rain, Out Come the Worms

Rainy weather posed a challenge at our last Green LIONS Garden Group keeping our young gardeners inside. But when learning about gardening and sustainability, there are plenty of lessons that can be explored inside and still be effective.

Students were introduced to our program’s worm bin, or our tiniest group of garden helpers. They also reviewed the world of decomposers and where worms, as decomposers, fit into a food chain.

When stuck indoors, games can save the day. Students were asked, “Where does all of the energy of the earth begin?” Answer: the sun. The sun provides light energy for the producers to combine with carbon dioxide from the air to make their own food through photosynthesis. Producers are then eaten by primary and secondary consumers. Finally, when producers or consumers die, they are broken down and returned to the earth via decomposers.

Students divided up into four groups; a sun group, a producers group, a consumers group and a decomposers group. Suns scooped up a large handful of energy, aka popcorn, and then passed it on to the producers group as carefully as possible. Try to keep your energy! The producers then passed on the energy to the consumers and finally the consumers to the decomposers. As one would predict, the decomposers had the smallest handfuls of energy, with the rest of the popcorn spread across the floor representing consumers and their use of energy through respiration, digestion, etc. Students were then asked, “If producers receive the most energy from the sun, do we think there would be more grass in the world or hawks?"

We then explored the worm bin taking out a few red wigglers for a closer look. With the help of re-purposed clear plastic lids and flash lights, students were able to observe the worms’ 2-5 sets of hearts and their intestines. They then showed their findings in a worm sketch.

Students also received their Green LIONS Garden Group t-shirts! Looking good Sustainable Ambassadors!

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