Literacy Teaching Toolkit video: Worm Farm

This video features a hands-on discussion about worm farms, as children learn about what they can and cannot feed worms.

Children are invited to observe, explore, and discuss the worms and their home, as well as take turns feeding them food scraps. The educator guides their discussion using a poster displaying images and print.

Reflective practice

Observe

  • The educator’s explanations about what worms can eat, using the poster as a guide.
  • The active engagement of children in the worm farm conversation and exploration.
  • The embedding of science and numeracy concepts in this experience.

Reflection questions

  • How does the educator use questions to guide the discussion?
  • Why is the poster about worms effective for helping children to engage in the experience?
  • How do you address the curriculum priority of sustainability in your setting?
  • How does the educator provide information to help children relate the experience to their everyday life?
  • What evidence did you observe of children using language to discuss the worms?
  • In discussion with colleagues, what would you plan next to consolidate and extend this learning?

Learning experience plan

This learning experience plan relates to:

  • integrated language and literacy experience
  • language and emergent literacy learners (24 - 60 months)
  • learning foci: conversation and social skills, exploring and creating texts
  • teaching practices: discussions and investigations, literacy-rich environment.

Links to VEYLDF

Outcome 4: learning

Children develop dispositions for learning such as:

  • curiosity, cooperation
  • confidence
  • creativity
  • commitment
  • enthusiasm
  • persistence
  • imagination
  • reflexivity
  • are curious and enthusiastic participants in their learning.

Outcome 5: communication

Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes:

  • contribute their ideas and experiences in play and small and large group discussion
  • use language to communicate thinking about quantities to describe attributes of objects
  • and collections, and to explain mathematical ideas.

Children engage with a range of texts and get meaning from these texts:

  • actively use, engage with and share the enjoyment of language and texts in a range of ways
  • recognise and engage with written and oral culturally constructed texts.

Victorian Curriculum Levels F-2: Literacy

  • Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations using interaction skills, including listening, while others speak.

Learning intentions

  • Developing children’s conversational skills.
  • Building children’s awareness of how to use text to help them care for the environment.
  • Assessment of learning, demonstrated when children:
    • take turns, initiate and answer questions, and show interest in the conversation
    • demonstrate knowledge of the links between the text (post about worm food) and real-life, as they care for the worms.

Resources

Group size

Small group (2-5 children) or individual children.

Experience process

Before the experience

Introduce children to the worm farm and the reasons why we have it (perhaps as it is set up, or when children begin attending a room that has access to the farm).

  1. Invite children to come and see the worms and:

    • discuss and show where the worms live
    • ask questions to check children’s prior knowledge of worm farms and related concepts (habitat, diet)
    • use open-ended questions, such as “What does this look like to you?” and “Tell me about these worms!”
    • provide children opportunities to ask their own questions.
  2. Introduce the poster, pointing out the text and images of what worms can and cannot eat:
    • Discuss the worms’ diet, and how it is similar or different to ours
    • Relate the discussion to children’s home life (e.g. Where can you find worms at home?)
  3. Give children a chance to choose pieces of food scraps from a bowl to feed to the worms (try to use food scraps that would otherwise have been thrown away).
  4. Use self-talk and parallel talk (language stimulation strategies) to provide new vocabulary and describe what you are doing, and what children are doing.

Going further

This experience can be extended by:

  • facilitating a fine arts experience for the children to create worms out of playdough or clay
  • exploring a book about insects (including worms)
  • talking about food and diet during mealtimes, relating back to the worm farm experience.

Educators can use posters to help illustrate concepts during learning experiences. See Lexicon of food poster what to feed your worms.

Additional and alternate resources

This experience can be adapted to focus on other hands-on experiences, for example:

  • putting on sunscreen
  • watering the garden.

Related videos and learning experience plans

Videos

Experience plans

Links to sections