Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Logo
Lesson Overview
  • 50 Minutes
  • 1, 4, 5, 9
  • 1st - 5th Grade
  • State Standards:
    Science Standards: 1.1-1.4 through 5.1-5.4

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Materials List
  • Wide mouth jar (large plastic soda bottle with top cut off )
  • soil (can be from outside school)
  • peat moss
  • water
  • 10-12 worms per jar (to locate worms outside dig in soft, moist soil)
  • paper bag
  • dead leaves or other plant material

Build a Mini Worm Bin

Categories:  Agriculture ,  Biology

Discover why earthworms are considered a gardener’s best friend. The mini worm bin, or “wormery”, built in this activity allows students to observe the worms as they convert plant material into rich compost.


  • Take a large wide mouth jar (large soda bottles with the tops cut off work well) and layer the following materials: first layer soil about 2” deep; middle layer damp peat moss 1” deep; top layer 2” soil. Make sure layers are tamped down so they are clearly visible as layers from the outside of the jar.
  • Water the layers until moist, but not soaking.
  • Place worms into the container. Do not bury the worms, they know where to go. Watch them quickly dig into the soil.
    Add some leaves or other plant material to the top.
  • Set a paper bag over the top of the jar. This will keep out light, while still letting in oxygen.
  • Worms prefer temperatures of 55 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (12-21 degrees Celsius). Do not place jars in direct sun light.

For full instructions, please download our PDF