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Worm Activities

Worm Experiments

Observe the five beating hearts in a worm.
Observe the five beating hearts in a worm.

In our last activity, you'll learn more about worms through worm experiments.

What You'll Need:




Plastic container of moist dirt

Paper towels


Magnifying glass

Cotton swab

Alcohol or fingernail polish remover

Carefully dig up some worms in a garden and put them in a container. Prepare a worm-friendly surface for your observations. Lay three thicknesses of paper towel on a waterproof surface and moisten the paper until very wet. Set the worm on the wet paper towel.

On the outside: Look for a wide, thick band around the worm's middle. This is called a clitellum. It is closest to the head end. Look at the head with your magnifying glass. See if you can find the mouth, with its overhanging lip.

Notice that the worm's body is made up of segments. Each segment has two pairs of special bristles (called setae). Wet your fingers and run them down the worm's body to feel the rough setae.

Getting around: Let the worm crawl on the paper towel. When it wants to move, it becomes long and thin. If you touch it, the worm contracts and becomes thicker.

The worm has two layers of muscles; those running around the body squeeze the worm and make it thinner and longer. Those running end to end make the worm shorter and thicker.

Heartbeats: Find a light-colored worm. Wet its upper surface and use your magnifying glass to observe the upper surface near the head. Look for the worm's five beating hearts.

Strong reactions: Dip a cotton swab in alcohol or nail polish remover. Hold the swab close to the worm's head, but DON'T touch the worm with the strong chemical.

What happens when the swab is near the head? Does the worm move? Hold the swab near the tail, then near the middle. Can the worm detect where the fumes are? How does it react?

Find more fun activities and craft ideas on the following pages:

ABOUT THE CRAFT DESIGNERSThe following crafts were designed by Maria Birmingham, Karen E. Bledsoe, and Kelly Milner Halls.

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