Early Childhood (EC) students (5-6-year-olds) started earthworm farming in Sept. 2021. Earthworms were fed and cared for by EC students throughout the school year. Students added pieces of food waste to earthworm farms while learning about their importance in generating soil from food waste, leaves and other organic material.
In April 2022, a Grade 4 student proposed to focus her co-curricular students’ project on soil (importance of soil on the environment & humans, impact of soil loss, preservation, regeneration of soil). She pursued this area of focus through research including earthworms in EC classrooms and MIS Science Fund Soil Project (SFSP). In 2021, MIS had implemented SFSP with 3 sets of 3 soil plots (‘Boxes’) for student designed experiments & data collection in combination with automated weather station.
From May until June 2022, the Grade 4 student designed three lessons for each EC 5/6 class and prepared sections of the Soil Boxes for planting. In collaboration with the Science Dept., she built borders out of wood to experiment by growing the same bee friendly native seed packs in the three different soils in the Soil Boxes.
1. EC students learn more about the earthworms in the classroom and connect to soil in MIS Soil Boxes and around the world. Students took earthworms and soil from earthworm farm to Soil Boxes and compared the soil with the three different Boxes. Students felt and experimented with different soils before planting native flower seeds in the designated areas.
2. EC students learn about the composition of soil in the earthworm farms (eg; mineral enrichment). Grade 4 student & several other students focused on food waste reading EC appropriate books to EC students in small groups.
3. EC students and a Grade 9 science class learn about the compost bins & soil in the MIS Garden by releasing earthworms from the EC classrooms into the MIS gardens (below potatoes planted by Grade 1 students).
Students learned about role of earthworms, impact of soil loss & food waste, preservation, & regeneration of soil. The soil generated by EC students in their earthworm farms was added to MIS school garden for improved soil quality. EC students will continue to build on this knowledge 2022/2023 as they compost and clear the garden in the How We Organise Ourselves unit and then plant and care for the garden in the Sharing the Planet unit as Grade 1 students. Lesson resources of the Grade 4 student will support EC teachers with future lessons. Lessons of the Grade 4 student included Grade 9 science students & inspired a G. 9 student to pursue soil for her ‘personal project’ in 2022/2023. Soil Boxes have three different types of soil from recent building project of the MIS Gym. There is a control group for each type of soil. Junior School has started to use each type of soil to measure growth. MIS will continue this experiment 2022/2023 with same students from EC when they are in Grade 1.