1. Prepare your kids for the big day. Put up a sign announcing the date. Discuss with students that the worms will be guests, and must be treated with respect. Any student who does not treat a worm like a respected living thing must sit out, and watch only. Students who don't want to touch them don't have to. They can just watch worm behavior. I've done Wonderful Worm Day with my kids for years, and I can say that by the end of the day EVERY kid, even the most squeamish, have not only touched the worm, but have become friends with them.
2. Go to a local bait store for big night crawlers. It's easier to see their features. Also get aluminum tin pans with high sides, and cling wrap. Worms are escape artists, and I have come back from lunch more than once to see them scurrying down the table leg. Cling wrap keeps the air out, so make sure you open it at least once an hour to let new air in. Make sure you have a spray bottle of water. Worms need to be kept moist, but NOT wet. (think of all those worms on your driveway after a rain) I usually just walk around while the students are observing, and give a spray where needed.
3. Do observations of the earthworms. I get three or four worms for each groups of four to five students. Students can keep notes on worm behavior. First ask them to draw the worm in as much detail as possible. Discuss that each line, and feature should be in the drawing. Ask students which end they think is the head. Next put a black piece of construction paper over 1/2 of the aluminum tin. Record what happens. Do worm research on the computer, then make a poster with a group.
4. At the end of the day, take the worms outside with students. Go to a nice grassy spot and sit the students in a circle. I usually have a circle of boys, and a circle of girls. Put the worms in the center on the grass. If you have a stop watch it's fun to time how long it takes the worms to burrow into the ground. If the ground isn't too hard it's pretty fast.
Take lots of pictures! It's a day your kids won't forget. My kids talked about it even on the last day of school as one of their favorite activities.
I've included some fun worm sites below as well as a freebie! Enjoy!
LOTS of great activities to do with kids and worms
The Autobiography of Squirmin' Herman the Worm: Fantastic site with ALL the information you could want. Perfect for third grade and up to use for research!
There are great videos here from the BBC about worm recyclers, how birds find worms, and a good one on a HUGE earthworm!
Many interesting and short videos about worms and their importance.
Now about the Freebie!
If you would like about everything you need to have your own worm day, with not only ideas from above, but much more, check out my resource below!