Earthworms

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THE EARTHWORM

YOU WILL NEED: AN EARTHWORM OR A VERY GOOD PICTURE OF ONE

An earthworm has a muscular body.  Its body is divided into rings or segments.  There are tiny bristles on the lower part of each segment. With its slimy skin, the movement of its muscles and the tiny bristles, an earthworm is able to move through the soil.

  Look carefully at an earthworm.

v     What is an earthworm’s body divided into? _____________________

v     What is on the underside of each segment?  __________________

v     How are the bristles helpful to the worm?  _________________ 

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Circle the words that best describe an earthworm

          pinkish-brown slimy         hard      soft     

          spiky         rough         long      slithering

Earthworms munch their way through the soil in search of dead plants to eat.  They spend most of their lives swallowing earth underground.  Leaves of deciduous trees fall in autumn.  They are full of nutrients from the energy of the sun. Earthworms drag leaves from the surface and eat them.  As they chew they swallow bits of earth which mix with the dead plants.  

v     Where will the autumn leaves that are not collected have disappeared to by the following summer?

     _____________________________________________________________

     _____________________________________________________________

Earthworms are very important?  They are natural recyclers.

   d  __  c  __  __  p  __  s  ___  r   is  a good word to describe an earthworm.

What does this mean?  _________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

 

Worms usually only come to the surface of the soil at night when there are no birds around to catch them.

v     Why do we sometimes see birds poking in the soil after a shower of rain?  What Are they looking for?

     _____________________________________________________________

v     Name some birds that like to eat earthworms.

     _____________________________________________________________

Earthworms have no eyes but if you shine a torch on them they will withdraw quickly into the ground.  Although they cannot see they can feel an animal coming near them because the movement of an animal causes the soil to vibrate.  Their mouths are small gaps protected by a flap of skin under the front end of their bodies.

          sensitive     senses        vibration     swallowing

Write two sentences to describe an earthworm using the words above.

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

Worms’ eggs are kept in hard little cases or cocoons in the soil.  These cocoons are made in a swollen red part of the worm’s body called a saddle.  A large number of tiny worms climb out of the cocoon when it hatches, ready to start their burrowing life under the soil.

Look for the saddle on the earthworm. 

Are there bristles on the saddle?          yes       no

Draw a picture of an

earthworm in the above box.   Include rings, saddle and bristles.

If the weather is very cold earthworms plug the opening of their burrows with leaves and go to sleep deep down under the soil. They often spend the winter rolled up in a ball underground with other sleeping worms.

v     What is this called?  _____________________________________

NB  Always wash your hands after handling soil or earthworms

 

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