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Worms with an Appetite (for Waste)! 

Ages: 6 and up

Duration: 45 minutes to 1 hour (adaptable to grade-appropriate length)

This presentation begins with a discussion about what we do with our waste. The presenter speaks about how the variety of trash items we create will go into different containers. Students are then asked how and what they recycle and are introduced to the concept of composting. This discussion leads into an examination of nature’s recyclers…the “red wiggler”. Red wigglers (also called redworms) are the primary worms used for vermicomposting (composting with worms). Students will learn a bit about the physical structure of this tiny biological wonder, understand the role red wigglers play in the environment (and in recycling leftover food waste), and investigate the concepts of waste reduction and recycling. A hands-on demonstration of how to prepare and maintain a worm bin concludes the lesson. Each student gets to create their very own worm bin to take home and is instructed on how to take care of it to produce optimum compost results. All necessary materials are provided by the YCSWA.

Evaluation Tool
Students will be able to describe the basics of trash disposal, recycling, and composing. They should understand the environmental benefits of vermicomposting, and relate how compost is used to enhance soil nutrient value for plants.


  1. Maintain a large worm bin in the classroom for one semester. Worm bins and supplies are provided at no cost by the YCSWA. Worm bins are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Call the Authority at 717-845-1066 or click here to reserve a bin.
  2. Brainstorm all the ways composting, and recycling in general, benefit the environment. Create a school bulletin board or display illustrating the benefits.

How to Get this Lesson Plan Into Your Classroom
This lesson is available at no cost to any York County school or civic group and is presented by a member of the Authority’s Education Center staff. All materials and handouts associated with this lesson plan are provided by the Authority. Call 717-845-1066 or click here to schedule a presentation of this lesson plan for your class or assembly program.

(Developed by the York County Solid Waste Authority © 2001)