Worm Watching

We live in a world where worms live under the dirt and we rarely ever see them. On the rainy days, worms come out of the wet, nasty soil and find their way to the sidewalk. As we all know, children are very curious and some love to get dirty in the outdoors. Many kids love to dig in the dirt to find and pick up worms. Well, we found a very simple to make worms almost jump right out the soil, the mustard method.


Sampling location in the Mixed Hardwoods. Four sample squares were placed along this transect.


The mustard we used is dry and feels like powder, we used a 1/3 cup, put it in a milk gallon, filled it with water, mixed it, and poured it all in one sample area square. We did this for each sample squares.

This was a whole new experience and learning opportunity for me. As an experience, it was something new, I had never poured mustard water in soil and watch worms come up. At times, I felt tired of watching the soil. It wasn’t the most fun thing to do, but as we were watching the soil for worms to come up, my whole group was talking and making the time fun for us all. It was pretty cool how many worms would come out of the ground in a matter of a few minutes.

Going into this experiment, I did not really expect to find a lot of worms at each location. We had multiple flaws throughout our study. When we tested the Pinewoods, we made the mistake of putting the transect on the trail that people walked on. As you can imagine, being in the woods, there were very large pine trees on both sides of the trail and the roots were under the trail. The roots were very thick and they were preventing the mustard solution from settling into the soil. Also, there was a large rock that would not let the mustard settle. The soil was slightly pressed down. These things were what I discovered and would’ve changed or been aware of if we ever did this study again. Starting this study, we planned on doing three samplings at each location; when we found out that another sample from each location would be helpful, it rained a day or two before we went back out to each location and it could have messed with our data. Although, we made a mistake or two, it was a great learning experience and a fun one too.