Worm anatomy is a fantastic science subject for preschoolers! It is hands on, safe, and something you can talk about as they discover it!
Our kids absolutely love worms! They love finding them and finding new homes for them. They love holding them, watching them move, feeding them, and learning about them. So when they wanted to host a Nature Club, it only made sense that worms would be our first week's topic!
Today I'm going to share a lot about worm anatomy...join us tomorrow to learn how to make your own wormery (worm habitat)!
Let's start out with a diagram...
The first thing you want to find on your worm is its clitellum. This looks like a patch near one end of the worm, and it tells you where the head (or anterior) end of the worm is! The clitellum is used to make baby worms.
The clitellum is on the anterior (or head) end of the worm, but worms do not have eyes, ears, or a nose! They do have cells that can detect light--worms prefer the dark. You won't be able to see those, but you will be able to see the very first segment on the worm: its mouth! The mouth is covered by a flap of skin so the worm doesn't swallow everything it bumps into.
Inside the worm, between its mouth and clitellum, the worm has 5 simple hearts, a crop (like a stomach), and a gizzard. The gizzard contains tiny rocks and sand that mash up the worms food, because worms don't have teeth to chew it up.
An earthworm can have over 100 segments between it's two ends! Each segment can have tiny little bristles that help the worm move and hold on to things. Worms also have two sets of muscles: long muscles stretch along the length of the worm, and round muscles go in circles around each segment. A worm moves by tightening and relaxing its muscles while holding onto the substrate with its bristles!
Your preschoolers may interrupt worm anatomy lesson to ask a very important question: "Is my worm a boy or girl?" The answer is...neither! Each worm has a complete set of both male and female organs on the inside...and there is no difference from the outside!
I hope you've enjoyed this tour of worm anatomy science! Be sure to join us tomorrow to find out how to make your own little wormeries!
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