Worm factory at McNamara

At McNamara Elementary School, third-graders in teacher Courtney Tice's class are learning about soil and conservation with a hands-on project. They are operating a live vermicomposting bin in the classroom, or as they call it, a worm factory, complete with more than 2,000 worms.

Students bring in waste from home including vegetable scraps, fruit and vegetable peelings and coffee grounds to feed to the worms once or twice a week. Tice said her students have learned that the worms act as little recyclers by eating the fungus, bacteria and mold on the waste. They leave behind nutrient-rich compost, which can be used for potting soil and as fertilizer in gardens.

The project reflects the district's third-grade science curriculum. Students are studying about the Earth's composition and they are learning about the composition and properties of soils.

Third-graders (from left) Amanda DelVecchio, Kayla Coffey, Calab Voorhees and Anthony Calabria check on the worms in their classroom's composting bin. The McNamara students and their classmates feed the worms about twice a week.

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