Eighth graders at North Hills Christian School are put to the test against live worms – Reuters
SALISBURY — Sounds of horrified students came from the science lab at North Hills Christian School last week, but that was simply because earthworms were part of the classroom.
Fish bait is what people think of when they look at worms. They’re small, slimy, and seemingly oblivious to what’s going on around them. Grade 7 and 8 science teacher Ashley Grubb said the curious creatures are more than you might expect.
“In this crazy busy world, you have to stop and notice the little things,” Grubb said. “It’s important to stop and really observe and appreciate the beauty of what God has created, even the worms.”
Grubb was inspired by a worm dissection experiment described in the class science textbook. This is the second year that she has used a creative educational tool to learn more about the nervous system. The test subjects came from Village Grocery in Salisbury.
The theory given for the experiment was to test whether or not worms have nerve endings. Grubb’s teaching method is hands-on and his students have to test their hypothesis themselves.
The class was given eight tasks to complete in their lab notebook, ranging from lightly holding the worms to gently poking them and weighing them down with pencils.
“Some lines slipped in with the pencil still on it,” Grubb explained. “We were quite surprised at how strong they are. Other lines would coil around the pencil like a snake.
Some worms wanted nothing to do with pencils and avoided them.
After the initial shock and disgust at the thought of touching worms, the students were split on whether or not their test subjects could feel.
“I was very surprised by the activity of the worm. It constantly crawled off the plate,” said student Eden Hager.
The students also held verses to the light.
“I thought the worm would change color in the light,” Hager said. “The worm moved away from the light to protect itself.”
The last step of the lab asked the question: what if you had to cut the worm in half?
Grubb used this to show students that worms reproduce asexually, which means that worms cut in half regenerate to form an entirely different worm.
The students warmed up to the worms at the end of the lab as the dramatic reactions of the worms were startling. In addition to learning about the nervous system, the eighth grade class learned to appreciate the things we look beyond every day.
When the class finished their experiment, they released the tiny creatures into the grassy area behind the school where they could live freely. The lab results showed the students that worms have nerve endings much like humans, despite being invertebrates.