Model of a Red Wiggler Worm

Worm model for school

I love composting with red wiggler worms. I started many years ago and have brought them with me when I moved. I’ve given away more than 20 worm bins to kids and adults. When I bring worms in to school, they quickly captivate even the most squeamish. It’s fun to show children how a red wiggler works.

Worm model for schoolI made this model out of a pool noodle! First I scored rings along the entire worm with a serrated knife to resemble segments. Then I sprayed adhesive over the entire noodle and wrapped it in one layer of red plastic (cheap tablecloth). Once I pressed all the plastic down I cut out areas to show the insides. Sheets of craft foam made for some interesting guts.

Parts of the Red Worm Model (Eisenia fetida)

MOUTH (proboscis): Make a hole in the front so you can simulate how food will be eaten. It’s a tiny mouth that operates like an elephant’s trunk and is technically named the same, a proboscis.

HEARTS (aortic arches): A red wiggler has 5 “hearts”. Cut foam hearts out and glue inside the first main cavity.

REPRODUCTIVE ORGANS: Add some other shapes to represent two organs.

CROP: This is where the food is held before it gets ground into mus, somewhat like a stomach.

GIZZARD: This part of the worm helps grind up the food. It uses gritty stuff fro the soil to smash up the materials. Connect it to the crop.

INTESTINES: This would be the third cavity right before the “cocoon maker”, the thick area in the middle. Fold foam like an accordion to depict intestines.

COCOON MAKER (Clittelum): Fold a strip of the plastic tablecloth and wrap it around a few times to widen this section. This is where the adult worm releases the cocoons through a stream of mucuos. It is more toward the front of the worm. Baby worms will not have this feature.

INTESTINES, AGAIN: Make another cavity toward the end that shows another view of the intestines that stretch through the worm.

TUSHY: OK, we know what this is. This is where the worm castings exit the worm. I like to use raisins to simulate! YEP!!!

There are more areas you could add but I like to keep it simple. For more detail consider:

PHARYNX: Pushes food down into the digestive system.

CEREBRAL GANGLION: Nerves that serve the brain.

ESOPHAGUS: Connects the pharynx with the crop.

BLOOD VESSELS – DORSAL AND VENTRAL: These are like tubes that carry blood to the front and back of the worm.

BRISTLES OR SETAE: Tiny hairs all over the body that help the worm feel around and get where they need to go.