Will the Worm Lesson Plan – Year one
Lesson objectives taken from the pod website
►► to learn what compost is and how it is made
►► to make a mini compost bin
►► to create a compost-themed collage
►► to explain the role of worms in making compost
Resources and preparation partly copied from the pod website
Fruit leftovers from snacktime
Any vegetable peelings and leftovers from the kitchen
A box of tea bags
A roll of kitchen paper
A newspaper
A bag of leaves/twigs
One small box per group
A3 pieces of paper (one per group)
Pictures of compost and of brandling worms
Glue, scissors, pens, coloured pencils and paper
A grow bag with window for access to compost
A willow edging for the compost garden
Digging equipment
Pencils, clipboards and bug hunt sheets
Start by giving every child a piece of fruit to eat. Ask them to keep any waste (apple cores,
banana skins, orange peel). While the children are eating I will show them the powerpoint
presentation from the pod that shows them why it is important to look after the environment. I
will introduce and explain the word BIODIVERSITY. We will also look at some pictures of
compost on the internet. Do they know what it is? What do they think it is made from?
What might it smell like? What is it for?
Activity 1
Introduce Will the worm and friends and read the story.
Explain that we are going to make our own mini compost bin. A compost bin is a place where you can
recycle rubbish that will rot. Can Children give examples of what types of rubbish this might be?
Vegetable peelings, grass cuttings and old plants are perfect for a compost bin. So are
newspapers, egg boxes and fallen leaves. The first job will be to go outdoors and see if we can
collect any twigs, leaves, dead plants and grass to use in our bins. Split the class into groups of
four or five. Give each group a box. Explain that they are going to layer the box with waste just
like a compost bin. Each group will need:
• a handful of tea bags
• a handful of leaves/twigs
• one sheet of kitchen roll
• the waste from their fruit snack
• one sheet of newspaper
Start by asking children to put half of their leaves/twigs in the bottom of the shoe box. Follow
this with a layer of ripped up newspaper. Next add the fruit waste, a layer of ripped up kitchen
roll, a layer of tea bags and then the remaining leaves/twigs. Demonstrate each stage of the
process so that the groups can follow your lead. Explain that if children were to leave their
compost bins outside, all the waste would gradually rot and turn into compost. Compost can be put
back into the ground to help plants grow.
Activity 2
Together as a class we are going to make a mini compost bin which we will put near the bug hotel
outdoors. (One class will put theirs in the KS1 area and the other will put theirs in the Foundation
Stage area. We will follow the same procedure as the group bins and add the fruit leftovers. We
are actually going to use a potato grow bag as our compost bin and as we put it near the bug hotel
the children will surround it and the hotel with willow edging. Finally we will pop in a minibeast sign
to welcome any visitors. From time to time over the next few weeks we will open the window of
our bin and remove some ripe compost and add it to the bug hotel. We will use our clipboards and
bug hunt worksheets to record any minibeasts we see, especially any worms, while we work.
Activity 3
In their groups, children are now going to use the contents of their first compost bins to create a
compost bin collage. They should glue all the bits and pieces to a large piece of paper with the title
“Our Compost Bin” at the top.
N.B. The fruit waste will be replaced with drawings of apple cores, banana skins etc.
Activity 4
Compost bins quickly become home to many insects. Can children suggest any? Have they recorded
any insects on the bug sheet? Snails, slugs, earwigs, woodlice, beetles and spiders are all good
suggestions. Refer back to the story of Will the Worm. Red, stripy worms that appear in compost
bins are known as brandlings or tiger worms. They are special worms that eat only rotting matter.
Show Children what they look like using the images from the internet. Discuss their appearance.
Worms are important because they help mix the compost and their tunnels bring air into the
compost bin allowing the compost to “breathe”. Ask the children to draw pictures of the
brandlings, cut them out and add them to their compost bin collages. They can add a sentence that
says: “Worms help make the compost.”
Groups share their collages with the rest of the class. Ask for volunteers to complete the
sentence: “Compost is made of rubbish but it is important because…”.
Ask for volunteers to write the sentences down to display with the collages. Read Will’s story
again and look forward to his visit!