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s. p. in. re. i. INnovation in. Science. Pursuit for. REsearch. Inspired. inspire INnovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired REsearch. inspire – 2012 - 2013. Department of School Education, O/o. District Educational Officer, Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Nellore District. WELCOMES U ALL.

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INnovation in

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Innovation in






INnovation in


Pursuit for



inspireINnovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired REsearch

Inspire 2012 2013

inspire – 2012 - 2013

Department of School Education,

O/o. District Educational Officer,

Sri Potti Sri Ramulu Nellore District.

Innovation in




Innovation in


Innovation in


Earthworms: Nature's Tiller?


Abstract :

Everybody knows that worms are good for the soil, but not everybody knows why. Here's an idea for measuring how efficiently earthworms turn over organic surface material into the soil.


Objective :

The objective of this project is to determine the effect of earthworm density (number of worms per unit volume of soil) on decomposition or reduction of surface residues.


Introduction :

  • Earthworms act as natures plow by incorporating surface plant material into the soil. They play a major role in maintaining soil fertility by recycling nutrients from the surface residues and soil structure by providing glue that holds soil particles together. Does the number of worms in the soil affect how fast surface plant material will be incorporated into the soil?

Terms concepts and questions to start background research

Terms, Concepts, and Questions to Start Background Research :

  • In order to conduct this experiment, you should have a solid understanding of earthworms, how they live, what they eat, and the ideal environment for worms.

  • You also should probably read about earthworms and composting as this will help you understand the process of digesting organic matter.

Materials and equipment

Materials and Equipment :

  • Ten inch diameter clay or plastic pots

  • Top soil (available from landscaping companies)

  • Earthworms (night crawlers available from bait shops)

  • Grass clippings (available from municipal parks and recreation departments)

  • Metric ruler

  • Kitchen measuring cup

Experimental procedure

Experimental Procedure :

  • Eartworm treatments:

    • 0 worms per pot

    • 10 worms per pot

    • 20 worms per pot

    • 50 worms per pot

    • 100 worms per pot

  • Five pots per treatment

Experimental procedure1

Experimental Procedure :

  • Place the same volume of soil in each pot (there should be 2 inches from the soil surface to the rim of the pot).

  • If the soil is dry (does not form a ball when squeezed in your hand) put tap water (one cup at a time) slowly over the potting soil surface until water drains from the pot. Allow the pot to drain for 2 hours before adding worms.

  • Place the required number of worms per pot and allow them to work down into the potting soil.

  • Place 2 cups of grass clippings uniformly over the surface of the potting soil in each pot

  • Each week measure the depth of the grass clippings in each pot and record your findings.


Variations :

  • There are many different types of worms. Does the type of earthworm used make a difference in the amount of material that is decomposed?

  • What are the ideal conditions for encouraging earthworms to eat? How does the amount of light, water, heat change the speed with which earthworms decompose organic matter?


Bibliography :

  • Following are some articles on earthworms:

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