Theme: Curious Crawlers

Worms and Slugs


Objective: Children will compare and contrast worms and slugs, then compare them to insects.

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What You Will Need

  • Magnifying glasses – 1 per child
  • Clear containers with worms – 1 per 2 children (see Lesson Tips)
  • Chart paper
  • Clear containers with slugs – 1 per 2 children (see Lesson Tips)
  • Paper plates – 1 per 2 children
  • Marker

What To Do

Note: This lesson is best taught after the lesson, Is It an Insect?

  1. Divide the chart paper into two columns labeled “worms and slugs” on one side and “insects” on the other. Ask the children what they already know about insects, and write it on the chart.
  2. Display the containers with the worms and the slugs so the children can see them. Tell the children they will be examining these creatures to tell how they are the same and different from insects.
  3. Distribute magnifying glasses to the children.
  4. Place worms on paper plates – 1 per plate. Tell the children to use their magnifying glasses to look closely at the worms.
  5. Probe their thinking by asking questions about the worms (see Guiding Student Inquiry). Accept all of the children’s answers, and write or draw them on the chart paper.
  6. Place slugs on paper plates, and have the children use their magnifying glasses to look closely at them.
  7. Ask them questions about the slugs similar to the questions about worms. Accept all of the children’s answers, and write or draw them on the chart paper.
  8. With the children, compare what you wrote about the worms and slugs, and ask the children what is the same and different about them (see Did You Know?).
  9. Referring back to your chart, have the children compare the worms and slugs to insects (see Guiding Student Inquiry and Did You Know?).

Guiding Student Inquiry

  • Describe the worms and the slugs.
  • Describe how they are alike/different.
  • Tell me how they move.
  • Tell me where their eyes/mouths are.
  • Explain how you know they are not insects.
  • Have you ever seen a worm or a slug?
  • Tell me where you can find worms or slugs.
  • Explain how worms and slugs are the same as/different from insects.

Explore, Extend & Integrate

  • Put the worms and slugs in a small, clear aquarium filled with dirt. Spray with water to keep the soil moist. Add fresh plants, dried leaves, twigs, and branches to the container. Place the aquarium in your classroom for the children to continue observing the worms and slugs for a few days. Release the worms and slugs to the outdoors when you are finished examining them.

Check for Children’s Understanding

  • Was each child able to tell why worms and slugs are not insects?
  • Could children describe the similarities between worms, slugs, and insects?
  • Could children describe the differences between worms, slugs, and insects?

Did You Know?

Worms and slugs are not insects. Insects have six legs, two antennae, and an exoskeleton. Worms and slugs have soft bodies, do not have arms or legs, and move by crawling. Worms crawl by stretching and contracting the strong muscles in their bodies. Slugs have a single muscular foot. The foot moves the slug in a wavelike motion, gliding along the surface. Slugs leave a trail of slime along their path to help the slug glide smoothly. Worms do not have any eyes or antennae. Slugs have eyes and two sets of tentacles. One set of tentacles is for feeling. Their eyes are at the tips of the other set of tentacles. 

Worms and slugs both live in the ground. They both like moist places. Slugs can live under rocks or logs. Worms live in the soil. Worms are helpful to a garden because they eat dead and decaying plant roots and leaves. Slugs, however, are harmful in the garden because they eat plants. Worms do not have a tongue or any teeth. Slugs have a tongue-like ribbon holding hundreds of tiny teeth.

Did You Know?

Worms and slugs are not insects. Insects have six legs, two antennae, and an exoskeleton. Worms and slugs have soft bodies, do not have arms or legs, and move by crawling. Worms crawl by stretching and contracting the strong muscles in their bodies. Slugs have a single muscular foot. The foot moves the slug in a wavelike motion, gliding along the surface. Slugs leave a trail of slime along their path to help the slug glide smoothly. Worms do not have any eyes or antennae. Slugs have eyes and two sets of tentacles. One set of tentacles is for feeling. Their eyes are at the tips of the other set of tentacles.

Learn More

Vocabulary

  • worm – an animal with a long, thin, round, or flat body with no legs.
  • slug – a small land animal with a soft body and two tentacles with eyes.
  • insect – a small animal with three body parts, two antennae, six legs, and a hard covering over its body.
  • examine – to look at in a close, thorough way.
  • creature – a living animal.
  • crawl – to move along the ground.

Vocabulary

  • worm
  • slug
  • insect
  • examine
  • creature
  • crawl

Child-Friendly Definitions

Lesson Tips

  • Some children may not be comfortable with worms and slugs on the paper plates. If this is the case, take the lids off the containers, and let the children observe the worms and slugs in their containers.
  • If you have a worm farm in your classroom, you can let the children make their observations while leaving the worms in the container.
  • Try to dig up some worms and slugs in your garden or at a park. When you are finished comparing the worms and slugs, take them back outside and release them.

Books

  • Wonderful Worms by Linda Glaser
  • Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
  • Some Smug Slug by Pamela Duncan Edwards
  • Under One Rock: Bugs, Slugs, and Other Ughs by Anthony D. Fredericks

Common Core State
Standards Initiative

These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.[2]

Visit the CCSS website

Important Legal Disclosures & Information

  1. While we believe that the books and resources recommended may be of value to you, keep in mind that these are suggestions only and you must do your own due diligence to determine whether the materials are appropriate and suitable for your use. PNC has no sponsorship or endorsement agreement with the authors or publishers of the materials listed. 

  2. There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.