Easy Earthworm Science Experiment

Yesterday, I shared some easy backyard earthworm experiments. Today I have a few more earthworm science experiments for you. These experiments can be conducted inside or outside. If you can’t find any worms in your backyard (see yesterday’s post for some tips), you can go to your local bait shop and grab some there.

Earthworm Science Experiment - Set up an easy experiment to test the preferences of earthworms. Several experiment ideas are listed.

Earthworm Science Experiment

This is a typical earthworm experiment you might find in a science class (preschool all the way to high school). It’s a great beginning experiment to work on science skills – asking questions, making predictions (and hypotheses), making observations, collecting data, and drawing conclusions. Here’s what you’ll need to get started.


  • shoe box sized container (plastic or cardboard is fine)
  • paper towels
  • water
  • earthworms (you can do the experiment with just one, but I suggest using at least 5 to get better results)

We are testing preferences of the earthworm. You can let your child design this experiment. Here are some sample ideas:

  • Do earthworms prefer wet or dry conditions?
  • Do earthworms prefer the dark or the light?
  • Do earthworms prefer different colors of light? (Change the light color by placing colored transparencies, colored acetate, or colored plastic wrap between the earthworm habitat and the light source.)
  • Do earthworms prefer different surface types? Surface ideas: paper towel, cloth, soil, sandpaper, grass, rocks, etc.
  • Do earthworms prefer certain soil/food types? (Test plain soil vs. soil and grass mixture.) For this one, you’ll want a larger bin. Check out the experiment set up and results at this Earthworm Food Preference site.

Aiden wanted to test if earthworms prefer wet or dry conditions. He predicted the earthworms will prefer wet. This is how we set up the experiment.

Earthworm Science Experiment

  1. Place a dry paper towel so it covers one side of a shoe box sized plastic container.
  2. Place a wet paper towel so it covers the other half of the container. (The wet paper towel and the dry paper towel should touch in the middle of the container.)
  3. Add earthworms to the middle of the container so they are touching both paper towels.
  4. Observe the earthworms. Are they moving to one side or the other?
  5. Place the lid on top of the container and wait.
  6. After 10-20 minutes, check on your earthworms. Where are they – on the wet paper towel or on the dry? Is there anything else that you notice about them?

Earthworm Science Experiment

All of our earthworms moved to the wet paper towel.

Earthworm Science Experiment

Two of them were even under the paper towel.

I asked Aiden why the earthworms moved to the wet paper towel and why two were under. He said they needed water like in the soil. And they liked the dark like under ground. (We’ve been reading a lot of books about earthworms lately.)

You can set up the other preference experiments in a similar manner to ours. Have fun!

More Experiments to Try

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