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Stimulus and Response: Investigating Nerves Using Live Worms

How can an animal without eyes or a nose respond to smells and light? What is the stimulus in this experiment and what is the response? In this activity students investigate using live worms and a variety of stimuli to see how they respond.


Questions Answered:

  • How do worms respond to chemical stimuli? 
  • How do worms respond to light? 
  • How do worms respond to darkness?


Topics Addressed:

  • Worms' nervous systems respond to stimuli 
  • Worms respond to light stimuli 
  • Worms respond to chemical stimuli 


Materials Needed

live worms, moist soil, tray, vinegar, flashlight, cotton swabs, cardboard


Preparation Time

purchase or collect worms


Teaching Time 

About 20–30 minutes, longer with included writing assignment


Answer Key

Yes! Plus extensive teacher notes address the many questions that come up. You shouldn’t have to do outside research on this topic unless you want to. Specific charts and graphic organizers have keys. 


Target Audience

Middle School Students, Ages 11-14


Student Sheets

  • Scaffolded writing prompts & lab reporting 
  • Diagrams for labeling

Stimulus and Response: Investigating Nerves Using Live Worms


    Answer Keys and Teacher Notes address most questions and issues that might arise in this study—you shouldn’t have to do any outside research unless you want to.

    Connect with me: If you have questions or problems, please let me know and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


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