Life in the Dirt – Puppet Show

Worm Wonderings

Characters: Woggle Worm, Wiggle Worm, Dandelion, Cicada, Mole

Woggle Worm Is that you, Wiggle?

Wiggle Worm  Hi, Woggle! It’s been a while since we’ve seen each other. What have you been up to?

Woggle  You mean down to. I’ve just been enjoying the dirt. And now that we’ve gotten some rain, it’s so easy to get around!

Wiggle  And easy to breathe. When you breathe through your skin, the way we worms do, you need to stay damp.

Woggle  That’s right. We need air and water. Those are two ingredients of soil, but I thought there were four. Do you remember the other two?

Wiggle  Um, no… but I remember I’m hungry! I’m going to eat some dirt. It’s so good with all those gritty bits of rocks in it…

Woggle  Rocks! That’s the third ingredient of soil! Wiggle, how could we forget that soil is made of rocks worn down into tiny bits?

Wiggle  Oh, yeah, bits of rock – the mineral part of soil. That’s number three.

Woggle  There’s just one more. Let’s see…air, water, minerals…air, water, minerals… Oh, I give up. It’s hard to remember anything with a worm brain! Let’s go eat. I’m so hungry I could eat my weight in dirt right now!

Wiggle  You must be hungry, because that’s how much we usually eat in three days!

Woggle             Maybe my eyes are a little bigger than my stomach, er, I mean my gizzard.

Wiggle  Woggle – we don’t have any eyes. Remember?

Woggle             Oh, yeah, I forgot… But we can sense light with our skin.

Wiggle…and it’s getting light out, so we’d better eat our way underground. Bye, Woggle.

Woggle             Bye, Wiggle. (both exit, Woggle re-enters) How nice to be in the dirt with a gizzard full of worm food.

Dandelion  It’s just dandy here for me, too.

Woggle             A talking root? Is that you, Dandelion?

Dandelion  Why yes, it’s me, and I’m not lion!

Woggle             You plants look so different underground.

Dandelion  Of course! Our leaves grow above ground where they can catch the sun, but our roots are down here so they can get water and minerals from the soil.

Woggle              Through your roots? We worms get water and minerals by eating the soil.

Dandelion  Good thing, too! Your tunnels make spaces for air and water in the dirt.

Woggle             Air, water, minerals…

Dandelion  And they make it easier for roots to grow. Hey, you don’t eat roots, do you?

Woggle             Nope! At least, not while they’re living. We like dead roots and leaves.

Dandelion  Then you’re a decomposer.

Woggle              A de-composer? I composed a song once…is that what you mean?

Dandelion  (chuckles) Not quite! Compose means putting something together. Decompose means breaking things apart – like when you grind up dead leaves in your gizzard.

Woggle             We worms do a lot of that. If we didn’t, all the dead things would just pile up. Luckily, we have lots of help decomposing – from millipedes, bacteria, fungi…

Dandelion  That’s right! All you decomposers break stuff down into little bits. It’s important work. I’d better get to work too, storing food in my roots for next year. Bye, Woggle. (exits)

Woggle             Bye, Dandy. Oh wait! I forgot to ask about the fourth ingredient of soil. (rustling  noise) Uh oh, something’s coming!  Might be a worm-eater!

Wiggle  PSSST! Woggle!

Woggle  Phew! It’s just you, Wiggle!

Wiggle              Yes, but I think there is a predator coming. Could be a mole! Let’s get out of here!

Woggle             Just let me eat up this dead leaf.

Wiggle              Woggle! Get a wiggle on! Leave that old leaf, or you’ll never eat another! Let’s go! (exits, cicada enters)

Woggle              Uh-oh! Too late!

Cicada  I’m n-nobody –  nobody you want to eat!

Woggle  Huh! You don’t seem like a predator. Do you eat worms – or dead leaves?

Cicada  No, I don’t eat animals, or dead things either – yuck. I’m a plant-eater. I drink sap from the roots of trees. Mm-mm, root beer!

Woggle  Are you a kind of an insect?

Cicada  Sure! I’m a young cicada. Someday I’ll have wings, and I’ll sing from the treetops.

Woggle             If you don’t get eaten by a mole!

Cicada  Oh dear, is there a mole?

Woggle  Shh! Something’s coming! Quick, follow me! (both exit)

Mole    (enters, singing or chanting)

Oh, worms for breakfast! Worms for lunch!
They’re slimy and gritty and not very pretty
Yet how we moles love them

To munch and to crunch!

Must tunnel down for some tasty little animals to eat! (exits, re-enters) Mm-mm, slimy snail eggs, crunchy millipedes, chubby grubs –delicious! Now for a squishy worm! Perhaps a little farther down…(exits; worms reappear)

Woggle              The mole! That was scary!

Wiggle  We came close to being guaca-mole-y!

Woggle              Well, we’re safe for now. You know, Wiggle, our soil is home to plant-eaters, meat-eaters, and decomposers like us. And everyone’s looking for something to eat! Hey, it’s time for our lunch! Let’s tunnel up and find a dead leaf.

Wiggle  That’ll be easy – this soil has plenty of spaces for air and water and worm travel.

Woggle  And gritty minerals to help us digest, and lots of dead leaves and plant parts to eat.

Wiggle  That’s it! The fourth ingredient of soil! Woggle, you’re a genius!

Woggle              You mean the dead leaves and stuff that falls on the ground? The organic matter? That’s the part we like to eat!

Wiggle  Yeah! It’s the part that helps hold water and feed the plants and the tiny creatures in soil. How could we forget?

Woggle  Air, water, minerals, and organic matter – the dead stuff that falls on the ground.

Wiggle  You know, the soil’s a lovely home for worms…even if it does have a mole in it.

Woggle  Well, one mole, mole or less, it’s still home sweet home! Let’s go decompose some leaves, Wiggle.

THE END

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