Shouts of “cool,” “eww” and “I want to touch it” were heard Tuesday in Angela Asaro’s second-grade classroom. The kids at Stamford’s Stillmeadow Elementary School were reacting to a hissing cockroach, earthworms, a spotted salamander and other residents of the “Rotting Log Hotel.”

The crawly critters’ visit was part of the Science of Soil Program the Stamford Museum & Nature Center provides to school children. Lisa Monachelli, senior environmental educator at the nature center, accompanied the creatures to teach the children about soil as a supplement to their science curriculum.

“They think of dirt as something underneath their feet, they don’t realize it’s living,” Monachelli said, explaining soil’s role in sustaining plant and animal life.

Monachelli ran the program in two parts. The first was in the classroom, where she taught about different types of soils and how they relate to animals and plants. Then she took the children out to one of the courtyards, where she had samples of the different soils so the students could feel the qualities of each.

The Science of Soil Program is making the rounds of  several Stamford schools.

Do your children have any unusual visitors at their school? Tell us about them below or email reporter Anthony Buzzeo at .