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Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner: Meet the Darkling Beetle/Meal Worm: Meal Worm Activity  
About this Daily Classroom Special
Critter Corner allows teachers and students to learn and share experiences about organisms that can be kept in the classroom. Critter Corner is maintained by Judith Jones, teacher at East Chapel Hill High School (NC) and Teachers Network web mentor. E-mail Judith. Make sure to visit Judy's other Daily Classroom Special, The Time Travel Interviews with Famous Scientists

To the Critter Corner Directory.

Meal Worm Activity

Here's a meal worm activity inspired by an e-mail.

Dear Ms. Jones,

My name is Sebastien B., and I'm a Gr. 6 student at St. Dominic school. Me and my friend Chris M. are doing a project for a science fair at school. Our subject is 'The Behavior of Meal Worm.' We are having a little trouble figuring out what tests/info we could use to impress our Science teacher, Mr. B. Could you send me some more info and/or test ideas?

Sincerely, Chris & Seb

Dear Chris & Seb,

I have an interesting behavior activity that I use with my biology students. I use sow bugs (pill bugs or roly polys), but it might be interesting to see what happens when you use meal worms. It might be even more interesting to see if the behavior of the meal worms is different from the behavior of the mature adult beetle.


Here is the activity:

Take a petri dish (plastic is OK) and cut out a piece of filter paper or paper towel to fit the bottom of the petri dish. Cut the paper into four equal pie shaped pieces and cut them down a little so that they don't touch when they are in the petri dish. Then soak each piece of paper with a different liquid (vinegar, salt water, sugar solution, are some possibilities; you might want to use water for a control). Put a few meal worms (about 4) in the center. Then every 15 seconds or so record where the mealworms are. You can do this for 5-10 minutes. When you analyze your data you are looking to see if the meal worms prefer one of the solutions more than the others and if there is a solution that they clearly avoid.

You can also design a similar test to see if the meal worms or beetles prefer dark or light by covering up half of the petri dish with black paper and recording where the meal worms/beetles spend most of their time.

I hope this helps. Good luck on your project!

Judy Jones

Make sure to look for a complete chronicle of Chris & Seb's Science Fair Adventure.


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