Science Experiment: Mealworms!

Eva and Madelyn showing off their mealworms!

Third-graders study many different areas in science, but life science is one of their favorites. In our life science unit, the students explored animal grouping, life cycles and adaptations. Our science textbook included a study of animal life cycles by looking at frogs and monarch butterflies. The students only read about them and looked at photographs; for a fun hands-on experiment, each student got a mealworm so that they could see a life cycle in action. The mealworm is really the larva stage of a black mealworm beetle. Students had fun experimenting with their mealworms and then watching them go through two life stages: pupa and adult. After the four-week lesson, a few students chose to write a paragraph about what they learned. Here are two great articles written by my third-graders. – Kristen Thomas, Westerly School

Mealworm Life Cycle

by Madelyn Hughes and Eva Maile

Our third-grade class at Westerly School has been studying mealworms and its life cycle. We already knew about a butterfly's life cycle but not a mealworm's so this was new to us! We learned a mealworm turns from an egg to a larva. Then it turns into a pupa. The last life cycle stage is a beetle. In the wild, mealworms are hard to see.

Our first week during the experiment, our class had 23 larvae. We kept the larvae in small containers with a small amount of oatmeal. The mealworms were small but such a handful. First, you had to watch your mealworm all the time when it was out of the container. Mealworms are really fast! Second, you don't have to feed them a lot. Some larvae ate potatoes but others were not interested. Third, you can't put water in the oatmeal or the oatmeal will get moldy and your mealworm might die.

By the third week, 11 larvae turned to pupas! The pupas looked white with some brown. Sometimes they would wiggle so we knew it was still alive. We had to wait until the fourth week before some pupas  turned to beetles! The beetles are fast but they don’t fly. It turns dark brown or black. That’s all about our mealworms.

Mealworm Experiments

by Scarlett Coleman and Claire Edelman

On Sept. 4, Westerly School got mealworms! Actually, Mrs. Thomas, our teacher, brought in mealworms that she bought at the pet store. We got the mealworms to observe and experiment with them.

First, we added a drop of water on them using an eye dropper. Both of our mealworms drank the water. Some of our classmates' mealworms moved its front part of the body up and down to get the water off.  Then for our next experiment, we blew on them. One of our mealworms stayed still while the other one moved. The last experiment was to tap on the desk. One mealworm looked up and the other did nothing.

We also were given index cards and paper clips. One mealworm went down a ramp built from the index card. The mealworms also slept under a little tent made out of the index card. The other mealworm climbed up  the paperclip.

They were larvae for a couple weeks then after that, they turned into pupas. By the fourth week, some of them turned into beetles. We enjoyed having them at school and some students got to take them home.

Kristen Thomas

Third Grade teacher at Westerly.

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Volume 11, Issue 20, Posted 9:26 AM, 10.15.2019