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Mealworms


Last Updated     9/29/2009     9/24/2008      9/17/2008      9/15/2008

Created      9/14/2008

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Teacher Resources     Student Extra Credit


Day 1
Topic Meet the Mealworm
Objectives/ I can
Prepare a mealworm culture.
Discuss the humane treatment of mealworms.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Parent Letter Teachers Guide page 10

How to Raise Mealworms  5:12

Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) CARE OF THE MEALWORMS #1
Species
The yellow mealworm (Tenebrio molitor)
The dark mealworm (Tenebrio obscurus)
Both are very similar in appearance.
The adults are large beetles, 12-15mm in length.
The adult of T. molitor is dark shiny brown to black.
T. obscurus is a dull black.
The larvae resemble wireworms.

Moisture

Provide  slices of apple, potato, or carrots to provide fluids for the mealworms.
Mealworms lay their eggs on them.
Collect the eggs and save them when starting a new colony.

Feeding
Use any of the following mixtures:

  • Wheat bran
  • One part pulverized dry cat or dog chow + 3 parts wheat bran
  • Quaker oats + 1/2 cup bone meal powder + 1/4 cup multivitamin powder

Cover food and mealworms with 2-3 layers of moistened burlap.
Sprinkle with water once weekly to maintain moisture level in colony.
Burlap also simplifies collecting mealworms.
The larvae will gather between the burlap layers.

Temperature
Mealworms thrive in a warm (80-90 degrees F) environment.

Clean Up
Over time, a build-up of powdery residue will appear in the container.
This residue, called frass, consists of mealworm wastes and eggs.
Sift this out once a month using a colander, window screen, or tea strainer.
Keep frass in a separate container and add bran and potato slices.
The eggs will hatch in about one month.

Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) Humane Treatment of Mealworms Rules
1. Handle your mealworms with care.
2. Keep chemicals and other harmful substances away from mealworms.
3. Provide the mealworm with proper food and shelter.

Certificate of Adoption
Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Meet the Creatures  Student Activity Guide page 2
Scientific Name Tenebrio molitor

  • Each student prepares a habitat for a mealworm in a small plastic condiment cup.
  • They use a pushpin to make air holes in the plastic lid. See the attached photo.
  • Using a fine point permanent marker students write their name on the bottom of the cup.
  • Add one-quarter inch of bran meal in the cup and a thin slice of apple or carrot.
  • Students pick their own mealworm.
  • Using a hand magnifying lens or a microscope, students observe the mealworm. See the attached photo.
  • They look for eyes, legs, and at the body segments.
  • Next, the mealworm is laid in the cup.
  • Then the lid is put on the cup and it is placed in an area out of direct sunlight.
  • The student lists and describes how they made the mealworm’s home.
  • Students observe the mealworm in its habitat each day and look for any changes.
  • Daily entries are made in their science journals.
  • They write about how the mealworm looks, moves, and feels to the touch.
  • Each stage of the mealworm’s marvelous metamorphosis is documented, drawn and labeled.
  • Students share daily their observations of the mealworm.
  • A time line is kept as the changes occur.
  • Not all of the mealworm/beetle population will successfully go through a complete metamorphosis.
  • When a student’s mealworm dies have student can select a new mealworm to replace the one they lost.
  • It is important to add this death the next time data is collected.

crayon0a.gif (328 bytes) Mealworm Coloring Identification
Color each mealworm as closely as you can.
Choose a name for each of your mealworms.

Computer.gif (1114 bytes) Mealworm Raising

Resources
BookOpen.bmp (16686 bytes) Meet the Creatures Teachers Guide
Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Meet the Creatures  Student Activity Guide

 

Day 2
Topic Meet the Mealworms
Objectives/ I can
Observe and identify the parts of the mealworm,
Correctly label the body parts of a mealworm.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes MEET THE MEALWORMS #2
The Naked Eye
Use a plastic spoon to gently pick up a mealworm.
Hold the mealworm in your hand.
If you drop a mealworm use an index card and gently "whistle" it back on the card.
Observe the parts of the mealworm.
Check off on the chart what parts of the mealworm they observe with the naked eye.
Use a magnifying glass to find the same parts.
Check off on the chart what you see.
Make any notes of mealworm behavior in the last column of the chart.
Return the mealworm to its habitat.

Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) Discussion Questions
Are there hairs on the mealworm?
If so, where are they located?
How many segments can you count?
Does the mealworm have eyes?
Do all mealworms look alike?
How many legs does a mealworm have?
Where do the legs come out of?
How do their legs move?  Is there a pattern?
Do the turn right or left the most?

Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Mealworm Diagram
Label the parts of the Mealworm Diagram Student Activity Book page 4.

Note02.gif (247 bytes) Mealworm Diagram

Resources

 

Day 3
Topic Life Cycle of the Grain Beetle
Objectives/ I can
Identify and place in the correct order the four stages of growth of the grain beetle.
Explain the importance of each stage.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) LIFE CYCLE #3
Note02.gif (247 bytes) Life Cycle

Mealworm Morphing to Pupa  6:45
Mealworm Pupa  1:28
Mealworm Pupa Morphing Into a Beetle 7:47
Mealworm Pupa Emerges as Adult Timelapse  :15

Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Life Cycle of a Grain Beetle Student Activity Book page 5
Name each stage and explain it.

Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes Mealworm Population Sheet Student Activity Book page 6
Record number of Larva, Pupa, and Adults weekly.

  • Sort and count all of the live larvae, pupae, adults and any dead found in the population.
  • Record information on tally sheet.
  • Share data with teacher
  • Teacher will record data on class chart.
  • Each student copies class data on their own tally sheet.
  • Add the totals for all groups.
  • Create a bar graph of larvae, pupae, adults, and dead
  • Have two students make an enlarged version.
  • Repeat every 2 weeks.

Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Life Stage Line Graph Student Activity Book page 7
Create a line graph for the population of each stage,

Resources


Day 4
Topic Mazes and Mealworms
Objectives/ I can
Measure and construct a maze.
Make detailed observations of the mealworm's maze behavior.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
MAZES AND MEALWORMS #4 Student Activity guide page 8-9
crayon0a.gif (328 bytes) Use the maze diagram to create the maze base and walls out of white construction paper.
I am going to try this using centimeter blocks and have the kids build mazes.
Books could act as a roof to add darkness.

SciMealwormMaze.bmp (192150 bytes)

Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Answer questions on page 8-9

Resources
Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes A-Mazing Mealworms

 

Day 5
Topic Writing Experiments & Color Preference
Objectives/ I can
Identify the variables and constants of experiments.
Explain the importance of having only one variable in an experiment.
Identify the parts of an experiment.
Investigate the mealworm's sense of smell.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
WRITING EXPERIMENTS #5
Darkling Beetle Snacks on a Bee  3:42
Beetle Eating Strawberry  :15

Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) Mealworm Observations 
Record student observations of mealworms.
Explain two kinds of variables: independent and dependent variable.

Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) SCENARIOS Student Activity guide page 10-11
Read each scenario
Have students identify the independent variable, dependent variable and the constants.

Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes BACKING UP Student Activity guide page 12-14
Use alcohol, vinegar, ammonia, water to investigate mealworm's sense of smell
Note02.gif (247 bytes) Teachers Guide 21-22

Resources

 

Day 6 
Topic Procedures
Objectives/ I can
Develop a procedure for an experiment
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
PROCEDURES #8
Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) Have students reread what they did for the Backing Up

Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Procedure Student Activity Guide page 18
With a partner have them write a procedure for the experiment backing up.

Resources

 

Day 7
Topic Writing Your Own experiment
Objectives/ I can
Write my own scientific experiment.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
Writing Your Own Experiment
Lecture.gif (2227 bytes) Identify independent and dependent variables from Color and Backing Up

filmstrip.gif (6075 bytes) Mealworm Experiment Slideshow Light and moisture experiments 36-43

Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes Create Your Own Experiment Student Activity Guide page 19-21

Resources

 

Day
Topic Meet the Creatures Assessment
Objectives/ I can
Answer questions about mealworms.
State Goals
11.A.3b Conduct scientific experiments that control all but one variable.
11.A.3a Formulate hypotheses that can be tested by collecting data.
Classwork-Homework
braininjar.gif (1615 bytes) Meet the Creatures Assessments
Resources

 

Day
Topic
Objectives/ I can
State Goals
Classwork-Homework
Resources

 

Teacher Resources

 Pencil.gif (1165 bytes) Assignments    crayon0a.gif (328 bytes) Art Activity    Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes Lab      BookOpen.bmp (16686 bytes) Lesson Plan      braininjar.gif (1615 bytes)_Tests     IconMap.bmp (3402 bytes) Maps     Note02.gif (247 bytes) Resources     Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Web Sites    
SchoolBus5.bmp (6174 bytes) Field Trips      Computer.gif (1114 bytes) Computer     bookpages.gif (1592 bytes) Book    Dice.bmp (3974 bytes) Games    star.gif (2279 bytes)Extra Credit     filmstrip.gif (6075 bytes)PPT     Video

 Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes How to Tell When Mealworms Are Out of Breath Need Potassium hydroxide
 Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes Mealworm Exercise Experiment with two cereals
 Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes Mealworm Locomotion
How do different surfaces affect the distance mealworms travel in 2 minutes?
 Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes Mealworm Observation 3 page worksheet White/Black Experiment
 Magnify0b.gif - 341 Bytes The Great Mealworm Ecosystem Experiment  Hot/Cold; Light/Dark; Wet/Dry
 filmstrip.gif (6075 bytes) Mealworm Experiment Slideshow Light and moisture experiments 36-43
 Note02.gif (247 bytes) I Never Answered a Single Question  Class Mealworm Activity
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Birds Attracted to Mealworms
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Darkling Beetle/ Mealworm Information Page
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes)Lesser Mealworm
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Mealworms For Sale
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Meet the Darkling Beetle
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Robyn's Mealworm Page
 Earth.gif (6650 bytes) Yellow Mealworm
 



Student Extra Credit

 star.gif - 2279 Bytes Extra Credit star.gif - 2279 Bytes

 star.gif - 2279 Bytes Measure the length of your mealworm every other day and graph the results.