A Great Science Activity: Working with Mealworms

The science curriculum I’m using this year suggests letting the kids observe and work with mealworms. This is part of our discussion of what makes something living or not living.  I purchased some from a local pet shop and came up with a few activities for the kids to do as they observe and learn about their mealworms.

Before I even uttered a word, I simply handed the kids their own mealworms and a magnifying glass. They were enthralled for a good hour! I just sat back and listened to them talk to each other and make observations.

 We spent a full day just watching and observing the mealworms. Here are some of the activities we did later in the week:

What do mealworms like to eat?

We placed a sliced apple, ground oatmeal, rice and raisins in a container.  Most of the mealworms wound up in the ground oatmeal.

Wet or Dry Conditions:
We placed a wet paper towel and a dry paper towel in a container. Most of the mealworms actually wound up under the dry paper towel.  Maybe this says more about light/dark!

 Wet Food-Damp Food:

On a similar vein we placed an apple on top of ground oatmeal and had plain oatmeal in another corn.  The majority of mealworms wound up in the plain oatmeal.

How do mealworms react when you lightly touch their antenna with a toothpick?

Click here to download a copy of the Mealworm Activity Sheet. 

 

Most of our activities were either from Dr. Hughes’s mealworm activities or from Scholastic: Mealworms in the spotlight.

Note: If you plan to work with mealworms, do not release them into the environment. They are a non-native species and are considered pests.  Perhaps you can find a friend with a lizard or bird that eats them. Or you can ask the pet shop if you can return them. One source suggests placing them in the freezer for 48 hours to dispose of them properly.

Add a Comment
Back To The Homeschool Den
  1. by Maureen Sklaroff

    On August 20, 2012 at 11:07 am

    That is a really cool experiment! How long did it take for the mealworms to congregate around the oats vs the apple and so forth? I did an experiment with mealworms in 6th grade and ours went really slowly (mine actually died). Thanks for sharing the lab sheets!

  2. by Liesl Den

    On August 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Actually, the mealworms moved around really quickly when we first got them. They don’t move around anywhere near as quickly (now about two weeks later). So they moved to the different areas within about 30-60 minutes (some even faster).

  3. [...] –Mealworms While I talked about living and non-living with my youngest daughter, I had the older kids do some [...]

  4. [...] Mealworms – Living and Non-Living [...]

  5. [...] Where do germs grow in our house? Click the picture to find out! [...]