What Can You Learn From A Mealworm?

Jessie Rucker Curie High School
4959 S. Archer Avenue
Chicago, Il. 60632


To practice collecting metric data using mealworms.

Materials needed:

A Balance, 5x7 index card, mealworms, 2 rulers and graph paper.


Begin the lesson by discussing the metric system. It is a decimal system scaled
on the powers of 10. Pick up a metric ruler and look carefully at the scale.
You will see many little lines and every so often a much longer line marked with
a number. The longer lines are centimeter (cm) marks and the shorter lines are
one tenth of a centimeter (0.1) or millimeter marks.

Answer the following questions:
1. Using your metric ruler, draw a line that is 8 centimeters long. Put a small
mark on the line for each centimeter length.
2. Draw a line that is 8 millimeters long.
3. What do you notice about the relationship between the lengths of these lines?
4. Measure the length of the following line: ___________.
length = _______mm and length = ________cm.
After the students understand how to determine metric units, have them measure
the length of the mealworm (anterior to posterior) in cm. Using a balance,
weigh the worm. Record the data in table form on the blackboard.

Example: Name Length Weight Race I Race II Race III Avg.

Set up a racing card in the following manner:
A. Construct a track 1 cm. wide and 10 cm. long in the center of the 5x7 card.
B. Place two rulers on either side of the track to restrict movement of the
C. Record the time it takes the worm to reach the finish line at the end of the
track. Race the worms three times and then determine the average time.
D. Record your results on the blackboard.
E. Using the data collected, graph the weight of the mealworms and the timings
of the mealworms.


A. What are mealworms? Where are they found?
B. Which worm was the fastest? Slowest?
C. Was there a relationship between weight or length and speed?
D. What is the difference between a spider and an insect?
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