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?
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.