Examples: A caterpillar (larva) undergoes metamorphosis to become a butterfly (adult)!

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1 Mealworm Metamorphosis Permission to Copy - This document may be reproduced for non-commercial educational purposes Copyright 2009 General Electric Company Note: Please identify students with food allergy before conducting these experiments.

2 Definition: Metamorphosis is a biological process that occurs in which an insect changes its physical shape and structure after birth. There are typically three stages involved in the life cycle of an insect: 1. larva (first stage) 2. pupa (optional intermediate stage) 3. adult (final stage) Examples: A caterpillar (larva) undergoes metamorphosis to become a butterfly (adult)! Why is the Mealworm Metamorphosis experiment important? This experiment teaches children about the life cycle of an insect by allowing them to observe the mealworm life cycle first-hand. Goal of Experiment To help children develop a solid understanding about what metamorphosis is, by first-hand observations. Items needed for the experiment Mealworms (can be inexpensively purchased at pet stores as mealworms are often sold as reptile food) Large plastic container Bran Meal Ruler Plastic Knife Potato Instructions for the demonstration 1. Pour 1 inch of bran meal into the plastic container 2. Cut a ¼ inch think slice of the potato and place it into the plastic container 3. Add mealworms to the container 4. Pick up a mealworm and observe how it feels. Record observations on sheet. (it wont hurt you!) 5. Every few days, replace old potato with new ¼ inch thick slice 6. After about 1 week, mealworms should shrink and curl into waxlike tombs 7. After another 1 week, record observations about what comes out of waxy tomb. Conclusions When you pick up a mealworm, it will feel hard that is because it has a hard exoskeleton for protection. The mealworms, when they are first placed in the container, are larvae. When they progress to the waxy tomb state, they are in the second stage of their life cycle, as pupae. Finally, the black beetles that emerge from the tombs are the adult stage of the mealworms. These black beetles lay eggs, and the cycle repeats itself! Applications

3 This activity helps children understand the typical life cycle of an insect from larva to adult. Learning about this metamorphosis should help the children be able to apply this understanding to other insects with similar life cycles (e.g the butterfly)

4 Name: Mealworm Metamorphosis Activity Sheet What s happening to the mealworms? Record your observations on this sheet as you go through the mealworm experiment Phenomenon Observation Pick up the Mealworm ~1 week into experiment ~2 weeks into experiment MEALWORM METAMORPHOSIS

5 This is a great animal/pet for the classroom, it takes up little space, minimal housekeeping, and self sustaining over vacations with a great opportunity to observe the complete life cycle. NYS Standard 4: The Living Environment Key Idea 1: Living things are both similar to and different from each other and from nonliving things. P.I Describe the characteristics of and variations between living and nonliving things. 1.1a P.I. 1.2 Describe the life processes common to all living things. 1.2a Key Idea 2: Organisms inherit genetic information in a variety of ways that result in continurty of structure and function between parents and offspring. P.I 2.1 Recognize that traits of living things are both inherited and acquired or learned. 2.1a 2.1b P.I Recognize that for humans and other living things there is genetic continuity between generations. 2.2a 2.2b Key Idea 3: Individual organisms and species change over time. P.I Describe how the structures of plants and animals complement the environment of the plant or animal. 3.1a 3.1c Key Idea 4: The continuity of life is sustained through reproduction and development. P.I. 4.1 Describe the major stages in the life cycles of selected plants and animals. 4.1a 4.1b 4.1c

6 4.1e 4.1f 4.1g Key Idea 5: Organisms maintain a dynamic equilibrium that sustains life. P.I. 5.1 Describe basic life functions of common living specimens. 5.1a 5.1b P.I. 5.2 Describe some survival behaviors of common living specimens. 5.2g

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