Mealworm Experiment

Mealworm  Experiment:  Lab  Report  
1. What  do  you  want  to  find  out?  (Aim/purpose/research  question)  
The   aim   of   the   experiment   is   to   find   out   whether   mealworms   prefer   to   crawl   on   plastic,  paper  or  sandpaper     

2. What  is  the  tentative  explanation  of  your  research  questions?  (Hypothesis)  
The  mealworms  prefer  to  crawl  on  plastic  surfaces.     

3. In   an   investigation,   there   is   only   one   variable   to   be   change.   Which   variable   will  you  change  in  this  investigation?  (Independent  variable)  
The  independent  variable  is  the  surface  that  the  mealworms  crawl  on.     
4. All  other  variables  must  be  kept  constant.  List  a  few  important  variables  that   will  affect  the  results  greatly.  (Controlled  Variables)  
The   controlled   variables   are   location   where   the   different   setups   are   placed,   temperature  of  the  surroundings,  type  of  box/container  used  in  each  setup,  amount   of   each   material   (plastic,   paper,   sandpaper)   used   to   line   the   bottom   of   the   setup,   location  where  mealworm  is  placed  when  it  is  first  put  inside  the  setup.  
5. What  results  will  you  measure?  (Dependent  variable)  
The   dependent   variable   is   the   material   the   mealworm   is   crawling   on   after   15   minutes.  
6. List   the   materials   and   apparatus   that   you   will   need   to   carry   out   the   investigation.  (Materials  and  Apparatus)  
2  plastic  containers,  similar  to  ones  the  mealworms  are  kept  in  
 2  pieces  of  plastic,  similar  to  the  material  the  container  that  is  used  to  keep  the  
mealworms  is  made  of   
1  piece  of  paper   
1  piece  of  sandpaper   
7. List  the  steps  that  you  will  take  to  carry  out  the  investigation.  (Procedure)  
a. Paste  the  piece  of  paper  on  the  bottom  half  of  one  container.   
b. Paste  the  piece  of  sandpaper  on  the  bottom  half  of  the  second  container.  
c. Line   the   other   half   of   the   first   two   containers   with   another   layer   of   plastic   to  
level  out  the  surface.   
d. Line   half   of   the   bottom   of   the   third   container   with   paper,   and   the   other   half   of  the  third  container  with  sandpaper.  
e. Place  a  mealworm  in  the  middle  of  the  first  container.
f. Wait   for   15   minutes,   and   then   observe   which   part   of   the   container   the  
mealworm  is  in.     
g. Repeat  the  experiment  with  the  second  &  third  container.   
h. Repeat  the  experiment  with  another  mealworm.    

8. Data  Collection  &  Organization  (Results)  
9. Explain  what  your  data  means.  (Data  Analysis)  
In  the  1st  container,  which  was  lined  with  paper  and  plastic,  the  mealworms  kept  to   the   side   that   was   lined   with   paper.   Even   after   crawling   over   to   the   half   of   the   container   that   was   lined   with   plastic,   the   mealworms   crawled   back   onto   the   paper   and   stayed   there.   While   in   the   2nd   container,   which   was   lined   with   sandpaper   and   plastic,  the  mealworms  kept  crawling  on  the  sandpaper  after  exploring  the  box.  This   happened   in   both   my   attempts   at   the   experiment.   Finally   in   the   3rd   container   that   was   lined   with   paper   and   plastic   the   mealworms   generally   kept   to   the   piece   of   paper.    
One   possible   reason   for   these   observations   is   the   varying   grip   the   mealworm’s   legs   have   on   the   different   materials.   The   plastic   used   in   this   experiment   is   the   same   material  that  the  container  used  to  keep  the  mealworms  in  is  made  of.  In  the  plastic   container   used   to   keep   the   mealworms,   the   sides   of   the   plastic   container   are   too   smooth  for  the  mealworm  to  climb  up.  Thus,  the  mealworms  may  prefer  to  crawl  on   paper  and  sandpaper  instead  of  plastic  because  the  plastic  surface  is  too  smooth  and   provides  little  grip  for  their  legs.    
However,   sandpaper   is   very   rough,   and   hence   may   be   too   abrasive   on   the   mealworms’   bodies.   Therefore,   when   the   mealworms   were   placed   in   a   box   lined   with  paper  and  sandpaper,  the  mealworms  kept  to  the  piece  of  paper.       

10. What  can  you  deduce  from  the  discussion  of  your  data  analysis?  (Conclusion)  
Mealworms  prefer  to  crawl  on  paper  surfaces.  My  hypothesis  is  incorrect.     
11. Suggest  ways  to  improve  your  experiment.  (Troubleshoot)  
One   way   to   improve   my   experiment   would   be   to   test   with   a   larger   number   of   mealworms,  in  order  to  increase  the  precision  of  the  results.  I  was  able  to  test  with  
only  2  mealworms  in  my  experiment  as  my  other  mealworms  had  died.  I  could  also   have   lengthened   the   time   given   to   the   mealworm   to   explore   the   box   before   recording   which   side   of   the   box   the   mealworm   is   crawling   on,   possibly   from   15   minutes  to  half  an  hour  or  an  hour.    
Length  of  Mealworm:  4.5cm  
Number  of  Segments:  12   Colour:  Brown   
Other  Observable  Characteristics:  
- It  has  6  legs  which  are  located  close  to  the  head   
- It  has  2  feelers  on  the  head   
- The  mealworm  drags  its  body  when  it  crawls