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Can you predict which way mealworms will move?

Advance preparation:  You will need to acquire the mealworms from a pet store or bait shop.

Materials: You will need the following materials for each group students:

  1. Five mealworms
  2. One shoe box--with lid
  3. Three paper towels
  4. Small amount of water--just enough to moisten a paper towel
  5. Small amount of vinegar--just enough to moisten a paper towel


  1. Put a lid on a shoe box leaving a one and one-half inch opening at one end. Put the mealworms in the open end of the box where light will shine on them. Observe for several minutes.  Repeat
  2. Cut a paper towel intotwo pieces. Wet one piece with water and leave the other dry. Put them in the shoe box separated so the mealworms can be placed between the two pieces of  towel.  Place the mealworms between the two pieces of paper towen and cover quickly the box.  Remove the lid and observe every 30 seconds to see if the worms have made a choice as to which paper they prefer. Repeat.
  3. Using two pieces of paper toweling, wet one with vinegar and leave the other dry.  Repeat the procedure in No. 2.
  4. Useing two pieces of paper toweling, wet one with vinegar and the other with water.  Repeat the procedure in No. 2.

TEKS addressed 2.2 A, B, C, E; 2.7 A; 2.9 B,

last update 12 Oct 1999

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