Feeling Squirmy


During the Pioneer Valley High School Summer Science Institute, I had the opportunity to research something new. I chose to do my project on mealworms. In places like Africa or Mexico, mealworms are eaten to survive. They are high in protein and low in fat. My project was about the respiration rate of mealworms in hot and cold temperatures. For the first part of my project I tested 5 groups of mealworms, each containing 5 mealworms, in hot and cold temperatures which were 35°, 55°, 75°, 95°, 115°F and recorded their respiration rate using a CO2 probe at those temperatures on my LabQuest2. I found that a mealworm’s respiration is rate is greater at hotter temperatures than at a colder one. For the second part of my project, I investigated if keeping mealworms at a hotter temperature would increase their growth rate. I had two large beakers filled with oatmeal and 25 worms in each; one was on a heating pad while the other was kept at room temperature. My results showed that if you kept mealworms at hotter temperatures, they would grow faster. Within 5 days, I found 13 pupas in the beaker on the heating pad and zero in the beaker at room temperature.

This Science Institute has been very helpful.  It has shown me many of the scientific fields that are out there. I might want to do this when I get older. You get to learn so much. And the people that donate to our project have been a tremendous help; we wouldn’t have been able to do our projects without their support. I learned so much about myself. For example, I’m really good with computers. There are always those bad moments too, like when I thought my work had been erased and that it wasn’t saved to my flash drive…luckily, it was, though!

It’s been a very educational, yet fun, summer. It’s interesting to see our results because you just don’t know what they may be. If they’re wrong, all you can do is just try again. It’s all a learning process. Our projects are able to help our community. Knowing that I have proven mealworms grow faster in warmer temperatures means that I am able to help get food faster to the people whose lives depend on them. It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that I can make a difference as a teenager.

Cynthia is a 10th grader at Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria, CA.  The soon to be 15 year old is a cheerleader and also is involved in the AVID program at school.  With plans to study science in college, she enjoys watching movies and having sleepovers with her friends in her free time.

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