Mealworms can be purchased from pet stores or bait shops.

Measuring the Speed of a Mealworm

Speed is calculated by measuring a distance traveled and then dividing it by the time it takes to travel that distance:


You can measure the speed of many things with this equation, such as cars traveling past a point on a road, or a person walking from one end of the hall to another. You can even measure small things that move across your desk, like a mealworm. For this activity, you will attempt to discover the speed of a single mealworm by using a ruler, pencil and a stopwatch. Mealworms are larval forms of beetles that are easy to handle.


Set up a sheet of white paper on your desk, you will need this paper to mark the starting and ending point of your mealworm. Set a stopwatch to measure 20 seconds, and mark where your mealworm starts. Let the mealworm crawl for the twenty seconds and make a mark at the point where the worm is when the 20 seconds in. You will take ten similar measurements and average the data.


  Trial 1 Trial 2 Trial 3 Trial 4 Trial 5 Trial 6 Trial 7 Trial 8 Trial 9 Trial 10
Distance Traveled in 20 seconds
(in cm)
Average distance:


Use the speed equation above to calculate the mealworm's (average) speed in cm/s, centimeters per second. Show your work.