Genesis Christian Academy students race mealworms for annual event
Michael Bottany named his worm for Friday’s Genesis Christian Academy Worm Invitational Race “Speedy.”
But his mealworm didn’t quite live up to his name.
“He was a little lethargic today,” said Karen Bottany, Michael’s mother.
Friday’s festivities marked the fourth year of the event, led by Kathy Link’s second-grade class.
Link’s students created and decorated the “race courses” on construction paper. Students raced their worms on the courses and conducted other experiments outside GCA.
At one table, students tested whether their worms preferred light or dark paper and wet or dry. Students also tested whether the worms preferred rough or smooth — sandpaper or photo paper.
“It’s a good introduction to science experiments,” she said.
Morgan Morris, a Tonganoxie first-grader, said she named her worm Emma. Asked whether her worm was fast on the race course, she said, “um, mine is.”
Link bought about 200 mealworms, which eventually will turn into grain beetles.
Her second-graders work with the worms for a couple weeks, while other GCA students picked out their worms Friday. She said her students painted racing stripes with nail polish on their worms to tell them apart.
“At first, they’re scared,” Link said about students handling the worms.
But the students eventually become comfortable with the critters. She said one student described a worm as “giving them a hug” as it wrapped around the student’s finger.
The races aren’t always scientific, Link said, because students sometimes try to influence the outcome by coaxing the worms to stay on the paper. But they get involved in all of the experiments, she said.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Link said.