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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Carondelet Catholic School 2007

Carondelet Catholic School
3210 W 51st St
Minneapolis, MN 55410

Year: 2007
Teacher(s): Cece Cope

Carnivorous Crickets and Vivacious Vegetarians

Margret S

What type of food makes crickets of all ages weigh more: Pet store cricket food or apples and carrots?  We divided a group of 20 crickets of mixed ages into two plastic containers. Since crickets escape easily and observation time was limited, we weighed each group of ten crickets together, recording the average weight each time. We weighed our crickets every 3 - 7 days. The crickets fed the cricket food weighed more than the crickets fed apples and carrots. The average weight in that container increased from .88 g to 6.36 g during the month of experimenting.  The average weight in the other group started at 1.22 g and was 1.04 g a month later.  Since the crickets variation in age and size may have been different in the two groups, we wonder whether looking at average weights really gives the whole story. 

If we could do this experiment again we would choose an insect that could be easily weighed individually.  Another thing that we could do better is weighing the both groups of crickets each time we weighed.  (Some days we were only able to weigh one group of crickets before the recess time or class time was over.)  We learned how to care for insects, so in the future if we wnt to raise crickets, we'll know what to do.  Another thing we learned was how to control an experiment by keeping variables constant, changing only the variable we are testing.


Effect of dark on the length and lifecycle of mealworms

Bridget H, Sydney S

We got 44 mealworms and divided them into two pint-sized containers.  Sydney put her mealworms by the window for natural light while Bridget put her mealworms in a box by the same window for darkness.  We fed the mealworms bran and two small apple slices that were replaced every other day.  After six weeks of measuring, we found out that the mealworms grew more in the light than in the dark.  We are not completely sure that this is true because several mealworms died and some escaped during the experiment. The conclusions we made are based on comparing the average changes in length.

At the beginning of the experiment the mealworms in the dark had a bigger average length than those in the light (1.9 cm compared with 1.7 cm), but by week six, the average mealworm in the light was longer (2.3 cm compared with 1.9 cm). However there was always a large range in lengths between the two groups of mealworms. And for three of the weeks the average length was greater in the dark than in the light.

We were surprised that the mealworms were able to escape through the mesh covered 'windows" we cut in the containers.  Next time, we would for sure leave the windows out of our container design; we'd use clear containers instead. 


Effect of Fresh vs Dry Food on Lady Bug Growth

Annie B, Jude S

Jude and I put twelve ladybugs into each of two containers.  We fed one group raisins and the other apple slices and in both containers was a sponge with honey water.  The group that ate the apple slices weighed more than the group that ate the raisins, but it was a very slight difference.  We only measured the weight of the ladybugs, but to be more certain of the changes, we might have taken other measurements--length or width. There were three deaths in each container, so comparing the groups by comparing the average weights is uncertain.

We learned that when you clean cages, you have to be careful not to allow the ladybugs to fly away. (It is very hard to get them down from a ceiling or a window pane and back into their container!) We also learned that you need to use time wisely in order to keep up with the data and cage cleaning regularly.


Effect of type of food (apples vs raisins on growth rate and lifespan of Lady bugs

Maddie L, Annette S

We wanted to study ladybugs and after we learned how to raise them we wondered if they would gain more weight eating apples or raisins.  We put 22 ladybugs into each of two containers. Every other part of the two habitats was the same except the apples or raisins.  We weighed the ladybugs in groups of five every week for six weeks.  At the end of each week, we got the everages from apples and from raisins.  We concluded that the food thatn an insect is fiven to eat does make an impact on the weight.  In the end the ladybugs that ate apples gained more weight than the ones that ate the raisins.  We think that is because apples have more water in them than raisins do.


Fruit vs. Vegetables: The impact diet has on cricket growth

Anna B

Which food makes crickets weight more: Fruits or Vegetables?  I started off with twelve crickets and divided them into four groups.  Three crickets went into each container.  Two containers made up each experimental group. For each group, the male crickets and female crickets are in separate containers. At the end of the experiment, the results supported the hypothesis that crickets fed fruit gained more weight than those fed vegetables.  This could be because while both apples and carrots have high nutritional value, apples have a higher fat and sugar content.

I collected three weeks of data.  I weighed each cricket individually using a scale that I borrowed from my teacher that weighs to the nearest hundredth of a gram.  I was not able to deep the conditions in all of the cages exactly the same; some cages had more mold growth than others, for example. My experiment may help someone who raises cickets.  It can also help determine what farmers want to protect with pesticides. I learned the best way to handle crickets was to be quick, plan how you're going to catch them and to have a large basin that they can't crawl out of.  I also learned that patience is a necessary skill when taking care of crickets because if you rush, it usually ends up taking even longer than what you could have done in the first place.


Hissing Cockroaches: How light vs dark affects their weight

Grace V

In my experiment, I studied the effect of light versus dark on the weight gain/loss of Madagascar Hissing cockroaches.  I wanted to find out because I am curious about the question of how light affects weight gain in some animals.  Unfortunately, I'm not sure my experiment turned out well. 

I started my experiment with four hissing cockroaches.  I put two in a plastic box that went into a closet (dark) and two in a plastic box that stayed in the light.  I recorded the weight of each cockroach weekly for three weeks.  Comparing just the average change in weight for the two boxes, I saw a 0.43 g weight loss in the dark compared to a 1.57 g weight loss in the light.  Weights of the adult cockroaches at the end of the experiment ranged from 5.86 g to 7.49 g.  It seems to support the hypothesis that cockroaches gain more weight in light.

The 2 g difference in the two boxes doesn't seem like strong enough support to me because of the error and bias in the way I did the experiment.  I intended to feed the cockroaches more regularly than I did and lack of consistently available fresh food may have slowed their weight gain. Another thing that may have biased the experiment is that the female in the dark box had babies which ate food and took up a lot of the female's energy.  I learned through this experience that I should not make that many errors in an experiment because it can change the outcome drastically.  I also learned that I really don't like cockroaches. 


Monarch Butterfly Life Cycle--Will Red or Blue Light affect amount or rate of growth?

Olivia G, Grace H

    Our group reared Monarchs and are entering our display board in the Insect Fair. The Monarch Butterfly has a life cycle of four stages- egg, larvae, pupa, and adult butterfly. We can share our reaseach report as well. We separated eight larve into two containers: one with red cellophane and the other with blue cellophane. Our purpose was to find out how colored light affected the larvae's growth. Mold and disease were major problems in our experiment and caused many of our larvae to die even in the first week of the experiment. We measured the lengths of each larva two or three times weekly for three weeks and we compared the average lengths of the two groups using a line graph. However, each of the groups included a variety of instars and when we lost larvae to disease and/or mold, we replaced them with younger instars during the experiment. In the end we did not see a different trend in length between the two groups. We learned the importance of collecting data regularly and caring for the larvae more carefully. What most impressed us was the observing the changes during the five instars. We learned so much from what we read about the Monarch's life cycle and we enjoy sharing.


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