Measurement of individuals and graphing this information is one of the most fundamental skills in science. Individuals always vary in whatever feature we study: the height of people, the tendency to behave aggressively, the color of seashells are some examples. Your crickets will take a few weeks to a few months to grow in their cultures before they become adults. One exercise that we have used in the seventh grade is a comparison of the size or stage of development of the crickets and the time at which our students measure their insects.
As the crickets grow in your garbage cans they will go through a series of molts. Instar is the term used to refer to the period between molts or the shedding of their exoskeleton and growth to the next and larger juvenile stage. This exercise describes the measurement and graphing of different stages of nymphal development. Your students will take individuals from the containers, measure their length and perhaps their weight, and graph the data. First instar baby crickets are very tiny, like ants!
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