Corn Rootworm Mayhem


  • Corn rootworms cause an estimated $1 billion dollars of damage to corn each year, and scientists are trying to find ways to protect corn against the pest. At MU, scientists are breeding a new form of corn that is resistant to the corn rootworm. In order to test if their modified corn performs better, they introduce the corn rootworm to mutant and non-mutant forms.
  • This Data Nugget engages students in solving a real-life problem. Students will investigate the differences in growth of corn rootworms grown on the roots of mutant and non-mutant corn. Based on their analysis of the data, they will make inferences on the resistance of mutant and non-mutant strains to corn rootworm infestation and make recommendations to farmers on use of the mutant vs. non-mutant strains.

Time Requirement:

  • Plan to engage students with this lesson for approximately 1 hour.

Information about the Author:

  • To learn more about the biology of corn rootworms and why scientists study them, check out the video Sarah created for her 4th Grade students at Fairview Elementary.
  1. Teacher Guide
  2. Student Worksheet
  3. Video: Western Corn Rootworm Research