Project Elevation

Ronald Hennig, Ewing High School, 2013

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"I like, really enjoyed them STEM program this year. It was very organized and exceeded my expectations. I am so appreciative that I was permitted to do this a second year, and the fun only increased! I love all of the people in the program, and I plan to share my renewed passion for the sciences with my peers."

Christopher Muzi, Lawrence High School, 2014


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"The STEM program interested me because I would like to be a teacher when I grow up. Everything we did in the STEM program helped me think about how and what I would teach in the classroom. I am very interested in doing STEM next year."


Hypothesis:


Female Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches prefer to move downward, if they are on a slope. This is because it requires less energy to move downhill.


Materials




Female Madagascar Hissing Cockroach
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Styrofoam
Tape
Pins
Paper
Scissors


Procedure


  1. Assemble the ramp.
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The Ramp
  1. Place a single Cockroach in the middle of the ramp. Wait for the cockroach to move upward or downward on the ramp, timing the amount of time it takes make it.
  2. After several trials, determine which end, if any, the insects generally move toward. Place the shelter structure, which simply provides shade to one end, to the side of the ramp which the insects generally do not move toward. Record the time as above.
  3. Cover the half that the insects are generally not attracted to with a large piece 1 foot above the ramp to shade 1/2 of the ramp. Record data as above.


Data

(just ramp)
Trial:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
Time
1:40
3:00
3:16
1:51
1:20
1:01
1:20/2:10
0:24/1:02
0:30
Direction
Up
Up
Up
Up
Up
Up
Down/Up
Down/Up
Up
Interpretation: The cockroaches preferred to move up each time, which is opposite of what we believed would occur. Some of the cockroaches climbed to the top and moved underneath the ramp, while other continued moving up the leg of the table.



(shade on bottom half)
Trial:
1
2
3
4
Time
1:10
1:06
0:04/2:45
1:42
Direction
Up
Down
Up/Down
Down
Interpretation: Even though the results are pretty inconclusive, the cockroaches ended at the bottom of the ramp (the shaded half) 75% of the time. More trials would need to be done to come to a definite conclusion.


(shelter)
Trial:
1
2
3
4
Time
1:06/2:12
0:15
0:49
1:20
Direction
Up/Down
Up
Up
Down/Up
Interpretation: They ended on the top half each time, suggesting that the shelter had no effect. Without the shelter, the roaches moved to the top of the ramp anyways.


Conclusion

  • With only the ramp, the roaches moved up each time. Roaches tend to move to higher elevations.
  • With shade on the bottom; roaches tend to move to the bottom and exit the ramp, remaining under the shade or climbing up things to higher elevations.
  • The small shelter that was placed on the bottom of the ramp had no effect. We believed it would influence the decision of the roaches due to the shade.


Sources of Variance

  • The way that the roaches were placed could have affected where they walked. For example, if a roach was dropped or squeezed before being placed, it may have done its best to run which ever way it is placed. That is why some of the times seen are significantly shorter than others.
  • We only used one cockroach in the experiment. If more were used, we would have collected more accurate data. Also, we used a female roach which may have had different behaviors than a male roach.


Questions

  • Why did the roaches move upward?
  • Would male roaches move upward also?
  • Why do the roaches prefer shade - is it for food, protection, or some other reason?
  • Would the sound in the room affect the experiment in any way?
  • Would the roaches react differently in different temperatures? What if they were outside?