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Comparing the learning abilities of hamsters and miceFeatured science projectScience project video

Materials

The materials required for this experiment:

  • 3 hamsters
  • 3 white mice
  • 1 packet of sunflower seeds
  • A variety of cardboard boxes (as many as may be required to make the maze)
  • 1 pair of scissors
  • 1 roll of masking tape
  • 1 bottle of glue
  • 1 stopwatch
  • 1 meter-long ruler

Procedure

  1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the learning ability of the hamsters and the mice. The dependent variable is the time taken for the hamsters and mice to complete the maze. This is determined by measuring the time using a stopwatch. The constants (control variables) are the size and type of the maze, the hunger levels of the rodents and the type of food used to lure them through the maze.
  2. Construct a maze approximately 100 cm x 200 cm in size using cardboard boxes, glue and masking tape. The height of the maze must be at least 15 cm so that the rodents do not jump out of the maze. See figure 1 for an example of the maze.
  3. animal intelligence experiment
  4. Once the maze is completed, it is left outside for 2 days for the smell of the glue to diminish. This is because the hamster and mice depend on smell to locate their food and the smell of the glue can be a distraction.
  5. A few sunflower seeds are placed in the finish zone of the maze. The hamster and the mice are dropped in the start zone of the maze one at a time. The time taken for each of the hamsters and mice to find the food is timed and recorded in the table given below.
  6. The procedure 4 is repeated a total of 10 times, once every hour and all the timings are recorded in the table.
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Complexity level:
6
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
2 day to prepare, 10 hour for observation
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Wear gloves when handling rodents to prevent getting bitten.