Does a mouse smell or see better?
The materials required for this science fair project:
- 10 mice
- 1 packet of sunflower seeds
- Cardboard or old carton boxes (quantity as may be required to make the maze)
- Cardboard 500mm x 800mm to cover the maze
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 roll of masking tape
- 1 bottle of glue
- 1 stopwatch
- 1 meter-length ruler
1. For this science fair project, the independent variable was whether the maze is lit, or in darkness. The dependent variable was the time taken by the mouse to complete the maze. This was determined by using a stopwatch. The constants (control variables) were the size and type of the maze, how hungry the mice were, and the type of food used.
2. A maze approximately 500mm x 800mm in size was made using cardboard, glue and masking tape. The walls of the maze were at least 200mm high, to prevent the rodents from jumping out. See figure 1.
3. Once the maze was completed, we left it outdoors for 2 days in order for the smell of the glue dissipate. This was to avoid the mice from being distracted by the smell of glue.
4. A sunflower seed was placed at the end of the maze. The mice were dropped at the start of the maze one at a time. The time taken for each mouse to find the food was recorded.
5. Procedure 4 was repeated once a day for 9 days and it was observed that the mice were fairly consistent in terms of how quickly they were able to solve the maze. The speed of the mice on the 9th day was recorded.
6. On the 10th day, a piece of cardboard was used to cover the top of the maze. This meant that the mice were running through the maze in darkness. The mice were again placed in the maze one at a time and the amount of time they took to find the food was measured and recorded.
Handle the mice with care