Mozart and spatial-temporal reasoning
The materials required for this science fair project:
- 6 hamsters
- 1 packet of sunflower seeds
- Cardboards or old carton boxes (quantity as required to make the maze)
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 roll of duct tape
- 1 bottle of glue
- 1 stopwatch
- 1meter-long ruler
1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is whether the hamsters were exposed to Mozart's music or not. The dependent variable was the time taken for the hamster to complete the maze. This as determined using a stopwatch. The constants (control variables) were the recordings of the music pieces used, the size and type of maze, how hungry the hamsters were, and the type of food used.
2. A maze approximately the size of 400mm x 640mm was made using cardboard, glue and masking tape. The height of the walls of the maze was at least 250mm in order to prevent the hamsters from jumping out. See figure 1 for an example of the maze.
3. Once the maze as completed, it was left outdoors for 2 days, in order for the smell of the glue to dissipate. This is because hamsters depend on their sense of smell to find food and the smell of the glue could have been a distraction.
4. The hamsters were divided into 2 groups of 3 hamsters each. The hamsters in group 1 were made to listen to Mozart for 12 weeks (84 days) and the hamsters in group 2 did not listen to any music.
5. After the 12 weeks, the hamsters were made to run through the maze and the time taken wasrecorded. For the first 5 days, the hamsters in group 1 continued to listen to Mozart and for the last 5 days, they did not.
6. A sunflower seed was placed at the end of the maze. The hamsters were dropped at the start of the maze one at a time. The time taken by each hamster to find the sunflower seed was recorded.
7. Procedure 6 is repeated for 10 days, once a day and all the timings are recorded in the table.
Wear gloves when handling the hamsters to prevent injury.