Invertebrates


Stimulus and Response 


Biology Quarter 1 Project                                                                               Due Date: 10/15/2012


   We will be studying a large variety of invertebrates in biology class this year including their classification, morphology, life cycles and behavior. We will also be learning about the scientific method and experimental design. Hands-on invertebrate investigations and behavior experiments form an integral part of these studies and start with student projects.



The project consists of three parts:

  1. An invertebrate habitat that provides secure housing.
  2. An animal behavior experiment designed and conducted by the student.
  3. A poster board that will be used for presentation of key concepts outlined below.

   Students will choose one of the invertebrates pictured on this page (snail, ladybug, common house or garden spider, pill bug, earthworm or ant) or another non-invasive non-toxic invertebrate pre-approved by me (black widow spiders and Argentine fire ants are NOT allowed). Students will build a habitat that securely houses their invertebrates, allowing easy access for feeding and cleaning while ensuring escape is not possible. The habitat needs to facilitate viewing of the animals. Clear plastic sheet is a great material to work with. It can be easily cut to size and glued to other plastic sheets or wood strips for support.  

  Students can find out more about their chosen invertebrate by researching appropriate sites on the internet for example http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/TOOLS/ANTKEY/ provides ant identification and background. Similarly students can research commercially available invertebrate habitats such as ant farms http://www.unclemilton.com/products/AntFarm/index.html and worm farms http://www.livesciencestore.com/56881.htm to get ideas before building their own habitats. Finally YouTube is a fantastic source for videos showing exactly how to construct habitats for various invertebrates using inexpensive and creative materials for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X84P5_-uhUADO get permission, supervision and/or help from your parents before using knives or power tools on any at-home science project.

   Students will design and conduct an animal behavior experiment at home and then reproduce it in class. The experiment must not harm the animal. Once again students can research good experiments on the internet for example  http://www.earthlife.net/insects/woodcare.html provides a couple of simple woodlice (pill bug) experiments. In general experiments will involve response to light, moisture, temperature, texture, substrate composition, odor or other variable stimuli and measurement will involve direction and speed of movement or other readily observable behavior.

   Poster boards will contain a brief (one page) natural history of the chosen invertebrate including common and scientific name, labelled scale diagram and life cycle. Habitat construction should be summarized and this is often achieved most effectively with ‘before’ ‘during’ and ‘after photographs’ with accompanying explanations. The rest of the poster board should be dedicated to the experiment write up detailed in the next paragraph. Good science writing is concise and the limited remaining space will focus students on what’s important. 

   The experiment write up will include the following sections: Title, Introduction (what question is being asked?), Materials and Methods (include experimental procedures and identify ‘control’), Results (tables and graphs), Analysis, Conclusions and Summary (was the question answered?). Negative results are perfectly acceptable. If a variable stimuli produced no effect then write it up, show the data and receive full credit. 

  The simplest way to introduce a control is to subject half the habitat to stimuli. The remaining half serves as the control. For example half the habitat may receive light and the other shade by covering one side. Measuring how much time the organism(s) spends on either side will determine preference.

  Projects contribute substantially to student science grades. Projects allow students to learn real science, research and engineering skills in ways that are impossible from merely reading a textbook. They also provide a unique opportunity for parents to contribute and be involved in their child’s education if they so choose. I sincerely thank parents therefore for your support. Grading criteria are provided below. Students should start early and have fun.



Rubric of Assessment for 11th grade Biology project: Invertebrates                                            

‘A’ 

•  The habitat is carefully researched, designed and constructed. It securely and luxuriously houses the invertebrate for which it was built while allowing easy access and viewing.

  • The poster board contains a brief (one page) natural history of the chosen invertebrate including common and scientific name, labelled scale diagram and life cycle.
  • The poster board contains a design diagram of the habitat drawn to scale with a ruler or computer draw program.The dimensions of the habitat are provided in metric (SI) units. 

  Key decisions and discoveries are briefly discussed including what problems where encountered and how they were solved in designing and building the habitat.

  Inventory is included that lists and costs all components used in the habitat. Use of recycled material is encouraged. Total cost is calculated.

•  The experiment write up includes Title, Introduction, Materials and Methods, Analysis, Conclusions and Summary. 

  • Self-assessment is included which summarizes what the student learned, honestly discusses 

the deficiencies and strengths of the student project (habitat, experiment and poster board) and grades the assignment.

  Resources and bibliography are included. People, books, websites and other sources are fully acknowledged.


‘B’ 

  • Habitat comfortably houses the invertebrate for which it was built.

  The poster board contains a natural history of the chosen invertebrate including common and scientific name, labelled scale diagram and life cycle.

•  Habitat design diagram is included but is either not drawn to scale or is not clearly labeled.

  Decisions and discoveries section lacks pertinent information.

  Inventory is incomplete.  

  Experimental design is somehow flawed or experiment write up lacks a component.

•  Self-assessment lacks one or more components.

  Sources are not fully acknowledged.


‘C’

  • Habitat adequately houses the invertebrate for which it was designed.

  The natural history lacks either the common or scientific name, labelled scale diagram or life cycle.

•  Diagram is either not included or poorly drawn and labeled.

  Decisions and discoveries section is incomplete or missing.

  Inventory is incomplete or missing. 

  Experimental design is flawed and/or experiment write up lacks components.

•  Self-assessment is included but is substantially incomplete or inaccurate.

  Sources are not adequately acknowledged.


‘D’ 

•  Habitat is unsuitable for the invertebrate which it houses.

•  Natural history is unsatisfactory. 

•  Diagram is not included.

  Decisions and discoveries section is missing.

  Inventory is missing. 

  Experimental design is flawed and/or experiment write up is substantially deficient.

•  Self-assessment is included but is substantially incomplete or inaccurate.

  Sources are not acknowledged.


‘F’

•  No serious attempt to build a habitat was made. 

•  Natural history is missing. 

•  No diagram exists.

  Decisions and discoveries section is missing.

  Inventory is missing. 

  Experimental design and write up are missing.

•  Self-assessment is missing.

  • Sources are not acknowledged. 


                 

© Sean Wilmot 2012