The effect of the speed of a metronome on ant's progression of reaching the food Sean Quinn Honors Biology Mrs. Pietrangelo
Hypothesis • Problem statement: • Will …? • If…then… • The effect the beat of a metronome has on the ant’s ability to reach the food
Final Design Diagram: TITLE: The effect of the speed of a metronome on the feeding of ants. HYPOTHESIS: If the speed of the metronome while feeding the ants is varied, then the ant ability to obtain food will vary. IV: Metronome DV: The time it takes for the ant to reach the food CONSTANTS:Plastic containers, ants, music speakers, food, metronome
Materials: • Small speaker • harvester ants • online metronome • Liquid nails • Chocolate chip cookie (food source) • electric saw to cut out plastic pieces or containers • standard tape measurer • Stopwatch • white cloth for the bottom of the containers so I can easily see the black ants • plexiglass • wooden dowels (3ft long, 1/2 inch wide)
SUMMARIZE ME!A. AntsBuy 2 super Ant Supplies of 50 ants from antsalive.com ($7 each).B. Making the containersCut transparent plastic sheets into 6 pieces; four 6x12 inch pieces, two 4x6 inch pieces.Cut a hole in the side of one of the larger pieces, 2-3 inches in diameterCut 1/2 inch wooden dowels into twelve 3 inch long piecesPlace dowels on a different piece of the large plastic pieces: Place in two rows of six, place every 2 inches; start one row against the plastic wall, and the other row 1 inch out from the wall, so the rows are diagonal.Glue dowels onto plastic in the places they are in.Cut white cloth 6x14 inches to glue on top of the wooden dowels.Use super glue to glue the white cloth to the bottom of the plastic.Cut a hole 1/2 inch in diameter in each side of a third piece of the large pieces (to put ants into).Once there is a hole cut in one of the large pieces of plastic and the dowels and cloth glued to another, the six plastic pieces can be glued together to form a rectangular prism, with the dowel piece on the bottom facing the inside, and the holed piece facing out one of the side walls.Find speaker with a diameter of 2 or 3 inches, and slip it into the hole on the side of the container. Use duct tape to firmly attach speaker to the hole (speaker should be protruding about 1/2 inch into container.C. MetronomeGo to www.metronomeonline.com for online metronome, powered by emusicinstitute.com.Plug speaker into computer and test metronome.D. ExperimentPut container on table with a bottle of insect killing spray, for the unexpected possibility of an ant stampede.Attach speaker electric cord to the Imac desktop on a separate table.Turn online metronome on to 40 beats per minutePlace sugared apple pieces through the hole in the one end of the container.Place harvester ant in the other end of the container and immediately start the stopwatch.Stop timer when ant reaches the food (apple pieces should be roughly 1 inch long).Repeat this process 20 times.Turn metronome to 120 bpm and repeat same process as steps 3-7.Turn metronome to 200 bpm and repeat same process as steps 3-7.
Statistical Analysis • Not possible • Would have used an ANOVA…(what does this mean?) • Would have created a XY scatter plot comparing bpm vs. time to get food (sec)
First Experiment • December 8 • First experiment on ants
Close-up of Ant Container • December 8
Second Experiment • December 15 • During experiment, and tries to escape rather than reaching the food 40 BPM
Conclusion My hypothesis was refuted. The ants were not effected by the metronome beat at all, and the ants never reached the food. My inclination for the reason why the ants did not do as expected is that when they were put in the containers, they could see right through the transparent (see through) Plexiglass, which was the plastic I used for the containers. What I mean by this is when they saw that they were confined inside the container, away form the other ants, it was instinctual for them to try to find a way out. I also observed that right as they were put in the container, before they tried to find a way out, they immediately went into defensive mode, standing up as tall as possible and opening up their pincers. I think that they were distracted by the food because they could see through the container in all directions, so they wanted a way out. There were a couple sources of error I came up on. One was that the container ended up being too big for the ants, so it would take them too long to reach the other end. Another source was that the wooden dowels were too big of obstacles for the ants to move through. The dowels were probably 5 times taller than the ants. And lastly, I think that having the walls transparent was a mistake as the ants immediately tried to find a way out. I think I should have covered the bottom and sides with white paper, and only left the top open, so I could still observe.