Pillbugs on Parade

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					Name: _______________________________ Date: __________________




                                Pillbugs on Parade
Purpose: The purpose of this set of experiments is to observe the behavior of pillbugs.

Background information: Pillbugs, also known as roly-polys, sow bugs, and potato
bugs, are not really bugs at all. They are land-dwelling crustaceans called isopods.
Isopods live in dark, moist areas under rocks or wood. Like all living things, pillbugs
need energy to grow, they need a place to live and they respond to stimuli. After some
initial observations on pillbugs, you will be conducting a series of experiments to try and
discover what pillbugs prefer to eat, where they prefer to hide and what stimuli they
respond to the most.

Observations: Obtain a hand lens from your teacher. Using a plastic spoon, carefully
remove a pillbug from the pillbug habitat and place it on the table. Watch the pillbug
carefully and record your observations below.

Write at least six observations about the pillbugs. For example: Where are its eyes?
How many legs does it have? How do the legs move when it walks? If you touch it
GENTLY, what does it do? Locate the antennae. Is the pillbug using the antennae? What
for?

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Now that you know a little about pillbugs, you are ready to begin the experiments.
Lab#1 Where do pillbugs prefer to hide?

Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to find out under which objects pillbugs prefer to
hide.
Background: All living things need to find a suitable place to live. You have already
learned that pillbugs prefer to live in dark, moist places. Choose four possible hiding
places that you would like to test. Think about where you went to look for pillbugs.
Some possible items to test are: scraps of wood, rocks, a pile of newspaper or cardboard
(wet or dry), a pile of weeds or other plant material such as leaves. Or choose your own.

Write your choices below and check with your teacher.
________________, ________________, ________________, and ________________.
Hypothesis: If I __________________________________________________________
then I think that __________________________________________________________
because ________________________________________________________________.

Experimental Design:
       Independent variable: _____________________
       Dependent variable: _____________________
       Controlled variables: _____________________
Materials:
Plastic container with soil
At least 20 pillbugs
Objects for hiding place

Procedure:
Day one
1. Obtain a plastic container with at least 20 pillbugs.
2. Place the objects you are testing around the container.
3. Put your container in a safe place overnight.
Day two
1. Count the number of pillbugs under each hiding place and record data in table below.
2. Carefully remove the pillbugs from their hiding places and spread them throughout the
container.
3. Put the hiding places back and leave the containers in a safe place overnight again.
Day three
1. Count the number of pillbugs under each hiding place and record data in table.
Data Table
                     Number of pillbugs in each hiding place

                1:              2:                3:            4:
Day 1
Day 2


Graph
                            Hiding Place Preference




Conclusions
Restate your purpose and hypothesis.__________________________________________
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Was your hypothesis supported? What is the data to support or disprove your
hypothesis? Include NUMBERS from your data chart.
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What do these results tell you about where pillbugs like to hide? Why do you think
pillbugs ended up where they did?
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What would you do differently next time and WHY? For example, what could you test
next time?
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Lab #2 What do pillbugs prefer to eat?

Purpose: The purpose of this lab is to find out what foods pillbugs prefer.

Background information: All living organisms need energy. Pillbugs normally get their
energy by eating dead and decaying vegetation. What do you think they like the best?
Do they prefer leaves, fruits or stems? Choose three food items that you would like to
test. Make sure that they are items you can easily obtain and are able to bring to class.
Do not bring any soft items, such as cheese.

Write your choices below and check with your teacher.
________________, ________________, ________________, and ________________.
Hypothesis: If I __________________________________________________________
then I think that __________________________________________________________
because ________________________________________________________________.
Experimental Design:
       Independent variable: _____________________
       Dependent variable: _____________________
       Controlled variables: _____________________
Materials
Plastic container with soil
At least 20 pillbugs
Three energy sources

Procedure
Day one
1. Obtain a plastic container with at least 20 pillbugs.
2. Place the food objects you are testing around the container.
3. Put your container in a safe place overnight.
Day two
1. Count the number of pillbugs at each food source and record data in table below.
2. Carefully remove the pillbugs from the food and spread them throughout the container.
3. Put the containers in a safe place overnight again.
Day three
1. Count the number of pillbugs at each food source and record data in table.
Data Table
                     Number of pillbugs at each food source

                1:              2:                3:            4:
Day 1
Day 2


Graph
                                Food Preference




Conclusions
Restate your purpose and hypothesis.__________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Was your hypothesis supported? What is the data to support or disprove your
hypothesis? Include NUMBERS from your data chart.
________________________________________________________________________
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What do these results tell you about what pillbugs like to eat? Why do you think pillbugs
prefer this food?
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What would you do differently next time and WHY? For example, what else could you
test or how could you change the experiment?
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Lab #3 What makes a pillbug move the most?

Purpose: The purpose of this experiment is to see what stimuli cause a response in
pillbugs.

Background information: All living organisms respond to stimuli. But not all
organisms respond the same to all stimuli. For example, humans are more active when
there is light but nocturnal animals are more active at night. What do pillbugs respond to
the most? You will test how pillbugs respond to light, sound and movement. If you
would like to test a different stimulus, check with your teacher.

Hypothesis: If I__________________________________________________________
then I think that __________________________________________________________
because ________________________________________________________________.
Experimental Design:
       Independent variable: _____________________
       Dependent variable: _____________________
       Controlled variables: _____________________
Materials
Plastic container with soil
Separate holding container with soil
At least 20 pillbugs
1 cm grid graph paper
Flashlight
Noise-making device
Timer

Procedure
1. Using 1 cm grid graph paper, make a paper racetrack for the pillbugs, folding up the
sides so the pillbugs stay on the track.
2. Place one pillbug at the beginning of the track. In the absence of any stimulus, allow
the pillbug to move freely for 10 seconds.
3. After 10 seconds, record the distance the pillbug has traveled in cm by counting the
total number of squares it has moved. Record your data in the data chart below.
4. Carefully move the pillbug to the holding container.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 with 4 more pillbugs.
6. Return the pillbugs from the holding container to the original container.
7. Repeat steps 2-6, testing the different stimuli: light, noise and movement.
        Light: shine a flashlight on the pillbug, following the pillbug as it moves
        Noise: make a continuous noise over the 10 second testing interval
        Movement: gently move the paper back and forth, being careful to keep it flat
8. When you are done, return the pillbug container to a safe place.
9. In your data table, record the average distance traveled for each stimulus.
Data table
                          Distance (in cm) traveled in 10 seconds

Stimulus      Pillbug 1     Pillbug 2    Pillbug 3    Pillbug 4     Pillbug 5   Average
None
Light
Noise
Movement


Graph
                                   Response to Stimuli




Conclusions
Restate your purpose and hypothesis.__________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
Was your hypothesis supported? What is the data to support or disprove your
hypothesis? Include NUMBERS from your data chart.
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________


What do these results tell you about what pillbugs respond to? Why do you think they
responded the way they did?
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________
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What would you do differently next time and WHY? For example, what other stimuli
could you test or how would you change the procedure?
________________________________________________________________________
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posted:5/9/2012
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