AP Biology students study the behaviors of doodle bugs

On August 22, Dr. Pisciotta’s AP Biology students were assigned to bring in ten “doodle bugs” for their first lab assignment.  This lab allowed the students to observe the behavior of the doodle bugs and test their response to environmental variables.

Each lab partner was given a two-sided Pitre dish where he or she observed the doodle bugs.  One side of the Pitre dish contained a moist paper towel, while the other side contained a dry paper towel.  Over thirty second time intervals, the students documented how many doodle bugs were on each side of the dish.  This helped the students put into place their knowledge of taxis, a movement from or toward a stimulus; and kinesis, a movement that is random and does not involve stimulus.  After gathering the information, the students recorded the data into several graphs. The students’ findings showed that the doodle bugs preferred the damper side.

 Dr. Pisciotta encouraged the students to create their own experiment by using different variables.  Senior Julia Hancock observed how the doodle bugs reacted to a light versus dark environment. “The experiment was certainly enlightening. My doodle bugs preferred the light, which as really surprising.  I expected them to prefer the dark because I found them under pine straw,” commented Hancock.  Meanwhile, senior Cassie Swetman added salt water to one side of the Pitre dish to test the doodle bugs response.  Her findings showed that eight out of ten doodle bugs moved towards the saltwater area vs. the dry area. Swetman states, “It was really interesting to me that the doodle bugs preferred the salt water side, it made me want to research exactly why they did this.”

 This lab was a creative hands-on experiment that helped the students have a better understanding of animal behaviors. It also gave them an understanding of conducting experiments and recording data, which will be a crucial skill throughout AP Biology.

< Click here to see more pictures from the AP Biology lab.

Story by Taylor Smith