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This is the first inquiry-based lab of the year that my AP Biology students are involved in. I use it in place of "Investigation 12: Fruit Fly Behavior" found in the AP Biology Lab Manual published by the College Board. For this activity, students utilize pillbugs to determine if they respond to certain stimuli. The lab guide included here will lead students through the process of designing an experiment from start to finish. Students will select an experimental variable to test and will write a hypothesis. They will list material needed and write an outline of the procedure. They will also list controlled and uncontrolled variables. In addition, they will construct their own table and graph. Last, they will write a four-paragraph conclusion reflecting on their hypothesis, analyzing data on a deeper level, connecting the biology of pillbugs to their results, and reflecting on/critiquing their experimental design.
I would recommend having students work in groups of four as these little critters can be a bit challenging to place into chambers as students begin each trial. I ask my students to start bringing in pillbugs about a week before we need them. I recommend to my students that they test at least 10 pillbugs. As far as the test chambers go, we use a DIY apparatus with five test chambers (instructions are included with this activity).
This activity spans over the course of three different class periods. One period is used for pillbug research and planning the experiment. The second class period is used to conduct tests. During a third class period, my student groups present their findings to the class (I have included a rubric for the presentation). Our class periods are 85 minutes in length.
**This laboratory meets the following Science Practices specified by the College Board to ensure success on the AP Biology Exam:
SP 3: Engages in Scientific Questioning to Extend Thinking or Guide Investigations.
SP 4: Plans and Implements data collection strategies.
SP 5: Performs data analysis and evaluation of evidence.