La Cucaracha Lab

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
By Ms Baker

I’m so proud of my students who fearlessly completed our lab with the Giant Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches!  Everyone did a great job.  Students, share with everyone what you learned and the specific experiment you designed in the comments section below.

9th Grade Biology Students Investigate Cockroach Behavior

9th Grade Biology Students Investigate Cockroach Behavior

Students who were not able to complete the cockroach lab had a great time with the alternative Thumb War lab.

You can view more pictures & videos of both labs by clicking here.  Anyone interested in kissing one of the cockroaches for a bonus point?  :-)

12 Responses to “La Cucaracha Lab”

  1. Carl

    Our experiment designed to try to find out if a male cockroach saw a female cockroach in one arm of the Y-maze, if the male would go towards the female. From our data, it may be possible that the female actually repelled the male. Throughout the experiment the male chose the left arm almost every time. But when we put the female in the left arm, the male chose the right arm more than in any other trial.

  2. Geoffrey

    My group’s experiment put a male cockroach in the right arm of a Y-maze to see if the female would go towords the male. From our data it cannot be concluded whether the female cockroach was affected by the male cockroach at all because it only whent to the male one more time than when it whent to the other side. Due to this fact we belive that more trials are needed to see if the female cockroach would indeed go to the mail cockroach.

  3. Michael S

    In the cockroach lab my group and I learned many things that were related to the experiment and that weren’t related. Our problem was will having a male cockroach one side of a “Y” maze affect the decision of a female cockroach in which way she travels. One thing that was related to the experiment, that we learned, was that the overall decision that a female cockroach makes in a “Y” maze is not greatly affected by whether or not there is a male on one side. In total my group did 35 trials and there was 18 for the side with the male cockroach (right) and 17 for the side without the male (left). With this data being so close it was hard to make a conclusion but, there were many things that we could have done differently or that we could have added. One thing that we could have done differently was that we weren’t sure if we had the same cockroaches as the initial experiment. One thing that we could have added was that we didn’t do enough trials to make a straight conclusion so we should add more trials. Also we should have done the same test with different cockroaches after finishing with one pair. But other than learning from the actually experiment, we learned that not all cockroaches are disease-carrying vermin. We learned this through caring and handling for the cockroaches. Overall the experiment was a great experience and I look forward to doing another.
    PS: I want to kiss the cockroach for some extra credit!

  4. Sam

    I was in Carl’s group, so i did the same experiment. It was really fun because you can do this experiment easily and not realize you’re learning as much as you really are. We learned scentific procedures and alot about independent and dependent variables. If i could have changed one thing about the eperiment, it would have been to make the Y-maze’s “wings” have the same length because i think the amount of space the cochroach had affected which side he went towards.

  5. Amy

    In my group’s experiment with the Madagascar hissing cochroaches, we used a wet and a dry cloth and put them on each side of the Y maze. We decided to do this experiment because the cockroach’s natural habitat is by river banks. Our hypothesis was that the cockroach would go to the side with the wet paper towel. The results of our experiment were that the cockroach went to each side almost equally. We were very suprised, but we could have gotten more acurate results. We could have done a better experiment by using the same cockroach each day, having each side of the Y maze be equal in length and width, and doing more trials. In the process of this experiment, we learned a lot about cockroaches that we had not known before. This experiment was a lot of fun and I would like to do another one like this in the future.

  6. Jack

    I was in Carl and Sam’s group, so I did the same experiment as them. It seemed like the cocharoach was drawn to the left side as shown in our control tests that had nothing in either side. It went to the left more than double the amount of times it went to the right. The female did seem to repel the male, as when the female was in the left, it went to the right occasionally, while when the female was in the right, the male never took that path.

  7. Marielle

    My groups experiment was to see if a cockroach would go to a wet side of the Y maze or the dry one. We thought it would go to the dry one because it would be more like the cockroach’s natural habitat. They live in the rainforest near river banks. The cockroach ended up going to both sides almost the same amount of time. Our experiment could have been improved by using the same cockroach both days. Our Y maze’s dry side was wider and the cockroach kept trying to crawl out that side.

  8. Joseph

    I was in the group with Amy. We put a wet paper towel on one arm of the Y maze, and a dry paper towel on the other arm of the Y maze. Our hypothesis was that the cockroach would go to the side with the wet paper towel because the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach’s natural habitat is in tropical rain forests near river banks. Our data showed that the cockroach didn’t really prefer a certain side because the amount of times it went to each side was almost equal. In fact, the cockroach would sit still, so we would have to slightly poke it to go, and when we poked it, it just ran to any side and tried to climb over the wall to escape the maze. Like Amy said, our results could have been more accurate, but we were only asked to do 30 trials and we used a different cockroach the second day of our experiment. Also, the arms of the Y maze were slightly off, which could’ve affected which side the cockroach wanted to go to. Before this experiment, I had a fear of cockroaches, but now I feel comfortable around them. Not only that, but I learned so much from this experience, while having so much fun! I would definitely recommend this experiment for anyone who has an interest in animals or insects.

  9. Rohit

    My group chose to do an experiment where we get to see if a male cockroach will go to the side with the female cockroach or go to the side with nothing. In our control the male cockroach preffered to go to the left more than the right. In most of our trials the male cockroach would go to the side with nothing to avoid the female cockraoch. One thing to make this experiment better is to make the sides of the Y maze the same width.

  10. Alec

    My group consisted of four members (Joseph, Amy, Marielle, and Myself. Our experiment was designed to test “when given the option of left or right in a Y maze, left side being moist, right being dry, which side would a cockroach elect to go to”. Our hypothesis was that the cockroach would elect to go to the left side of the Y maze because a cockroach’s natural habitat is located in tropic forests near river banks, and we thought that the moisture would simulate the cockroach’s natural habitat. As it turned out, there was not enough evidence to support our hypothesis. Though the cockroach did elect to go to the left more than the right, more trials are needed to significately prove that a cockroach would rather go to a left and moist side of a Y maze than a right and dry side of a Y maze. If our group were to do this experiment again, we would like to make the width of both sides of the Y maze equal. In our experiment, the right side had a bigger width than the left side, which might have influenced the cockroach to go to the right more times than what was expected. Our group had LOTS of fun doing this experiment, and we can’t wait for more exciting experiments in the future.

  11. Will Thornburg

    Cool experiment! BTW, Michael S’s comment, “we learned that not all cockroaches are disease-carrying vermin” cracked me up! :)

  12. Vincent

    In my group’s experiment we placed a male in on the right end of the y-maze and we placed a female at the beginning of the maze. Our data was inconclusive of whether the female wanted to go to the male or not. The Female went to the male 18 times and the female went to the side with nothing 17 times. We used two sets of cockroaches; being unsure whether they were the same animals may have altered the experiment.


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