The Great Race

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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Finding a project that interests you is half the battle of science fair. My current interest is animal science. My project examines the intelligence of animals such as mice, rats, and hamsters. The hypothesis I made was that the smartest animal will complete the maze the first time and will be able to complete it faster the second time. I used a food product called Cheese Wedges as the bait. I placed the bait at the end of the maze so that the animals would have an incentive to reach the finish.

The next step was to test the animals through the maze. If it hadn't been for Eric, Sean, and Pat at the PetsMart in Arlington, this project would not have gone as smoothly. They were all thrilled to help me with the small animals. To make sure I had the best results possible, I used two individuals from each species and ran them each through the maze twice.

What happens if the animal stops and won't finish the maze? When devising the experiment procedure, I planned for this and decided to place a 300 second, or five minute, time limit on each animal. This means that if the animal didn't complete the maze within 300 seconds, they would be pulled out. My conclusion is that mice are most intelligent of the animals tested because they finished the maze the first time and ran faster on the second try.