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Choice Chamber


Difficulty Level: 2 fairly easy

Parts & Tools

  • Sturdy cardboard sheets or mounting board
  • Cardboard box or plastic tray
  • Petri dish lid
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Sticky tape
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • 4 x different habitat environments
  • Woodlice
  • Black paint and brush

Instructions

This guide shows how to construct a choice chamber. Choice chambers are used in biology lessons to see which habitat conditions specific animals prefer. The type used in schools usually consists of a clear plastic box which is divided into four or more separate sections. These can be purchased through most general lab suppliers.

This version is relatively easy to construct and could form part of a ?habitats? lesson or after school club.

Fig 1: Sturdy cardboard box or plastic tray
Fig 1: Sturdy cardboard box or plastic tray

Fig 1 shows a sturdy cardboard box or plastic tray. This forms the base of the choice chamber. A plastic tray is probably best if one or more of the habitats contains items that may be moist. A paper box is a good size for this and so can be cut down to the correct size. A wall height of 10-15cm is suitable.

Fig 2: Box with the lid of a Petri dish placed in the centre
Fig 2: Box with the lid of a Petri dish placed in the centre

Fig 2 shows the box with the lid of a Petri dish placed in the centre. This is glued into place. This will be the starting point for the woodlice and so it is important that the centre of the dish is an equal distance from each habitat. Use heavy cardboard, Corriflute or mounting board (the type with a layer or foam between two layers of board) to add four walls, dividing the base into four evenly sized areas. Glue these into place using a glue gun ensuring there are no gaps where woodlice could fit through.

Fig 3: Habitats in place
Fig 3: Habitats in place

Fig 3 shows the habitats in place. Each should be as different as possible. Habitats can include damp, dark, light, stony, sandy, woody, dry, cold or warm environments.

Fig 4: Some of the walls of the chamber painted black
Fig 4: Some of the walls of the chamber painted black

Fig 4 shows some of the walls of the chamber painted black. You can either paint some or all. The colour or brightness may have an effect on woodlice preference and so selective painting may be incorporated into some of the habitats.

Fig 5: Lid in place
Fig 5: Lid in place
Fig 6: Holes may be cut into the lid to create a brighter environment
Fig 6: Holes may be cut into the lid to create a brighter environment

Fig 5 Shows a lid in place. This can be simply cut from a piece of stiff card and should be easily removable. A hole needs to be cut in the centre, which when placed on the box, sits directly over the Petri dish lid. This is so you can place the woodlice into the chamber through the lid. Holes may be cut into the lid to create a brighter environment (Fig 6).

For more information about choice chambers, see our related pages:

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Disclaimer

Before attempting any of the construction projects featured on this website, ensure you have, and know how to use, the appropriate tools, components and safety equipment and are competent to undertake the project. These guides are for information only and we hold no responsibility for any accidents, injuries or damage caused by the use or misuse of any equipment, project or information contained within this website. In short - use common sense and stay safe!