Using the robin fledglings, we're going to look at their cognitive development by putting them through a series of tests to see how clever they are!
What really struck me today was the science thinking that went on before we even went into the bush to start the tests. It really made me think about how careful you need to be when planning any kind of science investigation. The protocol (or at school we call it the method) was very detailed and carefully thought through. The importance of fairness and working consistently and systematically was obvious. It was great to have the opportunity to talk through setting up an experiment and the importance of getting it right.
Latu started by weighing the bird (she was just checking to see they were healthy).
Then she put out a little wooden box with six holes drilled into the box. She laid one mealworm into four holes - she did all of this while the little robin was close by watching. The lid to each hole was placed next to the hole. Then we stepped back and timed. The robin had three minutes to get at least 3 out of the 4 mealworms. This is the first level of the tests which get progressively more difficult. To pass a level, they have to do the level correctly three out of the five trials each day.
There was a lot to think about and it was great to be there to see the first robin giving it a go. It will be interesting to compare results.