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ETD 5: A. Why is this goose nest full of strange objects? + B. What were your findings from the Betta Lab?
September 30, 2013 at 3:34pm


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Makaila Heifner
October 18, 2015 at 6:29pm

Parent: I thought these examples were interesting. When Makaila explained that geese will "roll" objects into their nests, I thought she may be kidding. I thought it was kind of funny and interesting that they would do that.

Student: Going over this ETD, it made me recall the roll of Fixed Action Patterns in organisms and how that increases their fitness. I had to recall how both geese and beta fish have FAP and what sign stimulus made this happen. 

Calista Moore
November 02, 2015 at 5:55pm


Calista taught me about the goose fixed action pattern, where by instinct it rolls any smooth & dense objects (similar to an egg) into it's nest.  She explained how this fits within the theory of evolution/survival of the fittest.  She further clarified that the goose does not need to evolve further since this fixed action pattern does not cause harm, whereas if it were to fail to roll it's own eggs into it's nest it would be harmed.  She also explained the importance of having a control group for the beta lab, and explained how habituation may have occurred when the beta became used to some of the stimuli.  



I came up with more examples of sign stimuli and fixed action pattern to help explain the goose's instinct to roll objects into its nest. I explained what fitness is and explained how it relates to fixed action patterns and instincts as well as that the goose rolls anything into its nest because it doesn't hurt its survival. I then connected these ideas to the betta lab and why the two sign stimuli (movement and the color red) make sense for the betta to become aggressive. Then, I explained the importance of controlled variables to ensure the experiments' validity and explained examples as well as I described how to use a control group for comparison and connected that to the coot lab that we previously talked about. I explained what habituation is and came up with everyday examples for that as well.

Lauren Masters
November 25, 2015 at 12:12pm

Parent: I thought all the objects had something in common and I was correct; the characteristics of an egg. I also had predicted the Bettas would be more active if they thought they were interacting with another Betta fish. Yay me!

Student: My mom was able to guess why the strange objects were in the nest. She found the reason why to make a lot of sense. She also knew about aggression of Betta fish because we used to have one.

Alex Gibbs
January 03, 2016 at 1:14pm

Parent: Alex explained that fixed action pattern is behavior that is ingrained over time in the gooses DNA.  It means the goose is compelled to bring back eggs and egg like objects back to the nest to increase chances of survival and reproduction and thus increasing fitness. Betta fish have a fixed action pattern to protect their territory from other Betta fish. In the class experiment this pattern was most acute when the "fake" fish moved directly towards the Betta fish or by the color red.

Student: I explained, to my mom, how objects that were dense and smooth ended up in the goose's nest, then we had a conversation about sign stimulus, fixed action pattern and fitness. We then applied our knowledge to the big ideas of the Betta fish experiment. I also spoke to her about how important it is to have controlled variables in an experiment to increase validity.

Kate Freeman
January 10, 2016 at 10:49am

Parent: Today I learned that the sign stimuli of how dense and smooth an object is leads to the goose's fixed action pattern of rolling the object into it's nest. The goose's instinct tells it to roll the objects into the nest to increase the survival and reproduction and therefor the overall fitness of the goose and it's offspring. She then explained how the fixed action pattern of Beta fish is responding aggressively to movement and the color red.

Student: I explained to my dad how the goose used sign stimuli to roll dense and smooth objects that resembled eggs into its nest. I then discussed how the rolling of these objects into the nest was an example of fixed action pattern which is used to increase survival and reproduction, acting as the economy model. this pattern does not harm the goose's survival therefore the action doesn't have to further evolve. II then connected these ideas of sign stimuli to the Beta lab in which the fish's fixed action pattern is responding  aggressively to the sign stimuli of movement and the color red. I continued to name other variables the Betas responded to. Reviewing these concepts helped me remember how important control variables are in experiment and allowed me t go over ap examples of fitness.

Adam Wulfing
January 18, 2016 at 8:16pm

Parent:  Picture of gooses nest was full of strange random objects.  Explanation is that gooses inherent response is to roll anything that looks like an egg into the nest.  Adam didn't have a name for the behavior other than "Stimulus / Response".  Similarly, Beta fish have many stimuli, as in many different triggers to become aggressive in order to kill other males to have the best chance to reproduce.  These are both considered the same habit.

Student:  It's good to review this and connect it to our current genetics unit because it heavily interests me to think about the behavior that results in genetic mutations and selections.

Brody Magbaleta
November 05, 2017 at 8:08pm

Parent: The lesson started with a goose, a baseball, a light bulb, a cracked egg and a wooden box. At first I thought this was a riddle but ended up learning about sign stimuli. Sign stimuli is where each of those objects are familiar to the animal (in this case a goose) and reacts to those objects based on instinct. Also learned this is similar to a fix action pattern such as when a beta fish sees red it reacts aggressively to protect its territory.

Student: I explained to my dad how when the goose rolled objects such as the baseball and the light bulb into the nest, it was because of sign stimulus. The objects were smooth and dense which was similar to an egg. The goose rolled them into the nest because of their fixed action pattern which is their instinct which is in their genes. This is similar to the Betta experiment because the Betta's sign stimuli was movement when it sees the color red. This then leads to the fixed action pattern of being aggressive. It is interesting to think about why animals behave in certain ways.

Jacob Michaels
November 12, 2017 at 11:20am

Parent- Anything close enough to the size and shape of an egg will get rolled into the nest.  This is called a fixed action pattern.  The geese believe it is an egg and it is instinctual to protect the eggs to increase fitness.

Stimulus for a betta is any kind of movement plus the color red.  They have a fixed action pattern of aggression.

Student- I taught my dad about how Geese are not very smart but have instincts to increase the survival of their species, which is why anything and everything even remotely close to an egg will be rolled into the nest. I also taught him about the betta lab and how the fish show a fixed action pattern of aggression towards movement and the color red in particular.

Joey Ribera
January 01, 2018 at 1:54pm

Parent: This goose relies on a couple of behaviors when filling up its nest. First, it has sign stimuli which means it will think an object is its egg if its smooth and dense. Also this type of behavior is a fixed action pattern because its instinct to add these into its nest. The reasoning being that if more of its offspring survive then this means higher reproduction.

The big ideas of the beta lab was that red and movement were a stimuli that caused aggression.

Student: I thought my parents about the fixed action pattern to collect all of these objects. The goose does this out of instinct to increase the survival of offspring. Also, the beta lab was a nice review fixed action patterns and how in the case of the beta lab, movement and red causes aggressive behavior. 

Kaelynn Leick
January 22, 2018 at 4:53pm

Parent: My daughter taught me about why a goose nest can be full of strange objects. This is because there fixed action pattern and the objects are similar to eggs. This increases the babies chance of survival because the mother will continue to put the egg back into nest even if it's not an egg. She also explained the big ideas of the beta lab which is their fixed action patterns. 

Student: I explained to my mom what a fixed action pattern is, an instinctive behavior action made by animals and that can differ over time. I explained that a sign stimulus is a thing that elicits the fixed action pattern. The sign stimulus, in this case, is a goose moving eggs back into the nest and the fixed action pattern is rolling the egg or anything that looks like an egg back into the nest. I also taught them that the bettas sign stimulus is movement and red color and their fixed action pattern is aggression. I taught them how HONCPSS stands for hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur and sulfur again. These things are organic chemistry and they are the secret of life. 

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