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Using Carnivorous Plants in Science Projects
Trigger Timing & Speed of Trap Closure in the Venus Flytrap

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Venus Flytrap VFT trigger hair
Venus Flytrap and closeup of Trigger Hair

Purpose: to determine if trigger timing affects the speed of Venus Flytrap closure.

Materials:
Venus Flytrap plants
pencil
stop watch

Procedure:

  1. Examine a Venus Flytrap carefully and locate the trigger hairs on the trap.
  2. You will be given a time interval to wait between touching a trigger hair twice. Touch one trigger hair once, then wait the correct time and touch the trigger hair again. As soon as you touch the trigger hair the second time, use a stop watch to measure the time it takes the trap to close. Repeat this with as many traps as possible. Record your results.
  3. Find the average closing time from your results.
  4. Collect the data from your classmates and make a class data table of Trigger Time versus Closing Time
  5. Prepare a graph of the class results.

Data Tables:

Trigger Time Delay: ____________
Trial #
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total
Average
Closing Time
Trigger Time Delay: ____________
Trial #
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total
Average
Closing Time
Trigger Time Delay: ____________
Trial #
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total
Average
Closing Time
Trigger Time Delay: ____________
Trial #
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total
Average
Closing Time
Trigger Time Delay: ____________
Trial #
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
Total
Average
Closing Time

Class Results

Trigger Time
Closing Time

Questions:

  1. What relationship do you find between trigger time and closure time for Venus Flytraps? Explain.
  2. What is the trigger time for the fastest trap closing?
  3. What survival advantages might this trigger time have for the Venus Flytrap?
  4. Did your conduct a fair test? Explain.
  5. Describe another question you could explore about a Venus Flytrap and how you could go about testing it.

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