This activity page will offer:
Opportunity to construct a sensitive listening platform
in which to detect walking sounds of a cricket
Patter of Cricket Feet
In this activity, you'll construct a device capable of detecting
miniscule impacts of cricket feet. As the animal walks across a
sheet of paper, the vibration energy of tiny impacts is transferred
to a microphone. An electronic circuit amplifies this signal and
produces an audible version of the sound. For those with access
to sound processing software, the "signature" of the cricket's walk
can be further analyzed and studied.
Sound processing software (optional)
NOTE:Use only laboratory maintained crickets for this activity.
(For the set-up)
- Set a clean coffee mug in the center of a clear desktop.
- Place a microphone in the mug so that the sound detecting element
- Attach the cord of the microphone to the microphone-input jack
of a boombox or other type of amplified audio system.
- Use a thin smear of petroleum jelly to form a large ring in
the center of a sheet of plain paper.
- Position the paper (jelly side up) on microphone's sound detecting
element. 6. Build up a stack of books at both ends of the paper.
The paper should rest on the tops of these stacks. Make sure that
the middle of the paper remains in physical contact with the microphone.
- Have your instructor place a laboratory cricket within the central
- Turn up the volume of the boombox. Can you hear the sound of
the cricket as it walks over the paper? How would you describe
it? Can you detect a rhythm or pattern to the sound?
- Connect the microphone cord to the sound input jack of a computer.
Adjust the volume of the speakers. Can you hear still hear the
footsteps of the cricket?
- Open a sound-processing program. Input the cricket sound into
the program. Display the "footprint" of the signal. Can you identify
a pattern in the sound that corresponds to the animal's movement?
- When you are finished with this experiment, have your instructor
remove the cricket. Wash
your hands and laboratory bench top thoroughly.
- Why was it critical to keep the paper in direct physical contact
with the microphone?
- What was the purpose of the petroleum jelly?
- Was the connection between the observed sounds and the insect's
leg movements obvious?
Does singing play a role in human courtship behavior? If so, how?
What makes a song "sexy"? What are the qualities that make a voice
"sexy"? How much of this is societal and how much is part of our
genetic baggage? Think about it and then compose song that addresses
these issues. Use the lyrics to describe singing styles and their
relationship to successful and unsuccessful courtship.
Write a humorous short story in which a jumping spider in search
of a mate decides to "cruise" the local insect dance bars. Remember
to introduce real facts about the mating behavior of spiders and
other insects. As a connection to another show segment, you might
want to include bees doing the tail-waging dance.
Unlike the web-weaving varieties, the jumping spiders actively hunt
for their prey. Since they don't depend upon a web, they must rely
on other adaptations for success. Research the different adaptations
of jumping spiders. Present a selection of these successful strategies
to your class in an oral report. Use models to help communicate
what you have learned about jumping spider adaptations.
A collection of insect sound files
Spiders by Habitat
A photo gallery of jumping spiders that live in North America
capture and mating behavior in jumping spiders belonging to the
A scientific paper on prey capture and mating behavior of jumping
Advisors for this Guide:
Suzanne Panico, Science Teacher Mentor, Cambridge Public Schools,
Anne E. Jones, Science Department, Wayland Middle School, Wayland,
Gary Pinkall, Middle School Science Teacher, Great Bend Public Schools,
Great Bend, KS