Chemotaxis using C. elegans

Ever wondered what roundworms like? Or what they don't like? Explore the sensory preferences of C. elegans through this controlled chemotaxis experiment. Biology class members brainstorm what substances might attract — or repel — the nematodes and observing the outcome. To make it even easier, it includes detailed instructions and a materials list.

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Instructional Ideas
  • Provide some background information on C. elegans if pupils are not familiar with the species, or with round worms in general
  • Ensure the substances used as attractants/repellents are safe for use within the high school lab setting, as well as safe for the worms that are participating in the tests
Classroom Considerations
  • Plan at least two days for completing the lab, questions, and lab report
  • Procure the roundworms, as well as all other needed materials, in advance using the materials guide
  • This resource is only available on an unencrypted HTTP website. It should be fine for general use, but don’t use it to share any personally identifiable information
Pros
  • Procedure is an interesting way to examine the likes and dislikes of a roundworm species in a controlled setting
  • Learners can pick their own attractants/repellents, which affords them research opportunities prior to the lab
  • The explanations are detailed and step-by-step, and include additional questions and notes for a perfect execution
Cons
  • None