This experiment will explore if magnetism has any effect on the regeneration abilities of flatworms.
-Does the presence of magnetism change flatworms’ ability to regenerate?
-Does the amount of magnetism make a difference?
Magnetism is one the most powerful forces in the universe, but it remains poorly understood. Because all organisms are made of a myriad of elements, it is possible a strong magnetic field might affect biological function.
- 30 flatworms (known as planaria, from biological supply company)
- 6 Petri dishes
- Baking sheet
- Spring water
- 84 Neodymium magnets of the same dimensions, though 21 should have a low field strength, another 21 should be a bit higher, and 42 should have a very high field strength.
- Place some fresh water into each Petri dish.
- Separate the flatworms into six different groups of five each, and put each group in its own Petri dish. Label the Petri dishes 1-6.
- Cut all the flatworms in dishes 1-4 in two. Put each on ice and then cut across the animal with the scalpel, creating a head and a tail section.
- Put all the flatworms back in their respective dishes.
- Make six different areas on the baking sheet (you may need more than one baking sheet). Put all the lowest strength magnets together. Do the same with the middle strength. Make two areas with the highest strength.
- Place Dish 1 on the lowest strength magnets. Place Dish 2 on the middle strength magnets. Place Dish 3 on the highest strength. Place Dish 4 on an area with no magnets. Do the same with Dish 5 (which should have whole flatworms). Place Dish 6 on the other area with highest strength magnets.
- Keep all the flatworms in a safe area at room temperature where they won’t be exposed to bright light or drafts. Keep the dishes covered and don’t try to feed them.
- Check on and photograph the flatworms every day. Note changes in size and progress in regeneration. Do this for two weeks.
- After two weeks, take final measurements of all the flatworms.
- Analyze this data. Did the magnets seem to have an effect on their ability to regenerate? Is there a relation between magnet strength and regeneration progress?
Concepts: magnetic fields, regeneration