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Table 3.

Some potential inquiry extensions of the termite activity.

QuestionExperimentNotes
Do soldier termites also follow ink trails? Repeat experiments with a group of soldiers. Soldiers follow odor trails well, often more persistently and reliably than workers. 
How long before a trail evaporates? Use lines traced at different times with the same pen. Many factors affect evaporation rates. Runcie (1987) also has reported that Reticulitermes produce different trails persisting from 15 minutes to a year. 
Do trails encode directional information? Cut a section of paper with an actively followed trail, reverse it, reconnect it, add termites. To date, little evidence for trail directionality has been discovered. 
How tight an angle can a termite follow successfully? Test termites on connected lines, varying the angle between them. Termites often overshoot trails that require an acute-angle turn. 
Do termites habituate to ink lines over time? Or does ink just “get old”? When termite wanders, move it to a newly drawn line. Does it begin to follow again? Accurate dating of ink is an important topic in crime cases involving things like ransom notes (see Cantu et al., 2004; Weyermann et al., 2007). 
What concentration of PE makes the best trail? Introduce PE as “invisible ink” (see Figure 1). Develop an operational definition of trail following (e.g., must follow for at least 10 cm). Additional science skills (performing math conversions, micropipetting, making serial dilutions, etc.) will be reinforced in this extension. 
QuestionExperimentNotes
Do soldier termites also follow ink trails? Repeat experiments with a group of soldiers. Soldiers follow odor trails well, often more persistently and reliably than workers. 
How long before a trail evaporates? Use lines traced at different times with the same pen. Many factors affect evaporation rates. Runcie (1987) also has reported that Reticulitermes produce different trails persisting from 15 minutes to a year. 
Do trails encode directional information? Cut a section of paper with an actively followed trail, reverse it, reconnect it, add termites. To date, little evidence for trail directionality has been discovered. 
How tight an angle can a termite follow successfully? Test termites on connected lines, varying the angle between them. Termites often overshoot trails that require an acute-angle turn. 
Do termites habituate to ink lines over time? Or does ink just “get old”? When termite wanders, move it to a newly drawn line. Does it begin to follow again? Accurate dating of ink is an important topic in crime cases involving things like ransom notes (see Cantu et al., 2004; Weyermann et al., 2007). 
What concentration of PE makes the best trail? Introduce PE as “invisible ink” (see Figure 1). Develop an operational definition of trail following (e.g., must follow for at least 10 cm). Additional science skills (performing math conversions, micropipetting, making serial dilutions, etc.) will be reinforced in this extension. 
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