Schenectady County

Schenectady biology students find animals prefer classical music to rock

Apparently, animals don’t like rock music.


Apparently, animals don’t like rock music.

That was one of the conclusions of a project that students at Schenectady High School’s International Baccalaureate biology class have been working on to study animal behavior. Students paired up to perform experiments to see how the rabbits, ducks, hamsters, birds, chickens and other animals respond to colors and sounds.

Eighteen-year-old senior Shannon Gorman was doing a study with a parakeet named Wilson. They played “The Nutcracker Suite” and then a rock song.

“The times we played the Nutcracker, he likes to sing to it,” she said. “He tends to move closer to the music and with the rock, he tends to stay still.”

Gorman said it is interesting how different animals respond to different things.

Senior Sarah Williams, 18, was doing a similar experiment with a guinea pig named Margaret. They put on pop, Latin and rock music. “She doesn’t like rock. She just stays there and she doesn’t move,” she said. “I think she was scared of it because it was so loud.”

Maybe not all animals are affected by music. Marissa Drake, 18-year-old senior, said it did not seem to matter to two hamsters whether they played country, rhythm and blues and Broadway tunes.

Other students tested other types of animal behavior. Seniors Catie Szymanoski and Gaby Morris, both 17, were working on a project to study how long it takes ducks to come back together after being separated.

“I think it’s interesting to observe animals, especially animals you don’t see every day,” Morris said.

Another project involved chickens. Courtney Thiessen, 17, was among those studying what objects interested chickens the most. The objects included a marble and a magnifying class. She said she enjoyed working on the project.

“I like that it’s really helping us to be more responsible with other creatures,” she said.

Morris said she plans study pre-medicine at the University of Rochester with a focus in biology.

Teacher Nancy Sagendorf said the students took their IB exam a couple of weeks ago and now this project gives them a chance to design their own experiments and gain valuable experience in collecting data.

Categories: Schenectady County

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