Learning to Talk With Animals - Science Fair Project Idea

Fun Pet Activities for Kids

Talking with animals. It is a wish that most kids make. However, is it possible? To find out, kids can complete this science fair project on animals language.

The Topic/Hypothesis
Every good science fair project begins with a good topic and hypothesis. For this science fair project the topic is animal language and the hypothesis is that vocalizations and body language queues can be used to understand basic dog language.

The Experiment
Now that a hypothesis has been established the next step is to create an experiment. To do this the variables for the project have to be identified. For this project the independent variable will be the vocalization/body language selected, and the dependent variable will be the predictions made about the meaning of the vocalization or body language.
The first stage of this experiment will be to make observations about a single dog for the duration of one or two weeks. During this observation period the student will videotape the dog. These video sessions need to focus on capturing the dog’s vocalization and body language, particularly the way the dog utilizes its eyes when communicating and interacting with other dogs and animals (including humans). After the observation period is over the student will review his or her notes and make a set of predictions about what a select number of vocalizations and body language queues mean.

The next step is to test your predictions. For example, you may have predicted that a dog will wag its tail when it is wants something, like a treat or to go outside. You will test this prediction by pointing to something and asking the dog if it would like the item. The confirmation that a tail wag means, “yes, I want that,” will be used to verify other predictions that you make.

The next step is to make a prediction about eye contact and indications that the dog wants something. In this step you will set out a variety of items on a shelf where the dog can see and smell each item, but cannot get to it. You will then ask the dog what it wants. You will watch the dog’s eyes and see if it focuses on anything in particular. Once an item is locked onto you will point and ask the dog if it wants the item. You will wait for a tail wag to confirm a yes or no. This will tell you if your prediction was correct. Keep a log that chronicles the observations that you make about your dog’s behavior.

Thanks to SciFairLady for this article!