Of Mice and a Maze: Students learn from mice in six week-long project

*Feature Photo: Alice the mouse runs a complicated maze at the RHS English I Reclass on Friday morning. (Pitchengine Communities) * (Riverton, Wyo.) - Alma Law's English I Reclass at Riverton High School learned some lessons they can use in their lives thanks to a couple of mice. Alice and Faye, the mice, were the subjects of the classes' Flowers for Algernon Project which was sparked by the book of the same name. The students, Colton Patterson, Castor James, Taylor Chavez, Gabi Buffalo and Makayla Russell, built two mazes for the mice and then timed their performance in making it through the two over a six week period. "The first week was a bit of a disaster as the mice didn't like being handled and they were confused what the maze was about," Law said. "But after we made them a "safe" house and adjusted the maze just a bit, they began to perform well." [image: Inline image 1] *The students are, from left, Colton Patterson, Gabi Buffalo, Taylor Chavez, Castor James and instructor Alma Law. Not pictured is Makala Russell, who was absent this day. (Pitchengine Communities) * *Lessons learned* Patterson said what he learned from the six-week-long program of running the mice through the mazes was consistency. "They got faster and faster when they had a chance to run the maze often. They learned quicker by doing the hard maze first." Buffalo said the fastest time recorded was by Alice who made it through the maze in four seconds at the end. Chavez said the average time for the mice was about 12 seconds. Castor compared the mice's progress to a video game. "The more intense the drill, the better they excelled at the end of the test," he said. "I learned that the harder the work you do in school, the easier the homework becomes, just like Alice did in the second, or easiest, maze," said Chavez. Buffalo said her experience watching the mice was like training her puppy at home. "When the puppy was disciplined for peeing in the house it was hard, but then it became easier," she said. At first the students tried food rewards to get the mice through the complicated maze. "But we found that food didn't work," Law said. "nothing motivated them more than having a safe place at the end, so we made a little safe house for them at the end of the maze." The students said they knew cheese was not a good food to entice them, so they tried Cheerios and then peanut butter. They liked the safety and security of their little home than the food, though, the students said. [image: Inline image 2] Alice runs the hard maze. (Pitchengine Communities) #county10 #news