Tending to a controlled experiment is no small task. Every morning during our personal project time our young scientists get to work watering their plants and entering measurements into their spreadsheets. By the time park rolls around the students are scrambling to clean up and begging to stay in and continue their work. Last week the students set up their experiments taking care to keep all of the variables constant. While they waited for their seeds germinated under the soil they created spreadsheets. When their seeds finally poked their heads above the soil the excitement at seeing results was captivating. Here is a snapshot of what each student in my personal project group is doing
Going into this project phase Lola was really interested in bugs and how they interact with plants. She decided to create a controlled experiment to test the effect worms have on plant growth and soil moisture. In her experimental design she made sure to include redundancy in her test groups. She carefully measured equal weights of soil for 3 control containers without worms and 3 test groups with worms. She plans to observe the plant growth over time and measure and compare the weight of the soil at the end of the experiment.
Amiya, is interested in how plants orient themselves. He is a planing to grow plants in two experimental groups. One where the container is upright and one container is on its side. He is going to document the growth of the plant with pictures, drawings and observations. He has discovered that so far his hypothesis is being confirmed.
Bruno was interested in creating a controlled experiment from the start. From his many ideas he chose to investigate the role bacteria plays in plant growth. He is going to treat one experimental group with antibiotics, another with probiotics and leave the last one untreated as a control.
Patrick knew what he wanted to do from the start. He was interested in how plants are affected by different light sources. He is going to grow one plant under a black light, another under an incandescent light and the last group in sunlight.
Freddie is very interested in organic farming. She is taking on a whole lot for her personal project phase. Not only is she setting up a controlled experiment to see how organic fertilizer compares to organic fertilizer she is also doing a research project about the environmental and human impact of conventional farming.
Huxley and Zev are interested in how plants will grow in a post apocalyptic world. They researched some of the changes that our water supply might undergo in the future. They will be subjecting their seeds to salt solution, carbonic acid, detergent solution and a mixture of all of these solutions. They are interested to see the threshold at which seeds cease to grow.
Natasha and Lucy love writing and loved the stories they read in Seed Folks. They are planning on writing two more chapters each in the style of the book. To prepare their declaration they re-read and analyzed several chapters in order to find similar themes and patterns. They discovered that every chapter introduces the character and their family in a way that sets up some sort of challenge or area of growth. The character then does something to contribute to the garden and is in turn transformed by their participation in the garden. In their outlines for their chapters the girls identified a conflict or challenge that each of their characters has and how they change through the garden.