Plant Popping Botanists

Project by group mhsschellingspring2019

Info

Explore Before our experiment, we didn't know a whole lot about plants besides that they go through photosynthesis. Through background research, we have learned that plants play an ecological role in agroecosystems. Beyond this, plans play important roles in the production of food, recycling of...
Research Question We decided to test if plants grow better in a biodiverse culture or if they grow better in a monoculture.
Predictions Before our experiment, our hypothesis was...
Experimental Design Our plan was to set up three trials with three seeds. We used Pearl Millet, Peas, and Nasturtium. First, we germinated the seeds for about a week. After they germinated, we planted each specie in their own pot, along with planting all three species together in one pot. Over the course of 22 days,...
Conclusion What claim can we make from our experiment? What are possible explanations for our results? How do the data we collected and our reasoning with scientific ideas support our claim? What future experiments could be done to expand on the results of this experiment?
Investigation Themes
Class Level

Updates

Get to know your team’s scientist mentor, who will encourage and guide you through the scientific process of discovery. The more you share your ideas and research info, the more your mentor can help. You may also hear from a scientist mentor liaison who will be helping all the teams in your class.
PlantingScience Staff
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Jade
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Taylore
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Jade
said

We have taken the final data of all of our plants. We support our hypothesis, since the Nasturtium in the community box didn't grow at all, and the pea plants also weren't as tall as they were in the box that they were in alone. 

 

We would really like to thank you for helping us through this project and always responding promptly. You were very helpful with giving us resources and helping us decide which project we wanted to choose. The questions you asked always kept us on track and had us thinking a step ahead! Thank you so much again!

    Emily Blair
    said

    Great! That's so exciting that you were able to see such strong differences - well designed experiments I guess! :) 

    I'm so happy to have been helpful - good luck with future experiments!!

PlantingScience Staff
said
Looks like you are in the final stages of your projects.
It’s great to see that teams from your school are wrapping up and posting conclusions. Enjoy the final stages of your project, and feel free to post any final comments or questions you have for your mentors.
Jade
said

We haven't found anything biological to explain it yet, but we were looking into further research. 

 

We have measured the length of the plants about every 2-3 days, along with leaf sizes. We think we're going to show our data with a dot plot. 

Jade
said

We think the main reason that Nasturtium hasn't grown in the community boxes is because it's closer to other plants, but it could possibly be because it has more water. The Nasturtium has sprouted and grown in the pots where it was planted alone. 

    Emily Blair
    said

    Oh cool - that's a really interesting finding! Do you have any ideas about the biological reason why the Nasturtium isn't growing when it's closer to the other species? 

    How is your data collection going? Any problems or questions? If not, have you thought about how you want to show your data? For example, a dot plot versus a bar chart, etc. 

Jade
said

Our pea plants have been growing very well! They have all sprouted in every contained and have reached up to 13.5 cm! The pearl millet plant has only been growing in one of our community boxed and just started growing alone in one of the singular boxes. The Nasturtium hasn't grown at all in any of the community boxes.. but it just started growing it it's own box, which you can see in one of the photos below!

    Emily Blair
    said

    Nice they look great!! Have you thought about why Nasturtium hasn't grown in the community boxes?

Jade
uploaded IMG-6583.JPG and 5 more files in project files
Taylore
said

Our plants sprouted over the weekend! We decided to measure their height in centimeters while using a ruler. So far, the plants in the community box are growing better than the ones planted alone. One possible confounding variable could be the size of the different containers that we planted our seeds in. 

    Emily Blair
    said

    Awesome! It's exciting when you finally have data to collect!! Yea good point, I was also thinking that the amount of water/plant could be different based off the size of the container. This could affect plant growth. 

Emily Blair
said

Nice it looks good! Have you thought about how you're going to measure the plants? Have you considered any confounding variables in your experiment?

Tori
said

Today we put our germination plants into soil. We have 3 trials of everything (community, and alone). For our community, we used a disposable baking pan, and for our single trials we just used disposable planting cups. I attached pictures of our set-ups and will continue to take pictures as they sprout.

Tori
uploaded IMG_0550.jpg, IMG_0551.jpg in project files
Emily Blair
said

How are your plants growing so far? Have you noticed anything interesting about your different plots yet - the qualitative variables may be easier to assess at the beginning of your experiment. How are you making sure that your constants are truly constants? For example, are you giving a specific amount of water to each plot?

Jade
uploaded Research Design Template.pdf in project files
    Emily Blair
    said

    I think your research design looks really great! Keep in mind that you'll only be able to measure roots at the very end of your trial so it's harder to measure changes over the growing period with this variable. You might also consider measuring days to flowering or number of fruit produced since these are both associated with yield. You could also measure the height or width of your plants on a weekly basis to determine if there is a specific part of the growing period that is affected by proximity to other plants. 

Jade
said

We have decided to go forward with the biodiversity idea. How many trails do you recommend? 

    Emily Blair
    said

    Nice! Sorry for the delay - I forgot to respond when I saw your message last week. I think at least 3 replicates is generally pretty good. Sometimes I like to do a fourth if it won't add a lot of work so that in case one of the replicates fails, then you will still have 3 good ones.

Tori
said

Hi Emily! my name is Victoria and i am also a senior at Medford. My hobbies include Riding horses, and spending time with my animals. I am excited to be working with you! 

    Emily Blair
    said

    Hi nice to meet you! Hope the project is going well so far!

Jade
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Jade
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Jade
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Tori
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Hi Emily! my name is Victoria and i am also a senior at Medford. My hobbies include Riding horses, and spending time with my animals. I am excited to be working with you! 

Jade
said

Do you know if there's any research to back up either of our ideas? We're having trouble finding some. 

PlantingScience Staff
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Jade
said

Hi! I'm Jade and I am also a senior at Medford High School. I am in student council and I enjoy horseback riding and spending time with all of my pets! 

 

I look forward to working with you on this project!

    Emily Blair
    said

    Hi Jade! That sounds really cool. Nice to meet you :)

Jade
said

We have two ideas at the moment and we were wondering what your thoughts or opinions on them would be.

1. Community planting: We wanted to plant some soybeans, tomatoes, and radishes. So for Box A we would have just soybeans. Box B we would have just tomatoes. Box C we would have just radishes. And finally, in Box D, we would have one soybean, one tomato, and one radish. We would water all of the plants the same amount of water and give them the same amount of sunlight and we would look to see if the plants grew better together with their own specie, or with other species. 

2. An experiment on nitrogen fertilizers would be our second idea. Since plants need nitrogen to grow healthy stems and leaves, we thought this would be interesting. We would compare plants grown without nitrogen fertilizer to plants grown with nitrogen fertilizer. 

    Emily Blair
    said

    Both ideas are great!! 

    Idea 1: I think this could be really cool. It's a straightforward (and elegant IMO) experimental design, which will make your lives much easier so that you can focus more on how you want to measure your plants and analyze your data. I think this is also really relevant when thinking about farming practices in the US. In the US, we use mostly a monoculture approach to farming. Monoculture is when you only plant one crop in a field at a time, so this would correspond to your Boxes A-C. Box D would then be testing a biodiversity approach. I think your results could be really interesting with this experiment!

    Idea 2: This is also a really interesting and relevant question. Nitrogen run-off is a huge contributor to polluted waterways, and Nitrogen itself is a limiting factor in plant growth. This project requires a little more research and background understanding of the N fertilizer you're using. For example, how much N are you going to add?, what is a relevant level of N in a field?, how would you scale that down to your plants?, etc. I also expect there could be more confounding factors unless you are adding pure N. For example, there could be other minerals that could confound your results that are in the commercial fertilizer that you choose. 

    I think both ideas are really excellent. I'm really excited to work with you on whichever project you decide to pursue! Do you have any questions about either idea so far?

Jade
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Taylore
said

Hello! My name is Taylore and I'm a senior at Medford High School. I'm in student council and I enjoy spending time outside, swimming, and watching movies. What are some of your hobbies?

I look forward to working with you!

    Emily Blair
    said

    Hi Taylore,

    You sound like you're very busy! I hope you're enjoying your senior year.

    For my hobbies, I like playing tennis although I haven't played in awhile. I go to the gym with a group of friends, and generally like hanging out and going out with my friends. We live fairly close to San Diego and the LA beaches so I love when I get the chance to spend the day at the beach. My boyfriend and love to travel when possible. I studied abroad in Italy when I was a sophomore in college, and we traveled around Europe after we graduated. I'm also a huge Harry Potter nerd - I'm currently rewatching the movies with a friend, although the books are obviously better! And lastly I like gardening, but ironically I always kill my plants at home!

Emily Blair
said

Hi all!

I'm Emily. I'm a 3rd year PhD student at UC Riverside (near LA). I'm in the Botany and Plant Science department, and I study the circadian clock and temperature stress in plants. For undergraduate, I went to Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA, where I majored in Biology. I'm looking forward to working with you on your science projects! 

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PlantingScience Staff
said

Welcome to your PlantingScience project page!

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Kelly Pfeiler
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Kelly Pfeiler
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