Fall 2018 *STAR* Projects

Congratulations to Fall 2018 Star Project award-winning teams!

Sharing information and ideas to improve thinking for all is a very important part of science. In this section, we highlight a few exemplary research projects. We profile student teams at each age level whose overall research was strong, and who did an exceptional job at one or more aspects of science research and communication. The Star Projects listed on this page highlight some of the best projects nominated by our scientist mentors and teachers. Take a look at the hard work middle and high school students are doing around the world!

To go back to the Main Star Project Gallery, click here!

To see ALL PlantingScience Star Projects, click here!

Team Name Why is it a STAR project? How can other teams learn from what this team has done? School Category(ies) Nominated by:

El Dragon Fruities

This group did an exceptional job with communicating their project to their mentor, and following through with feedback provided by both their mentor and teacher. They planned and recorded their ideas very thoughtfully and scientifically, and showed a lot of growth in designing and carrying out a scientific investigation. This team consistently communicated with their mentor, keeping up the lines of communication through every stage of their project. They took great care to consistently design, execute, and communicate their investigation with precision. Live Oak School Planning Your Study, Online Communication, Recording Your Ideas Cathy Tinder, Teacher

10: ~ Los Planters ~

This team worked very well together, cooperating on all parts of the project, each person contributing with excitement and effort from beginning to end. They responded well to suggestions and help from their mentor and teacher, and also took the initiative, by adding their own great ideas to come up with a unique project they designed creatively and scientifically. Thinking scientifically and communicating scientifically made this team a stand out group and a great example of productive collaboration.   Live Oak School Planning Your Study, Doing Investigations, Making Sense of Findings, Making Presentations, Online Communication, Recording Your Ideas, Innovation: Going Beyond the PlantingScience Project Cathy Tinder, Teacher


1) This project has EXCELLENT communication between the students and mentor. They are very detailed in their posts and ask great questions. I also liked the fun back and forth that the students and mentor had when signing their names on the posts. 2) These students were open to learning about plants and enthusiastically talked about all aspects of plant life with me, including answering and asking insightful questions. They also came up with a very clever way to test their topic of interest after they had planted their seeds in different soil types and I brought up how they needed to isolate one test variable. They were also very cute, working as a team to write long posts, making up nicknames, etc. They were also very nervous that they'd ruined the test when one plant was uprooted, but they forged onward! 3) This team went above and beyond in their conversations with the mentor on their project. They went in depth on answers, and asked their mentor for more information than was required of the project. I was truly impressed with their communication skills. 1) I think this project gives the best example of how to communicate online with your mentor and have fun while doing so! Through these posts you can really tell that the students are enjoying their experiment. 2) Follow your curiosity and ask lots of questions! Feel free to point out what's weird about your experiment, what seems different between plants and animals, as this can spark really fun answers from your mentor. Use the interests that you have: art, acting, video games, sports, to connect with your material and develop affection for your plants, your project, and your mentor. 3) Other teams can take away the communication skills from this excellent team. They truly cared about this project and did a excellent job talking to and learning from their mentor. They were exceptionally professional and went above and beyond what was required for depth of answers in communication. Van-Far Jr./Sr. High School Doing Investigations, Making Sense of Findings, Online Communication, Recording Your Ideas, Planning Your Study 1) Cari Ritzenthaler, Scientist Mentor; 2) Jill Marzolino, Scientist Liaison; 3) Brenda Weiss, Teacher

Plants have mass, they matter!

1) The team has an active communication throughout the project season, the students were not only seeking for advice, but also showing their opinions in some of the discussion, the mentor replied promptly and provided detailed guidance such as the calculation method and never forgot to give the motivation wordings from time to time. 2) This group spent time researching the functions of Phytochrome B effects on the growth responses of plants. From this information they determined the need to compare white full spectrum light to responses of WT and mutants for phytochrome b gene in near and far red light. 3) This group developed a poster that beautifully portrayed their experiment to a general audience.   Glenbard East High School Making Sense of Findings, Recording Your Ideas, Making Presentations, Planning Your Study 1) Lindsey Foong, Scientist Liaison; 2) Karen Beardsley, Teacher

So you think you can plant?

This group designed a complex experiment that involved comparing the results of 2 different experiments. They tested the effects of the presence of abscisic acid on the WT and 2 different mutants in various water stress conditions. This required many plants! and the management of multiple setups. This group produced an excellent poster that portrayed the complexity of their research and the multiple results and conclusions.   Glenbard East High School Planning Your Study, Making Presentations Karen Beardsley, Teacher

The Dark Four

The students of group 3 always try their best to explore scientific points and use to make predictions as per their observations.   Magnolia Science Academy San Diego Doing Investigations, Online Communication Amina Yaqoob, Scientist Liaison

Herb Your Enthusiasm

These four students were persistent in trying to collect evidence for all reactants and products of photosynthesis. They felt like the leaf disk activity did a great job of showing that CO2, light and water are needed and that oxygen is produced. They wanted to concentrate on glucose as a product for their independent project. Josh was great in helping to guide their work. Herb Your Enthusiasm modeled the persistence needed to work in science. They wanted to collect evidence on both reactants and products of photosynthesis. Originally they wanted to design a project that would collect glucose, but with the help of their mentor, they decided on starch. They worked a trial during the school day to make sure their protocol would work and then stayed after school to collect the data. St. Joseph's Academy Doing Investigations Katie Lodes, Teacher

hthsrochefall2018 project 1

Of my ninth grade students who participated this semester, Leanne, Lily and Megan had the most sophisticated conversations with their mentor, Heidi, as they attempted to come up with an idea for an experiment. They are currently working out the specifics of an interesting study involving artificial selection of Brassica plants for expression of anthocyanin. Due to our research faculty experimenting with different scheduling patterns and groupings of freshman students that spanned class sections, Lily, Leanne and Megan had to work asynchronously to try and develop an idea worthy of investigation. They are still in the planning phases of this investigation, but I think that other teams might be interested to read parts of these preliminary conversations with their mentor, Heidi. High Technology High School Planning Your Study Michael T. Roche, Teacher

hvchsuclesfall2018 project 9

This group really thought outside the box to help answer their question. They used resources beyond school to carry out their experiments. They communicated often with their mentor and used them as a guide throughout the process. They made revisions based on their feedback to learn. Despite not having many results, they continued to make sense of them to explore their question deeply. There are a few key takeaways that can be learned from this group. These are the following qualities that led them to success on their project: never limit your curiosity- think outside the box to help you answer questions and design experiments; collaboration is key- utilize mentors, teachers, and your peers to help you understand and learn; and lastly, don't get discouraged- results from an experiment may not always turn out to be what you expect but that is the fun part about science and where we can learn the most! Hopewell Valley Central High School Planning Your Study, Making Sense of Findings, Making Presentations, Online Communication Stefanie Ribecca, Teacher

Look Through Previous Star Project Galleries:

Fall 2016 Star Projects Spring 2017 Star Projects Fall 2017 Star Projects
Spring 2018 Star Projects Fall 2018 Star Projects Spring 2019 Star Projects
Fall 2019 Star Projects Spring 2020 Star Projects Fall 2020 Star Projects
Spring 2021 Star Projects Fall 2021 Star Projects