The A-Team

Project by group chsgastonfall2016project

Info

Explore Plants are green from the chlorophyll in the chloroplasts and they perform photosynthesis, and then cellular respiration to produce oxygen in the air, for us to breathe. We have discovered that plants make glucose via photosynthesis then the glucose produced from photosynthesis is used in...
Research Question We want to test how different colors of light affect the rate of photosynthesis. We came up with the question by compiling 2 other questions with it and selecting the best one. The question fits what we know about the topic by telling us how different light wavelengths affect photosynthesis.
Predictions In the blue light, everything floats, and in the yellow light, very few float. This will happen, because in blue light, the plants absorb most of that light, and in the yellow light, they won't absorb as much of the light. In the red light most of the leaf disks will float because plants absorb a...
Experimental Design 1. Prepare three beakers with 100 mL of distilled water and a pinch of baking soda. 2. Punch holes in spinach leaves to create leaf disks. 3. Infiltrate the leaf disks to remove any oxygen. 4. Cellophane bags (red, blue, and yellow) will be placed over the beakers. 4a. One beaker will have...
Conclusion The colored light sources affected photosynthesis by affecting how many leaf disks floated. The disks in the yellow and red light had more floating, whereas the disks in the blue light had one disk floating. The red light is absorbed more by plants, but yellow is supposed to not be absorbed as...

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
has been updated by administrator
Juliana
said

Dear Julia,    

Thank you so much for helping us with this project, we hope it will become a success. You have helped us greatly with this, and for that we say thank you. We will miss you, even though I was not able to talk to you as much as I would have liked to. You seem like a great scientist, and a great person in general. I hope you will have a great time there, and that you will be able to help multiple people, and make this world better. I wish you will stay strong, and that you know that what you have helped us with means the world to us. You will truly be missed by Anthony, Anna, and I. Goodbye.

-Juliana

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Juliana,

    Your kind words have lifted my spirits in this difficult week our nation is having. I'm so glad that I had the opportunity to interact with you and your teammates. Science is my passion and sharing that with young people is one of the most important things I do. There are so many problems we will face due to climate change in the coming century, and it's people who are my age and your age that will have to deal with it. So, yes, I will stay strong and do my best to make the world a better place and I encourage you all to do the same! I know it may seem like you can't do much at this point in your life, but that doesn't mean you can't start preparing yourself. Learn as much as you can about the world around you. Ask as much as you can about the world around you. Keep an open mind. Be willing to admit when you're wrong, but stand up for yourself when you're right. These attributes are what helps make a great scientist, but are also things that I think everyone should strive for.

    I've such an awesome time working with you, Anna, and Anthony. You've impressed me and I'm so proud of the work you've done. :)

    -Julia

Anthony
said

The inevitable has come and it is time to say goodbye. Thank you, Julia, for helping us through the experiments and processes. Thank you for taking time out of your life to help us. I'm not that good at this kind of stuff, so goodbye.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    You're welcome, Anthony! It was a pleasure to interact with you and your teammates. You easily rank among the top Planting Science teams I've ever worked with. I really appreciate all of your hard work and communication, and I think that no matter what career path each of you decides to take in the future, scientist or not, the skills you've demonstrated (critical thinking, curiosity, clarity of thought) and your enthusiasm will serve you very well. :)

Julia Chapman
said

I saw your conclusions posted on the info page. You did an excellent job interpreting your findings and comparing them to your hypothesis and prediction. I must say that I'm not too surprised that it turned out this way. When I teach photosynthesis to freshman students here at UD, we do a similar experiment in our lab. We also use cellophane to create different colors of light and my students get unexpected results too. I suspect that maybe the cellophane isn't filtering the colors of light the way we expect it too. Or perhaps the thickness or intensity of color in the cellophane (how light or dark it is) might be affecting the amount of light that goes through it. Those are my best guesses! Do you have any additional thoughts or observations on this?

Anthony
updated the project info
Julia Chapman
uploaded plant pigment absorption spectrum.jpg in project files
    Julia Chapman
    said

    I like your experimental design! Let's develop your prediction and hypothesis a bit more. Take a look at this graph. What is it telling you? Does it relate to your experiment? 

    Anthony
    said

    The graph is telling us that plants absorb less yellow light and more red and blue light, with blue light being absorbed the most. The graph alone disproves our hypothesis. 

    We have a study guide for this chapter and while doing one of the pages, I read that plants absorb less green light. It makes sense because plants are green, so they would reflect green light.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Perfection. I think you understand this better than some of my college students do sometimes!

    I'm glad your study guide had already mentioned that fact about green light. I was worried that I had gotten ahead of myself by sharing the absorption spectrum with you, but I think we're right on track.

    I'm curious about what else you all think/know about photosynthesis. Do you have any ideas about why blue light is absorbed the most? Do you think there's something about blue light that makes it "better" for photosynthesis?

    Anthony
    said

    I think blue light is absorbed the most because blue is a cool color and has a calming effect.

    Anna
    said

    Well I'm not sure why blue light is absorbed more. I know that the visibility underwater is related to the wavelengths in that color. Like red is the first to go because it has longest wavelength, while purple lasts the longest because it has the shortest wavelength. Maybe the wavelengths of the light have something to do with how they're absorbed in plants.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Anthony - plants do seem awfully calm and relaxed, don't they? ;)

    Anna - Yes! I wasn't sure how much you guys had learned about light thus far in your education, so I was worried my question would be too far of a stretch. You're on the right track. The wavelength does make a difference. Light with shorter wavelengths has higher energy. Did you talk in class about how the first part of photosynthesis involves splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen? This process requires a lot of energy, so blue light is great for getting the job done.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    I just did some more reading on this topic, and the underwater thing seems to be tied to the evolution of chlorophyll in green algae (ancestors to land plants today). Some scientists think that the ability to absorb red light is related to the phenomenon you described, Anna. While blue light is higher energy, it gets scattered more easily by water (with some reflecting back into our eyes to make the ocean look blue). Red light penetrates further into the water, so algae that had chlorophyll capable of capturing the easier-to-get red light in addition to some blue light were better off because they could absorb more light energy overall.

    Wow, I never thought about that very much until now. Even at this stage of my career as a scientist, I learn something new every day!

    Anthony
    said

    Yeah, plants seem like nothing is happening for them to care about. Unlike many Americans right now.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Yeah, this was the craziest election I've seen yet!

Juliana
updated the project info
Anthony
uploaded ExperimentalDesignGroupExperiment-AnthonyJulianaAnna 2.docx in project files
    Julia Chapman
    said

    I love your new prediction and hypothesis!

Julia Chapman
uploaded plant pigment absorption spectrum.jpg in project files
Anthony
uploaded ExperimentalDesignGroupExperiment-AnthonyJulianaAnna.docx in project files
Anthony
uploaded BrainstormingIdeasforaNewInvestigation-Anthony.docx in project files
    Julia Chapman
    said

    Those are some very interesting research project ideas!

    Question 1 makes me think about differences in growth rates and shade tolerance between species, too. Like, would faster growing plants also have faster rates of photosynthesis? Or would plants that prefer growing in full sun have faster rates of photosynthesis?

    Question 2 is a very straightforward idea. You could even test different types of light bulbs (incandescent, compact fluorescent, LED) if they are available to you.

    Question 3: I think what you're thinking about is how temperature and the amount of sunlight decrease towards the north and south poles of the earth, right? Do you think different plants have evolved to adapt to different environmental conditions?

    I can't wait to see which idea you choose!

    Anthony
    said

    We have decided on question 2. Since we don't have different light bulbs, we'll need to use cellophane bags and modify the question to "Will different color light sources affect photosynthesis?"

Anthony
uploaded LightandDarkInvestigation-Anthony.docx in project files
    Julia Chapman
    said

    I read over your document and everything looks good! Do you have any further questions for me about anything you guys have done so far?

Anthony
uploaded ExperimentalDesignLightv.Dark-AnthonyRovinski.docx in project files
    Julia Chapman
    said

    I read over your experimental design and it looks great!

    I want to pick your brain a little bit about your hypotheses. In your first leaf disk experiment, you made the connection that when photosynthesis occurs, oxygen is produced and the bubbles make the leaf disks float (as I read from your earlier report files). So, in order for the disks to sink after they are already floating, what do you think has to happen to those oxygen bubbles in the dark?

    Anthony
    said

    For the leaf to sink in the dark, I think the oxygen bubbles would have to dissipate or be pulled away from the leaf in order to sink the leaf.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Yes! So, are the plant cells doing anything else besides photosynthesis? Is there another biological process that they are performing that uses up oxygen?

    Anthony
    said

    The leaf disks are using cellular respiration to use up the oxygen.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Nailed it! :)

Anthony
updated LeafDiskInvestigation-Anthony 1.docx in project files
Anna
said

So for today's experiment we tested how light and dark effects photosynthesis. We had a  light and dark cup, we did the vacuum with the leaf disks again, then we put the light cup in the light, and the dark in the dark. After 15 minutes we switched the light and the dark cups, so that dark was in the light and light was in the dark. When the 15 minutes were up, we dumped out the dark cup and put the light cup in the cabinet. 

    Julia Chapman
    said

    I'm glad things went smoothly. I look forward to hearing about your results!

Anthony
uploaded IMG_0069.JPG in project files
    Anthony
    said

    This is the setup for our experiment. The beaker with leaf disk in the dark is under the box, the beaker with leaf disk in the light is under the light (4.25 inches).

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Nice photo! Thanks for sharing!

Julia Chapman
said

That's okay! As a scientist, it's always better to admit that you're unsure or don't know something. Let's think: glucose is similar to sucrose, which is basically like sugar you would buy at the store for baking. So, is that a solid, liquid, or gas?

Anna
said

I'm not really sure.

Julia Chapman
said

So now that you've done the first leaf disk experiment, you know that plants are taking carbon dioxide out of the air to use for photosynthesis (I gathered that you know this from the files you uploaded). Carbon dioxide is a gas, right? Anna - you mentioned that photosynthesis produces glucose. Glucose exists in what state of matter? (Is it a liquid, gas, or solid?)

Anthony
uploaded LeafDiskInvestigation-Anthony 1.docx in project files
    Anthony
    said

    This is my lab report for a leaf disk experiment. If you have any questions just ask.

    Julia Chapman
    said

    Great! I looked over your file and everything looked good to me!

Julia Chapman
said

Another set of projects I've been involved with research ways to make places that have been surface mined for coal go back to forest after the mining is finished. The major problem with these areas is that the soil is packed down too hard when the mining companies put it back in place. This makes it very hard to trees to grow because their roots can't penetrate the soil. One project I helped with plowed an old mine site with a tractor to break up the soil, and we found that it was much easier for trees to establish there. This was a really great breakthrough for making sure that places that were once forested go back to being forest after mining activity.

Julia Chapman
said

Anna - marine biology would be very cool! As a graduate student, part of what I do is teach lab courses and one of them is invertebrate zoology. In that lab we cover all sorts of marine organisms, ranging from corals to squids, and I just find it all so fascinating!

Anthony - Being successful is a good goal to have! No need to have it all figured out right now. I always knew I loved science, but it took me longer to figure out that I loved teaching, too. And now I want to teach science at a college or university for a living.

I don't know that I've made any amazing breakthroughs, but my research is unique because a lot of it focuses on old-growth forest (forest that has never been cut down - there is very little of it left in the U.S.). So I'm able to give information about what forests in the U.S. would look like if humans hadn't cut them all down. This is important because old-growth forests serve as reference ecosystems that land managers can use as models for restoring cut or otherwise disturbed forests to what they would be naturally.

Anthony
said

I don't know what I'll be when I grow up. My only goal is to be successful.

Have you made any amazing breakthroughs?

Anna
uploaded LeafDiskInvestigation-AnnaT.docx in project files
Anna
said

My ideal career would have to be centered around marine biology or history. I love those both!