HTHS Team #16 - The Effect of Vortexing on the...

Project by group hthsrochefall2016project

Info

Explore Not many of us have worked with plants outside of school, and none of us have had any extensive experience. A member of our group has done some gardening work, and has previously worked with Wisconsin Fast Plants in middle school. We have discovered from research that Wisconsin Fast Plants...
Research Question Research Question: Does vortexing of Wisconsin Fast Plant seeds affect their growth rates? We are studying/experimenting to see if the growth of Wisconsin fast plants are affected by a "vortex" treatment performed on the seeds prior to planting. Our vortex treatment consists of using a vortex...
Predictions Our hypothesis is that if Wisconsin fast plant seeds were vortexed with sand, then those seeds would grow faster than if they had been vortexed with only other seeds, which would grow faster than seeds that had not been vortexed at all; however it is possible that the seeds may grow at different...
Experimental Design Our plan is to record information on when the fast plants appear above the soil. Three groups of 12 seeds, one group previously vortexed, another group vortexed with sand, and another group with no vortex treatment, were planted. One of each group was planted in each of 12 film canister. A...
Conclusion The average time it took for the seeds to sprout did not vary greatly between the different groups, and the range of the sprouting times was slightly less than three and a half hours. Furthermore, 4.5 seeds from the control, 5.5 from the seed vortex, and 2 from the sand vortex group sprouted...

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
Althea ArchMiller
said

Thank you for the thoughtful notes! I really enjoyed this experience and mentoring such a great group of engaged young scientists! I also am very impressed with your final report. Good luck with all of your future endeavors. 

brianna
said

Happy Thanksgiving Ms. ArchMiller! (http://dl.glitter-graphics.com/pub/3525/3525861zqw6rbfja5.gif)

So it's Thanksgiving today, and we've also finally finished our entire report:) Today's the day when we're supposed to give thanks to everything we are thankful for. I am extremely thankful for having you as our mentor along the way, and I truly appreciate the time and thought you put into our experiment. Even though this may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, it's really the little things that make us happy:) We are so fortunate to have gotten such a helpful mentor.

You are such an inspiration, and I could only dream to do the amazing things you have accomplished. I wish you the best with your family and career. Hope you have a great Thanksgiving!

Couldn't thank you enough,
Brianna

 

brianna
updated the project info
emily
said

Hey Ms. ArchMiller,

I guess the end of this project is our goodbye, but before parting ways, I want to tell you how grateful we all are for your assistance (fitting, isn't it, since Thanksgiving is tomorrow?). Thanks for being the greatest mentor we could ask for! You were responsible, reliable, and reassuring the whole time through, and even though our plants all withered and died, I know that we learned invaluable tactics and gained incredible experiences along every step of the way. With the support of our team members, and of course our amazing mentor, my experience with PlantingScience has been an unforgettable journey. We appreciate all the time and effort that you have devoted to our project, and we're very thankful for you. :)

All the best,

Emily.

annie
updated the project info
annie
said

Hi Ms. Archmiller, 

We uploaded our final report for this experiment in the project files, titled HTHS_Team16_Report.

On behalf of our team, thank you so much for being the best mentor, and helping us along the way. :)

annie
uploaded HTHS_Team16_Report.pdf in project files
mary
said

At this point, we are just looking at sprouting times for the plant; so when the plant can first be seen above the soil, we record the time. 

mary
said

Our plants did not develop properly (two potential reasons are lack of proper lighting, low temperatures), and none of them even have true leaves yet, despite the fact that some are several centimeters tall. In addition, it seems that quite a few of them did not even sprout, and some died quite early into their life span. 

    emily
    said

    What do you mean by "lack of proper lighting"? I know we had a lamp above the experiment, but the experiments set up in our classroom had lamps directly overhead, and the lighting was probably also more concentrated/powerful. Or is it a different type of lighting that was used, or did the overhead lamp that we used light only some of the plants and not all? 

    I feel that the plants of other groups were given a lot more room to grow, and we planted three seeds per canister, which is, like, 1/3 of the space that the other teams' seeds had. Could this also be a reason that our plants mostly grew "up" and not "wide" (i.e. they don't have true leaves and are very thin and feeble)?

    I also thought that Fast Plants are very versatile and can grow in many different conditions. Does Mr. Roche or someone know the temperatures of the research lab? There are other experiments taking place in there too, some of which probably also involving plants, so I don't know if low temperatures really affected the growth of our plants that much. Did we perhaps do something wrong in our procedure that hindered the growth, or is it simply an accumulation of all these possible factors?

    mary
    said

    Emily - For lack of proper lighting, I meant that we only used a small circular lamp, whereas the other groups in Mr. Roche's room had fluorescent lights that stretched across many groups. In addition, the temperature was lower in the research lab, so that would make the growth slower. However, I think that you're right in that the main reason that our plants did not develop properly was the lack of space that they were given. Another problem may have been the wicks that we used; we reused wicks from a previous experiment, and it is possible that they were not sufficient in soaking the soil with water. 

annie
said

Hi Ms. Archmiller,

Currently, to give you an update, our group is working on our lab report for this experiment. Hopefully we can communicate the data to you soon. Do you think measuring the data in hours would be an appropriate measurement?

    Althea ArchMiller
    said

    Hours would be appropriate since you used half hour time lapse images. Looking forward to seeing the results!

emily
said

Are there video editing programs to draw a line across the video screen where the desired height above the soil (represented by the tick marks on the skewers) would be? That way, it would be much easier to see when the plants reached that height. Or are some soil levels higher/lower than others? I don't really remember if we tried to make all soil levels exactly the same...

Also, this response is a little late, so has data been collected yet or are we still looking for ways to measure growth?

selena
updated the project info
selena
said

There are programs available to record what's happening on a screen as a video, so maybe you could upload all the images and record yourself scrolling through them.

Also, if it's a little hard to see the exact moment the plant reached a certain height, maybe we could start from a place where it's obvious where the plant is and go back frame by frame, keeping your eyes on the plant, until you see the single frame where it reached x centimeters.

annie
said

I'll work on uploading the pictures somewhere... it's probably a few hundred pictures and I just scrolled through them to simulate a video. We should meet up during school and look at the pictures, and I'll try to upload them for Ms. Archmiller. 

annie
uploaded IMG_4688.MOV in project files
    emily
    said

    Since this is a video of a video, it's a little hard to see clearly... is there any way to upload the actual video onto here? Or if that might be too inconvenient, does the actual time-lapse video appear clearly enough for us to know when the plants germinated or reached a certain height? (I mean, that's all that we need for our data.)

Althea ArchMiller
said

Hi all,

Thanks for keeping me up-to-date on everything. Couple thoughts:

  1. If I recall the original hypothesis, you all expected that by vortexing the plants, you may help break down the seed coat, thus allowing faster water uptake and germination relative to the control plants that had intact seed coats. To test that hypothesis, I personally think that you should try and use the time-lapse cameras to tell when each plant germinated. Or in the case of time-lapse, when the first visible sign of germination was present. 
  2. In addition to "when you first detected germination" you could also include a rate of growth (for example, time to grow 3 cm) as an additional dependent variable, but I am most interested in knowing if seed coat destruction affected germination.
  3. Also, if you test for germination as your main dependent variable, you don't have to worry about the plant that fell over or redoing the experiment again.
  4. First step will be to record your data. Secondly, you can calculate average and standard deviation of your dependent variables for each treatment group, then you can start to try and make conclusions. 
    selena
    said

    I don't think our time-lapse camera could see when each plant germinated through the soil, so we were planning on seeing when we could first see the plant--basically, when it first broke through the soil.

    brianna
    said

    Selena - I think that's what Mrs. ArchMiller meant. As in, we will use whenever we can detect germination through the soil.

    emily
    said

    Right- I'm pretty sure that the plants grew to at least 3 cm before becoming lopsided or toppling over. That way, we can measure when germination can be detected through the soil, and when it reaches a certain height (to calculate approximate growth rate) around 3 cm, and anything that happens to the plants after that won't matter anymore.

annie
said

Hi all -

Today, several of us checked on the plants again. Most of them were lopsided/dying, and Mr. Roche told us that it was most likely due to our weak light source. I took out the SD card and watched the time lapse of our plants. I uploaded a video of what the time lapse looks like. Ms. Archmiller - do you think the video is clear enough to collect data for when the seeds first germinated/sprouted? The time for the time lapse camera starts on the wrong day/year (it says something along the lines of November 2011), but I can still see the seeds germinating. It is a bit grainy and unclear, though. What do you guys think?

    brianna
    said

    As long as we have a clear view of the seed germination, I think it should be fine. We should try and record the data from the video first to see.

    Althea ArchMiller
    said

    It looks like you'll be able to at least estimate when germination happened through the soil. I'm excited to hear about the results once you analyze the data! Good job everyone!

mary
updated the project info
annie
said

Hey guys,

When should we plan to check the time lapse camera? I'm sure that its battery died/SD card was used up by now, but I don't really know the procedure for checking the card. We could stop in the research lab and bring the card to the nearby CIM lab and check it there. What do you guys think?

    emily
    said

    Sure, that should be fine. With the time-lapse camera, we'll be able to see when the plants reached certain heights (and then we can finally collect our data!).

    So, just to confirm, we're doing averages for each test group, right? And measuring the dependent variable as the growth rate?

mary
uploaded File_000.jpeg in project files
    mary
    said

    Ms. ArchMiller - 

    One of the plants has fallen, and I am not sure why. When we planted, we sprinkled only a small amount of fine potting soil over the seeds. Is this something that we should be concerned about? Will it greatly affect the seed's growth? Thanks :)

annie
uploaded 2016-11-03 1.jpg in project files
    annie
    said

    Hi - this is the progress of the growth as of 11/3. If the time lapse camera doesn't work, or the data looks funny due to errors in our method, Mr. Roche said that we could redo the experiment. What do you guys think? We have around 20 more days, and it took about a week to perform this. 

    Also, I'm a bit confused about our operational definition - would rate of sprouting/growth just be the average of the growth each day, or is there a more precise way to measure the rate?

    selena
    said

    Is it 20 more days for just the experiment part or for finishing the entire thing? If it's the first one, we should be able to do it, but if it's the second, I guess it depends on what else we have to do after this (observations, conclusions, and anything else). Also, I'm not really sure about our operational definition either. According to Mr. Roche, it would be hard to use the time-lapse to figure out exactly when the plants crossed a certain point, so I'd say we should probably decide once the experiment is over and we can look at the data from the camera.

    brianna
    said

    I think it's 20 days to finish the entire thing. But the "entire thing" basically means to finish those simple observation and conclusion questions. I don't think it would take us that long to complete.

    If we can't figure out exactly when the plants crossed a certain point, maybe we could just use the total height of the plant at the end.

    mary
    said

    Because we still aren't sure of how to operate the time lapse camera, redoing the experiment may not be the best idea. In addition, with the plant setup that we have, I don't think that there is an angle at which there'd be no distortion, especially for the plants furthest away. Therefore, I think that we should just go with the data that we have right now. I am afraid that if we do the experiment over again, we'd end up with the exact same problems (or maybe even more) than we had to begin with. If we can, however, find a good angle for the time lapse camera, a second experiment could be viable. 

brianna
uploaded IMG_3571.JPG in project files
    brianna
    said

    Here's the overall set up of our experiment. The light source is located at the top, and the time lapse camera is to the left, angled down at the fast plants.

emily
updated the project info
emily
uploaded IMG_3204.JPG in project files
    emily
    said

    Sorry that it's sideways... don't know how to fix that. As you can see, our plants have actually grown quite a bit, some of them already at 5 cm (where we drew the last tick marks on the sticks)! I haven't seen them since they were planted, so I guess we can only use the time-lapse camera to determine their growth rate.

    The other teams in our class/grade gave the plants more... sideways room when they planted them. Their plants have much wider leaves but are also quite short. Our plants are taller than most others that I've seen, yet the leaves are pretty tiny. Does this have to do with the amount of horizontal space that the seeds were given? 

    Althea ArchMiller
    said

    The plants look good! It's more likely that you have smaller leaves and taller plants because the light quality and amount reaching the seedlings is better for photosynthesis (i.e., photosynthesis efficiency is higher) than the other groups. When plants are grown in shady conditions, for example, they tend to grow wider leaves that can capture more sunlight than other plants in more full sunlight conditions. That's just a thought. I'm hopeful that your time-lapse photography worked!