Planting Science - Projects: The Search for Truth
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The Search for Truth

Project by group mhsbrooposfall2023

Explore We know they perform photosynthesis and that they are the predominant supplier of Oxygen. We’re interested in learning how trees and other plants grow.
Research Question How do different layers of mesh surrounding a container of 9 algae beads affect the rate off photosynthesis?
Predictions The first of results that could occur would be that none of our algae beads undergo photosynthesis. This would be a result of ineffectual light, accidental denaturation of the algae bead cells, expired indicator, or a plethora of mishaps. Another possible result is that all of the algae beads undergo photosynthesis to the same degree. This would occur if the mesh is ineffectual at blocking out light and all of the containers experience the same amount of light. The final and most ideal results are that the algae beads photosynthesize at a rate proportional to the layers of mesh surrounding it.
Experimental Design We plan to complete our experiment over the course of 2 days using tape, scissors, a syringe, a scoopula, algae beads, a tray, plant containers, container lids, mesh, a light source and pH indicator. All of these materials are pictured in the “Files” section of our project. The 1st step in our process is to obtain the algae beads provided by our teacher and use the scoopula to divide them among 6 plant containers, with 9 beads in each. Our 2nd step is using the syringe to put 2 mL of pH indicator in each container and sealing the container with the lid. The 3rd step is to use the scissors to cut out pieces of mesh that are long enough to wrap and tape around the containers 1-5 times. The 4th step is to put the containers on a tray, equally distanced from a light source, and letting the algae beads sit fort 24 hours. Step 5 is observe your data and record your results.
Conclusion We can conclude from our experimental results that the more layers of mesh placed around a container of algae beads, the lower the rate of photosynthesis. In a more universal sense, this meant that the more light being shone on a plants, the higher the rate of photosynthesis is. Although our results our not exactly irreproachable in this sense, as the container with 0 layers of mesh and the container with 1 layer of mesh both reacted the same way, this can be explained by the fact that there is a limit to photosynthesis and within 24 hours both containers had enough sunlight to fully undergo photosynthesis. Beyond this our data represents this claim without fail. Numerically, this relationship explains why the containers with 0 and 1 layer of mesh photosynthesized at a rate fast enough to produce enough O2 to basify the indicator to its maximum level, 9.1. For reference, the pH indicator put into all of the containers began with a pH of 8.3. This increase pH occurred primarily because CO2 is removed from the indicator to be used as a product for photosynthesis, decreasing the indicators pH, and because as O2 (a product of photosynthesis) raises the pH of H2O (the dominant molecule in the pH indicator). Similarly the containers wrapped in 2-5 had a decrease in pH, signifying that cellular respiration, but no photosynthesis occurred. This decrease is because as CO2 (a product of cellar respiration) and water (the dominant molecule in pH indicator) combine, carbonic acid is created. Carbonic acid acidifies, and thus decreases the pH of, the indicator solution. To further expand on this experiment with future projects, tangential experiment that were more specific and accurate to real-life eutrophication could occur. For example, although we know how the amount of mesh (“algae”) effects the rate of photosynthesis, we do not yet know how this varies with environmental aspect such as temperature, tides, wildlife, and more. All of these could be tested to further advance our knowledge of eutrophication and help combat its violent effects.
Investigation Theme POS
Grade Level High School Students (Grades 9,10,11,12)
Teacher Name Jennifer Sunderman Broo
School Name Mariemont High School
Session Fall 2023
About this Project This project deserves strong consideration for a Star Project award because of the group's exceptional emphasis on real-world applicability. They wanted to investigate the effect of eutrophication caused by algae blooms on freshwater plants but quickly realize that if they added algae to their experimental groups the algae would also be performing photosynthesis! After some communication with their mentor and brainstorming the group decided to test the effect of shade since the algae blooms blocked light from plants below. Their consistent communication with a mentor underscores a proactive approach to seeking guidance and refining their project, demonstrating a commitment to learning and improvement. Moreover, the group's ability to infuse their personality into their correspondence adds a human touch, fostering a collaborative and engaging atmosphere that likely contributed to the overall success of their project. -- Jennifer Broo, Teacher



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NSF_Logo.jpg This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant #2010556 and #1502892. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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