Planting Science - Projects: Saucy Scientists
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Saucy Scientists

Project by group tfhsthilmonyposfall2023

Explore Knowledge of Plants - Vast majority of plants require nutrients, light, and soil to grow - Many varieties - Lots of plants undergo the process of photosynthesis to get their energy Questions - How do we take care of plants/keep them alive? - How does photosynthesis work - How do they take sunlight and turn it into energy? - How does cellular respiration work? - How do plants breathe? - Do plants eat? - What specific nutrients do plants need to prosper?
Research Question How does soil ph affect the rate of photosynthesis? We believe this question is relevant, especially to gardeners and plant owners who may want to know how soil ph is affecting their plants health. This question fits into what we already know about photosynthesis as it provides us with insight about how the rate of photosynthesis is affected by ph levels.
Predictions Our group's prediction is that the plants exposed to lower and higher ph levels will have lower levels of photosynthesis than a plant in a neutral environment. We think that our prediction will happen because some sources we have read from have explained that when a plant is exposed to either too high or too low of ph levels, its enzymes will stop working or slow down, making the plant unable to carry out photosynthesis to its full capacity.
Experimental Design For our experimental design we will first gather materials which will be three single spinach sprout, small pots to put soil in,soil, jars wish is 30cm circumference and 16.5cm tall, cardboard, a marker, hot glue gun, 3 cotton balls, O2 and PH probes and a computer that can record data over 24 hours, tower garden PH- and PH+ solution. Now for the experimental steps, 1. grab the pots and fill them with soil. 2. plant the spinach plants in the soil. you will adjust the PH of the soil by adding an estimated 20 droplets of acid down and an estimated base up of 25 drops you want the one pot at 4 PH and the other at 10 PH or close to that range ours were at 9.95 for PH+ and 3.92 for PH- and last a neutral that you leave alone except for adding some distilled water 4. then you will place the pots with the plants in a jar. 5. then you trace the circumference of the probes on a piece of cardboard "make sure the PH probe is touching the bottom of the jar" then hot glue the o2 probe in place and fill the ph probe with a cotton ball then glue the probe and cardboard onto the jar. 6. Record data over as many days as you can the optimal amount being five days, have the probes record data over 24 hours each day and take data from that every six hours. if you can make sure to check and change the PH to the proper levels set at the beginning of the experiment because the plants do try changing PH'S throughout the experiment.
Conclusion In our experiment about how the levels of ph affect the photosynthesis of a plant, we predicted that a spinach plant in a neutral environment would produce more oxygen than a spinach plant in a base or acidic environment, because improper ph levels lead to the denaturing of enzymes, which would not allow a plant to perform photosynthesis to its full capacity. Our data shows conflicting results. The results of our experiment show that the spinach plant in the base environment had higher levels of oxygen than the spinach plants in acidic and neutral environments. We have come up with some factors as to why we think our data is conflicting with our prediction. First, we failed to keep track of the actual ph levels within the plants, meaning that they could've altered without our knowledge. The mass of the plants by weight also should’ve been kept the same as well. In a future experiment, testing the pH every time that we take data (every six hours) would have ensured that we knew the actual pH of the solutions rather than assuming that they were at the intended pH. Also, measuring the root length of the spinach plants beforehand would've allowed us to compare them to the root lengths after the experiment, which would have allowed us to collect better qualitative data. Lastly, using spinach plants with a more similar size by mass would've kept the data more consistent.
Investigation Theme POS
Grade Level High School Students (Grades 9,10,11,12)
Teacher Name Doree Kathleen Thilmony
School Name Thompson Falls High School
Session Fall 2023
About this Project The Saucy Scientists worked very well together as a team. This team consisted of vary diverse learners and I saw leadership emerge. They tested something new, which was risky, and required a great deal more research. The students were very positive about the results, especially when the results did not go as predicted. They asked questions to their mentor and leaned a great deal about planning and carrying out an investigation and how to be more careful in that preparation. They reseached very well for the prediction and the results and were positive in explaining through their conclusion. They learned that enzymes also can control photosynthetic rates. They went beyond light, water, and carbon dioxide to stretch their thinking. -- Doree Thilmony, Teacher

I really liked their project idea of soil pH. With climate change, soil acidity will be in flux in certain areas. I thought this project had great real-world implications -- Josh Felton, Liaison



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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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