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Elongata

Project by group vfjshweissfall2018

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Explore Plants use carbon dioxide to make oxygen for us humans to breathe, they use water and sunlight to do the process called photosynthesis, and they gather the nutrients they need through their roots planted in the soil. Plants need certain levels of pH to survive, and they require certain macro and...
Research Question How much water can our soil/sand mixture retain? If we add the same amount of water to both mixtures, how will the soil moisture differentiate? We know that sand retains more water, than the normal soil, so if we add the same amount of water, our 20/20/20 mixture being our control group, we will...
Predictions The possible outcomes of the study would include possible growth declination, dry soil, more time for petals or leaves to grow, and we would see weak plants in the sand/soil mixture and healthy plants in the 20/20/20 mixture. The sand holds more moisture, however, it takes more water to keep the...
Experimental Design The plan for our experiment would be to add the amount of water needed to the 20/20/20 mixture to keep the soil moist and add the same amount we added to the 20/20/20 to the sand/soil mixture. We will keep track on how dry or moist each soil mixtures get as the plants continue to grow. We will...
Conclusion What claim can we make from our experiment? What are possible explanations for our results? How do the data we collected and our reasoning with scientific ideas support our claim? What future experiments could be done to expand on the results of this experiment?

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
PlantingScience Staff
said
Farewell and Best Wishes
As this research project is now in the final stages of wrapping-up, we wish to thank everyone who participated in this inquiry; the students, mentors, teachers and others behind the scenes. We appreciate all of your efforts and contributions to this online learning community.

Scientific exploration is a process of discovery that can be fun! There are many unanswered questions about plants just waiting for new scientists to consider, investigate, and share.

Please come back and visit the PlantingScience Project Gallery anytime to view this project in the future. You can search the Gallery by key word, team name, topic, or school name.

Good bye for now.
Warm regards,
The PlantingScience team
PlantingScience Staff
said
Looks like you are in the final stages of your projects.
It’s great to see that teams from your school are wrapping up and posting conclusions. Enjoy the final stages of your project, and feel free to post any final comments or questions you have for your mentors.
Autumn
said

Dear Favorite and Only Mentor,

    We just wanted to get on here and thank you for all of your help! You've helped all of us with so much during this project, and it's so sad to have to part ways with you. Thank you for all the lovely names you've addressed us as and for taking time out of your day to help not only us, but other groups as well. We are forever grateful! 

                                                                                          We will miss you! 

                                                                                            Yours Truly, 

                                                                                           Autumn, Jade, and (Plant-Killer) Summer :)

Autumn
said

Dear Jill,

    We've been keeping a strong eye out on our plants. It seems that the sand/soil mixture is stunting the growth for our plants kept in that soil. The 20/20/20 mixture has been doing pretty good by itself. We have figured out what we are going to be experimenting on. We plan to add a certain amount of water to the 20/20/20 mixture, depending on how dry the soil is on top. Then, we will add the same amount of water from the 20/20/20 mixture, to the sand soil/mixture to see the different affects on the plants. We plan to keep track on how dry or moist each soil mixture gets. The temperature of the water would be staying constant, and the amount of water may change, depending on the dryness of the soil. We will see the difference by the plants growth and healthiness, and the soil moisture. 

                                                                                        Your Happy Pupils,

                                                                                         Autumn, Jade, and Summer :)

    Jill Marzolino
    said

    Dear Autumn, Jade, and Summer, 

    That's a fantastic idea! It looks like you really thought about how to isolate the variable you're interested in with the supplies you have. Just be careful to keep track of how much water you add to the soil mixture so you can match it for the sand. Looking forward to your updates, and happy Halloween!

                                                                                        Your witchy adviser, Jill

Autumn
updated the project info
Autumn
updated the project info
Autumn
said

Dear Jill, 

    We have some unfortunate news. Summer accidentally uprooted one of our plants. We attempted to replant it, but the outcome is to be determined. We also decided to research how the amount of water can affect our plants growth and survival. We want to see the affect of the water on our plants, and see if more water will either stunt or increase our plantlings growth. ( yes, plantlings is not a word, but it's cute.)

                                                                Sorry About The Uprooted Plant, 

                                                                Autumn, Jade, and Summer :) 

                                                                                    

    Jill Marzolino
    said

    Hi Plantlings :)

    Your seedling will probably be fine especially if it only has a small root that you can pull up and down in the soil still. We'll have to keep an eye on it though for proper records. And definitely don't worry about an accident like that, something always goes wrong in an experiment and that's why you learn to make backup samples! I usually calculate how many plants I need times the germination rate of my organism (~80% for barley) and a fudge rate (~1.2x) or plant in duplicate (x2) so that I'll have enough plants no matter what goes wrong. 

    The normal soil and sandy soil hold water differently, as you can probably see from other plants in your classroom. Sandy soil lets water drain faster but if it gets saturated it also retains water longer. 

    If you want to see the effect of water, then you need to isolate the soil differences. You could divide your plants into 4 pots instead of 2. Then you have a control (normal water in normal soil, in sandy soil) and an experimental (excess water in normal soil, in sandy soil) group.

    Or if you keep 2 plots with different soil then the experiment is about how different soils respond to the same amount of water. Either way you need a test and a control group. The variables you're working with are soil type and amount of water. You can measure things like plant height, number of leaves, and soil moisture. 

    Why don't you try to design a question that explicitly states what is being tested and then answer what needs to be controlled (independent vs dependent variables)? If you have any ideas you want to bounce around or questions about this process I'm always here to help!

                                                                Your Ebullient Mentor, Jill

Autumn
said

Hi Jill,

    Can you tell us why our plants' have a variation of color stems? Some of them have purplish white stems, and some have just white or green. Are we doing anything wrong? Thanks!!

                                                                        From your curious pupils, 

                                                                            Autumn, Jade, and Summer :)

    

    Jill Marzolino
    said

    Hello hello, 

    That variation is totally normal! You can think of it the same as different hair or eye colors. Different amounts of color are put down in different spots. The colors you're seeing are green, purple, and white, so all your plants should have some pattern of those colors. 

    Plants have a  red/blue/purple pigment called anthocyanin (in most grasses like barley and your Brassica seeds it's purple but it's why blueberries are blue and cherries red). These plants will often have purple lines in the stem or on the seeds. Unfortunately I don't have any pictures right now, but my favorite variety of barley has all deep purple seeds and it's really pretty. 

    So don't fear, your plants are healthy, happy, and beautiful!

    Jill Marzolino
    said

    I found some examples for you to see, there's normal yellowish barley and then a type that has the purple-black pigment. In that picture you can also see different locations that can be affected. You can see purple in stems, leaves, grains, and those long filaments that come off the heads. Some plants will be purple all over, some in just the base of the stem, etc. It just depends on where the pigment is told to go in that individual. 

Jill Marzolino
uploaded 2086062968barleyimage.jpg, black_eagle_wheat-1.jpg in project files
Autumn
updated the project info
Autumn
updated the project info
Autumn
said

Hi, Jill! :)

On the bag of soil, we already had the NPK ratio so we calculated based off of that. We figured we would give the plants 10mL a day, or just enough for one inch of the topsoil to be damp. Cacti store lots of water, therefore, they do not need to be watered as frequently. It seems like our plants are growing very well under fluorescent light. It seems that plants grow very well in blue and red light. Plants cool down, or their temperature drops. They are no longer growing towards the sun anymore, once it goes down. 

As for the temperature of our plants, on Saturday and Sunday, we did not have a heat source so the temperature stayed around 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, while the plants should've been 78-82. They still sprouted, however. If the plants were to stay in this temperature, then it would most likely stunt their growth. 

                                                                                                                    From Your Excited Pupils,

                                                                                                                        Autumn, Summer, and Jade

    Jill Marzolino
    said

    Hi Excitettes, 

     

    Seems like you gals are totally on top of things! 

    Indeed, cacti have roots that are really susceptible to rot if they get too much water. A lot of tropical plants also have weak root systems, like so called "air plants" because they evolved in a place that constantly has high humidity so they absorb water from the air. 

    When plants get shaded (like a bigger plant blocks their view) they start to stretch and grown their stems like if someone sat in front of you in a theater and you have to crane your neck around them to see. And they detect the amount of shade there is through the ratio of red to blue light. If there's a lot of red light (which is long wave so it has an easier time going around obstacles) the plants know there are obstacles. A lot of blue light means the sun & grow up up up! It may help to think about or look up why the sky appears blue in the day and red at sunset/sunrise. 

    At nighttime plants breathe out CO2 and use energy and oxygen just like us! Photosynthesis fuels their growth normally and survival when there's no immediate energy source. 

    These plants are similar to the one most plant biologists work with and it prefers colder temperatures, so I doubt your seeds will really mind. That and many such seeds sprout well after 'vernalization' or a cold and dark period like they'd experience over winter in the soil. Still I'm sure your plants are appreciating their constant light, water and love :)

                                                                    -the effusive mentor

Summer
said

Hello Jill,

I just wanted to update you, a bit. one of the data collection we are measuring is in the end how many out of all 18 grew (9 per soil mixture). For the nutrient mixture all nine are growing above ground and the 2/3 mixture we have six out of nine growing above ground

                                                                                            From you proud Pupils,

                                                                                                Autumn, Summer, and Jade

Summer
said

Hello Jill,

I just wanted to update you, a bit. one of the data collection we are measuring is in the end how many out of all 18 grew (9 per soil mixture). For the nutrient mixture all nine are growing above ground and the 2/3 mixture we have six out of nine growing above ground

                                                                                            From you proud Pupils,

                                                                                                Autumn, Summer, and Jade

Autumn
said

Dear Jill, 

Today we finally planted our seeds and calculated the soil ratios, amount of light, and amount of water needed for the planting process. Then, we measured out the soil 1/3rd sand and 2/3rd nutrient soil in one half two liter bottle. In the other half, we kept the nutrient soil as 100%. We planted nine seeds, one knuckle deep, in each bottle. 18 seeds total. :) 

                                                                                                From Your Lovely Pupils,

                                                                                                    Autumn, Summer, and Jade

    Jill Marzolino
    said

    Hello lovelies!

    That's awesome, planting seeds always leaves me with such a feeling of potential. Make sure you give them lots of well-wishes. 

    How did you calculate the soil ratio you're using? And how much water will you give them/at what interval? You probably learned about soil nutrients and maybe how plants hydrate themselves, and we generally think rich soil and regular rain = good, but can you think of some plants that don't do well with rich soil and regular watering? 

    Now for some light talk: did I mention I used to work on how plants respond to light? 

    What light does your plant grow best in? Do you know what colors on the light spectrum a plant uses? What do plants do when they're in a shady spot, what about when the sun goes down? 

    If you have pictures of your setup (and sprouting seedlings next week) I'd love to see what you've constructed!

                                                                    --Your Luminescent Mentor

PlantingScience Staff
joined the project
Jill Marzolino
said

Thanks for introducing yourselves, I'm so happy to hear about your passions. It reminds me tremendously of all my friends in high school. 

Wonderfully, my interests and your project overlap nearly perfectly. I'm interested in how plant populations adapt to their environments and cope with changes over time. Most people think of evolution as something that happens directionally: flower gets bigger, stem gets smaller, etc. but these selection pressures can actually move the goalpost back and forth, and sometimes radical changes mean you have to have a backup plan (just like when you're designing a science experiment!). This happens in California because most years are very dry but then you have sudden wet years and the plants in a group that can capitalize on that have more kids and spread their genes. 

You're going to be looking at trait variation and inheritance. Basically, trait variation refers to all the different ways a trait can appear, like how tall all the people in your class are. You're also going to study how parents transfer genes (from the genotype) and traits (phenotype) to their children. 

This is literally what I work on. I grow barley, a grain crop like wheat, and look at how traits (like seed number and awn length [awns are long hairs on the ends of seeds that get caught in socks] persist from similar ancestors (from plants 100 years ago, 50 years, 10 years ago) into populations grown in different places (cold Montana, hot California). So basically I see which genes survive over time in harsh environments so that we can use those as the parents for heartier crop varieties in the future, especially as the climate changes. 

I'm also quite interested in 'selfish genes' including these things called 'transposons' that are literally just gene segments that reproduce themselves and multiply within genomes. They're very odd because unlike bacteria or viruses they have no physical form of their own. They simply persist because they persisted before and have a drive to keep multiplying. But also, if they multiply themselves too much, they can hurt their host. So there's this really odd and fascinating dynamic in this...not quite a creature, but something debatably living, with population and genome and disease dynamics. Whew! That's a lot, so feel free to ask questions or just store that away for later, it's pretty niche genetic work. 

Jill Marzolino
said

Y'all can introduce yourselves too and start asking questions / update me on the project. 

Here's something to get you thinking too: what's the origin of your group name "Elongata"? 

    Autumn
    said

    Hi, Jill. 

    My name is Autumn. I'm a senior in high school, (obviously),  and I'm super stoked to be doing this project with you! I'm not to into the way plants work, but I think many plants are very vivid, and extremely beautiful. Especially flowers. My mother has been growing flowers for awhile now, and they are blooming so well. I enjoy taking pictures of them and sharing their beauty with the world. I'm a very creative and an out-going person, who enjoys reading, writing, singing, makeup, and acting. For the past three years, I've been apart of my high school plays, and I see theatre being something I'm looking forward to into the future. I live with my mom and two younger brothers, along with five cats and one dog. 

     

    For the project, what is it that we will be doing? Could you fill me in on the different events we would be doing during this project? What about botany interests you the most? 

     

    Jade
    said

    Hey Jill, my name is Jade. I am a senior this year and honestly science isn't my best subject. I didn't even have a science class last year. i am excited to do this project with you and I hope I do well on it. I don't really know much about plants but I am definitely willing to learn. I also love reading very, very much and I enjoy playing certain video games. I also enjoy watching movies but it's more on binge watching Netflix. I don't necessarily have any questions at the time but i may have a lot once we start. 

    Summer
    said

    Hello Jill, it is so nice to be in this group project with you. As you already know my name is Summer and i am a senior in high school. i love science so much and am going to college in a field of science. I am going to college in January and wish to attend Penn State in August. I love to draw. Also human anatomy is my favorite "branch" as you will, of science. *will continue editing tomorrow*

Jill Marzolino
said

Hi Jade, Summer, and Autumn!

I'm your group mentor; you can ask me anything about your project or tell me how your class is going. I can also tell you fun facts about any subject or the work that I'm doing in my lab. 

How about we do a little introduction first? 

As you can probably see, I'm Jill. I'm a graduate student (the step above college and below teachers) at a university in California. I've lived here my whole life in the Los Angeles area and grew up next to the beach. I love reading all kinds of books, playing video games, and watching movies (especially scary or kung-fu movies). I'm also passionate about art and nature. My dad and I would go to a lot of museums and gardens when I was growing up, and that's probably where I learned to love plants. It wasn't until high school biology though that I learned about the intricacies of plant biology (how they transport and use water, how sunlight provides energy, the huge varieties of plant genes used to cope with different climate factors) that I really fell in love with this deeper science. I also like drinking tea and using cute notebooks and bright pens when I take notes. 

I work on plant genetics so I'm mega excited about getting to help you with this project! If you need any clarifications about DNA or how genes work, you know who to ask. 

Jade
joined the project
Summer
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Autumn
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Brenda Weiss
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PlantingScience Staff
said

Welcome to your PlantingScience project page!

Welcome to this community of plant researchers. As your team plans and conducts your own research project, you will be mentored by a scientist. The mentor's role is to encourage and guide you through the process of scientific discovery. The more you share your ideas and research information online, the more your mentor can help. You can also find out more about your mentor. What is their research about? Why did they go into science? What do they like to do when they are not working?

You may also hear from this classroom’s assigned scientist liaison. Liaisons work with several mentors and help make sure the conversations are going strong. They may also offer some extra advice or encouragement.

Two resources can help you get started:

Best wishes as you start this scientific journey. We are all pleased to share this experience with you. Have fun!

To set up your project page: