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PlantingScience *STAR* Project Gallery

Congratulations to Spring 2018 Star Project award-winning teams!

Sharing information and ideas to improve thinking for all is a very important part of science. In this section, we highlight a few exemplary research projects. We profile student teams at each age level whose overall research was strong, and who did an exceptional job at one or more aspects of science research and communication. The Star Projects listed on this page highlight some of the best projects nominated by our scientist mentors and teachers. Take a look at the hard work middle and high school students are doing around the world!

To see the Fall 2016 Star Projects, click here!

To see the Spring 2017 Star Projects, click here!

To see the Fall 2017 Star Projects, click here!


Team Name Why is it a STAR project? How can other teams learn from what this team has done? School Category(ies) Nominated by:

The Fern Avengers

This is a star project because the girls were very excited about their research and were dedicated to gathering quality data. They chose a project that was kind of hard (isolating hermaphrodites to observe if they would self-fertilize) and they successfully isolated them and saw results that supported their hypothesis! In order to find out more information, they were very good about communicating with their mentor and researching information online. It was so fun to watch these girls get excited and ask great questions about their research! Central High School Doing Investigations, Online Communication Hailey Ryan, Teacher

Pac-Metophytes

Nominated for their project because they were inspired to look at what compost used in gardens might do for their spores. They took efficient data each day, and worked through a small bump in the road—microorganisms in their “compost tea!” Everyday I witnessed them laughing and having fun, all while asking questions and being serious about accurately portraying their data to others. The team dynamic was fun to have in class; the team was very concerned with precision, which is appreciated as a teacher because it shows that they’re serious about getting the most precise results possible. Central High School Doing Investigations, Making Sense of Findings Hailey Ryan, Teacher

hvchsluccispring2018 project 7

Excellent communication between mentor and students. Mentor's dialogue is engaging and encouraging. Students actively use mentor as a resource to plan their study. This team has excellent (and enthusiastic!) communication. Students actively use mentor as a resource when designing their experiment. Mentor provides fantastic suggestions, allowing the team the freedom to design a meaningful experiment and control for experimental variables appropriately. Hopewell Valley Central High School Planning Your Study Christopher Fiscus, Scientist Liaison

The Marion Soil

The Marion soil team did a great job working together as a group to identify and communicate detail in how they designed and then actually conducted their investigation. The Marion soil team did a great job working together as a group to identify and communicate detail in how they designed and then actually conducted their investigation. Reading their Info Page and their 'mini-poster' in the Files section, you will see that they have communicated clearly using detail so that others can understand what they did as a team to explore their question of interest. Marion Jr/Sr High School Planning Your Study, Doing Investigations Jason Keeler, Teacher

Teenagers

I really liked the way that this group made observations of their plants and asked questions beyond their original question. I really liked the way that this group made observations of their plants/investigation and asked questions beyond their original question. While they sought out to understand how light/darkness might affect germination, they kept their eyes open and discovered things beyond this primary task. Observations of how the plant's roots grew and interacted with the paper they grew in.... and even questioning how taking their plants out to measure might have affected the evidence they were collecting showed me that they were always making observations and thinking throughout the whole process. Marion Jr/Sr High School Making Sense of Findings Jason Keeler, Teacher

Sophotosynthesis and Mer

  • This project was incredible because of the well-developed questions posed by the students and the very thoughtful answers provided the the mentor. This team encountered several issues over the course of their project but they managed to stay on track and explore additional techniques with the help of their mentor to continue on with their questions.
  • This group showed a strong ability to work together and use their resources such as research, teachers, and mentors to guide their learning. They were very organized and detailed in their methods and data collection.
  • Other teams can learn from 'sophotosynthesis and mer' based on their ability to recover from unexpected conditions (which is very common in science!) and the way that they were able to piece together their project by working collaboratively with their mentor. This team showed amazing spirit throughout and was able to post regularly and ask for help quite often which definitely helped them succeed!
  • This group spent a great deal of time at the beginning of their experiment just planning and researching. They wanted to investigate pH and soil on plant growth, so they spend many days researching various methods to change soil pH. They also learned how to use new equipment and calibrate the equipment when it wasn't working properly. They were very detailed and organized when tracking data in their notebook and regularly monitoring their plant growth. They did an excellent job of using their mentor as a resource. This group showed a strong ability to work together and use their resources to guide their learning.
  • Medford High School Planning Your Study, Making Sense of Findings, Doing Investigations, Online Communication, Recording Your Ideas
    • Nichole Schelling, Teacher
    • Victory Coffey, Scientist Liaison

    Team JAB

    This student project was an example of how true science can be sometimes. The students planted their first trials and had a major failure when most of their plants died. Instead of giving up and getting frustrated, they replanted new trials and modified their set up. The students came in routinely before and after school to monitor their plants as well as record their findings in a scientific notebook. They spend quite a bit of time doing background research and communicating with their mentor to brainstorm ideas on measurements and data to collect. They even tried a new technique they had not done before of using nail polish to measure stomatal density. Their persistence and passion to keep learning is what ultimately makes this a Star Project. This team demonstrates the true concepts of being a scientist. They showed persistence as their first trials did not go as planned, but they replanted and modified their set up to re-run new trials. The students came in before school and stayed after school to check plants and record data. They kept their data in an organized notebook and communicated clearly with their mentor when questions arose. In addition, this group was willing to try new techniques and put in research to learn more about the plants. They showed a true passion to learn and discover new ideas. Medford High School Doing Investigations, Online Communication, Recording Your Ideas Nichole Schelling, Teacher

    Project 12 of A.I.K

    This team was diligent in its planning and really tried to collect data on Oxygen production with a clever setup. They communicated well with their scientist and wrote thoughtfully from the ideas they brainstormed about how to do their experiment. These 2 students did not shy away from trying a more difficult project. Even though the setup was more challenging, they came up with some possible solutions and got one to work. Their effort reinforced my belief that students can do more than they sometimes think they can. Northeast High School Planning Your Study, Doing Investigations, Recording Your Ideas Larry Cohbra, Teacher

    Orange Pineapples

    This group has a student who has really blossomed and shown an interest in plants and science since we started this project. He was the first one over to his group's plants with his ruler and chromebook - ready to observe and measure. The Orange Pineapples were interested in seeing the difference between how plants grow in natural sunlight vs plants grown in an aquaponics tower. This team did a great job of documenting their project. They were careful with their plants when they took measurements, and they all were diligent about recording their observations and quantitative data in their journals. The group shared responsibilities and worked well together. They have also taken a lot of photos to document plant growth, which will be very helpful as they analyze the data they collected in order to write their conclusion. Nottingham School Doing Investigations, Recording Your Ideas Rebecca Buzzell, Teacher

    Cheery Cherry Blossoms

    This team stood out for having an experiment that was different than many of the others. They decided to test to see if a seed embryo needed to be intact in order to grow. They also did an excellent job of communicating with their mentor and documenting plant growth and changes in their journals, data table and graphs. Nottingham School Online Communication, Recording Your Ideas Rebecca Buzzell, Teacher

    we need some more thyme

    The students in this team were really engaged in the project and had thoughtful conversations with their mentor. I was really struck by the level of engagement. This team really made use of their mentor - they asked their mentor questions, had some of their questions answered, and took the mentor's suggestions and adjusted their experimental design accordingly. It seemed like a fruitful partnership! Orillia Secondary School Planning Your Study, Doing Investigations, Online Communication Irene Liao, Scientist Liaison

    Maclean don't complain about our scary hairy...

    This class nicely related their Planting Science investigation of Brassica genetics in different environments with a separate, year-long project, of selectively breeding Fast Plants for increased hairiness. By comparing the two data sets, students were able to quantify a nature versus nurture explanation. This class nicely related their Planting Science investigation of Brassica genetics in different environments with a separate, year-long project, of selectively breeding Fast Plants for increased hairiness. By comparing the two data sets, students were able to quantify a nature versus nurture explanation. In the Planting Science experiment, this class grew Fast Plants in water and a 98 grams sucrose/L (just like a certain soft drink) solution and counted hairs on the first true leaves on the plant for a quantitative trait. The plants in sugar water grew 60% more hairs than the control in plain water. This was interesting, because, through three generations of selective breeding (using pollen from the hairiest plants in class and replanting seed from the hairiest plants grown) the class was able to increase average hairs per plant 104% in three generations. This allowed the student to compare the two experiments and have a clear distinction between the effects of environment and the effects of genetics on a group of organisms. Besides tying into an existing year-long project, the Planting Science experiment also sparked a scientific argument: yes, the selective breeding increase hairs more, but that was over three generations, not just the one generation that was exposed to sugar water. More experiments are needed! Service High School Innovation: Going Beyond the PlantingScience Project Dan Maclean, Teacher