Science project: magnetic field and plant growth

Ross Koning koning at ECSUC.CTSTATEU.EDU
Mon Dec 15 09:46:06 EST 1997


At 2:51 PM -0500 12/14/97, Steve Segal wrote:
>Hi, thanks for visiting, the following was the abstract to my sci fair
>project last year in tenth grade.  I won numerous awards and want to
>continue with it this year.  I find the results very interesting.  I
>would like suggestions as to how I could improvise the project so it
>won't be exactly the same as last year.  Is there anything interesting
>that I could do besides making the magnetic field stronger?  Perhaps
>changing the species of plant?  Any ideas as to new conditions for the
>plants... etc...  Any suggestions as to a new "twist" for the project?
>	Or, any other ideas for cool plant projects would be appreciated,
>although I am most interested in continuing my prior research if I can
>make it somewhat different from last year.  Anyway, read the abstract
>and tell me what you think.  I really appreciate your help and look
>forward to reading the responses.  Thanks from a grateful student!

=46irst I would suggest monitoring the magnetic fields
with a suitable gauss meter.  Are you sure about where
the plants are in the magnetic field?  Are you sure
your "controls" are completely "out" of a magnetic
field?

Second I would want to be sure that there are NO other
variables in the "room".  Monitor light, humidity, and
fertilizer in the soils with suitable techniques (meters).
Are you sure that the position within the room with respect
to the light variable (in particular!) has not affected
the results?  Light fall-off near the edges of a window
or at the sides or ends of fluorescent lamps is quite
severe and if one of your three groups is located in such
a place then light (rather than magnetic field) could have
been the limiting factor.

Third I would suggest doing some statistical analysis of
your results.  It sounds like each group had at least 10
individuals and this permits you do at least do some t-tests
in regard to height.  But how about weight (fresh and dry)?
This gives you some idea about how natural variation gets
in the way of interpretation of your data.

These three ideas will add a lot of sophistication to your
project and will show the development of good science practice
to the judges.  Good Luck!

ross

________________________________________________________________
Ross Koning                 | koning at ecsu.ctstateu.edu
Biology Department          | http://koning.ecsu.ctstateu.edu/
Eastern CT State University | phone: 860-465-5327
Willimantic, CT 06226 USA   | fax: 860-465-4479
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