Science Project is a disaster!

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by tmarquez, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. tmarquez

    tmarquez DIS Veteran

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    So DD is in 4th grade and they are required to do a science fair project. We took a tour at Living with the Land at Epcot and she got plans to do a kind of aquaponic thing. She wanted to do that for her project.

    Unfortunately the plants aren't doing well at all. Not the ones growing in the "fish water" and not the ones growing in regular soil. There's nothing in the paperwork she brought home saying what to do in the event of this type of outcome. And I never did a science fair as a kid so I don't know.

    Is she to carry on and somehow dispaly the results? Is she allowed to change projects midstream? I plan on asking her teacher when she goes back to school (they are on a 3 week break right now) but I thought maybe one of you guys might know or have a suggestion for her. Thanks!
     
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  3. Kae

    Kae DIS Veteran

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    I would try to email the teacher. Did she have it approved before she started? and if so do you have to stick with it? If Not find another one. there is a good one about Salt and how it effects the boiling point of water. And here all the Disers have done quite a few good ones, do a search.

    Kae
     
  4. Lintasare

    Lintasare Holy Carp!

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    I would continue on. Not every project can be a success. If it fails and she knows why then write it up. I had a project in high school that was a complete failure. But I knew why it failed and was able to show that and what should have been done to make it succeed and I passed.
     
  5. burnurcomputer

    burnurcomputer DIS Veteran

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    I would display what she did, but also list the problems that she had with it. Any science project has variables that need to be added in to see the full result. A perfect project with little in the way of problems really don't teach much. The one with problems and a huge list of what can be done to correct it next time and lists other variables are more interesting, well thought out, and show that the child did some real problem solving to worjk in the project :)
     
  6. bearloch

    bearloch DIS Veteran

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    keep going!
     
  7. okeydokey

    okeydokey <font color=green>Frosty the Snowman scared me as

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    The purpose of the Science Fair is to learn the scientific process. As long as she shows that she tried to follow the plan, her grade should not suffer because the results are inconclusive.

    Scientists fail a lot before they succeed. It is all part of the process. She should be taking pictures of all the steps.
     
  8. lovesmurfs

    lovesmurfs DIS Veteran

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    When is the fair? Could you start over with a different plant? Philodendrons grow easily and you may be able to see some results/changes if you have a few weeks left.

    I agree, though, that regardless of what you do, she should write up (using the scientific method) the process she did when it failed. Failure is a huge part of the scientific process -- success is often only the result of many failures (even hundreds or thousands of failures).
     
  9. tmarquez

    tmarquez DIS Veteran

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    It sounds like she should try to continue. Thanks!

    She doesn't have time to start over as it takes so long for the plants to grow and it has to be done by the end of October. She has taken pictures along the way.

    I really don't know why it is failing, the plants just aren't growing and are dying. She is using some sort of lettuce that was recomended, maybe it is too hot? They get water and sun.
     
  10. joviroxx

    joviroxx <font color=blue>rectally reporters television pro

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    Repeat the experiment and note both results as two separate trials. My kids usually do 3 trials. If the results are the same, note and explain what might have gone wrong. If they are not the same, note and figure out why the first one didn't work.

    Its all about the process , not the results.

    Oops, didn't see your post about not having enough time. Just write up the results as is.

    And a bit of advice? Ive learned always do experiments that only take a day or two...:)
     
  11. lovesmurfs

    lovesmurfs DIS Veteran

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    Can she continue with the seedlings (and report), but get a healthy plant and repot with her soil (shaking off the old soil) to measure changes in growth for the month?

    Grass seed and chia seeds grow very quickly (we used to use them in potatoes for class projects).
     
  12. SAHDad

    SAHDad DIS Veteran

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    I've learned to not make it too complicated too. Last year, DS (8) wanted to do something with rockets. We'd been launching model rockets for a while, so he decided that we could launch the same rocket with different size motors, and see how that affected flight performance.

    So, we launched the same rocket a bunch of times, and (using an altimeter), got all sorts of great data. I helped with the launches, and talked about what data was useful for our experiment. But, when science fair day came, I think he lost points because the judges did not think that he had done the work himself.
     
  13. Frantasmic

    Frantasmic <font color=green>*crickets*<br><font color=blue>I

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    Show the failure and show the lessons learned. Don't change in mid stream.

    If nothing else, hydroponics is tough to do, even on a small scale and maybe that is why it isn't utilized in our society more. That's a good lesson to learn.

    Or maybe Mickey Mouse just has a green thumb and the school should pay for your family to return to EPCOT for more "research." That would be a could Summary of your hypothesis.
     
  14. I Love Pluto

    I Love Pluto DIS Veteran<br><font color=green>I guess that make

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    Write a note or email her teacher. Ask which option best fits her expectations. It would not be difficult to switch to a different project.

    I personally feel it is better to bring a simple success as my project, rather than fail miserably with something that just didn't work. Kids can be cruel if she brings a failed project to school. No child needs ridicule. :goodvibes
     
  15. Tinijocaro

    Tinijocaro DIS Veteran

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    That's how science works. Have her note her discoveries. It's all part of research.
     
  16. I Love Pluto

    I Love Pluto DIS Veteran<br><font color=green>I guess that make

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    Minority here - 4th graders are into who brought in the "best" one of anything. They are not adults, and therefore are not into scientific research & how it works. They are more into how your project looks, and how good it is. They ARE kids.

    My suggestion of possibly switching the project was to avoid ridicule of any kind.

    Good luck to your daughter, no matter what decision you make. She deserves a break. Maybe her plants will start to bloom due to this thread! :thumbsup2
     
  17. GaSleepingBeautyFan

    GaSleepingBeautyFan DIS Veteran

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    My DD will be starting her science fair project soon. The teacher said they should have duplicates of everything.

    My DD is also doing something with plants. I can't remember exactly what it involves but I'll be finding out soon when I have to go buy the stuff with her. LOL

    I agree with most everyone else that she should keep going with it. And try to do some research into why the plants might be dying. That would look really good even if all the plants don't make it.
     
  18. clm10308

    clm10308 DIS Veteran

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    After a trip to Disney, my DD decided to do a hydroponics science project as well.
    Hers did not turn out very well either, but her plants did grow a little. I can't remember all the details, but she did as pp mentioned and wrote up her results and included information about why the plants didn't grow. She actually wone first place in her school for her division and went to the regional science fair
     
  19. leebee

    leebee DIS Veteran

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    I spent 25 years in scientific research. ALL results are valuable; "failures" are just information you use to better-design the next experiment! If your child can come up with some explanations as to why the plants didn't grow, that's as good as having a positive outcome. Since neither plant flourished, the problem isn't in the liquid vs. soil medium; there's something else that is adversely effecting the plants' growth. (If it was the growth medium, one would grow and the other wouldn't grow as well). She should come up with a list of variables that would effect the growth of lettuce (temperature, moisture, sunlight exposure, pestilence, etc) and then see if something's been happening with one of these that would effect lettuce growth (is it too hot for the plants to be in their ultimate growth range? Is she watering them too much, or is there something in your water that might be detrimental to the plant?). She can still make a nice display with a chart listing possibilities, growth conditions, etc. Good luck! (I always hated when DD had to do a science project!)
     
  20. Bungle

    Bungle DIS Veteran

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    I agree with the others, keep going! Behind any good idea/project/experiment there is a LOOOONG line of failures. As a matter of fact I think that you can gain a lot of knowledge from a failed project. Have her take detailed notes and then come up with some working ideas on what went wrong and how the experiment could be improved upon in the future. Out of curiosity are the plants wilting, stunting, or kind of rotting?
     
  21. SandrA9810

    SandrA9810 DIS Veteran

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    3 weeks is enough time to get another plant to start growing. If she's already worked on this for 3 weeks, start with a new plant on the opposite side of the house, with different light conditions. Then she can do a comparison to how well plants grew on the south side vs the north side (or however your house may be set up).
     

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