Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Artist of the Week: Science Fair

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
This week's artist is Jake for his massive science fair project.

His project was to determine which fertilizer worked the best. We got off to a late start, what with all the hospital madness at the end of January and the beginning of February, but we did get started and the plants cooperated.

He ended up with six different conditions: plain topsoil, topsoil with Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab soil enhancer, compost from a local organic farm, composted cow manure, organic compost from Ukrops (a local supermarket chain that composts trimmings from the produce section) and Sta-Green (a chemically based product). As for the plants, he went for green beans. I found some nifty germination trays and he planted 36 seeds (half a tray for a total of 3 trays) for each of the conditions. The dining room table became a greenhouse and he waited for the plants to start growing.

As I stated earlier the plants were cooperative. I was afraid we started a bit late, but after 3 days a few plants were already poking out of the soil. 11 days later we had a veritable forest of green beans. I practically did a double take every time I went by the doorway to the dining room. You could practically see the plants grow.

Jake's project
Originally uploaded by Teckelcar
Two weeks later he took his final data and I helped him put it together. I had never done a science fair project in school, but I had helped all sorts of grad students and post docs put together poster of biological conferences. With my limited background and an extensive instruction packet he was able to put together a fairly good poster.

Today I stopped by the school to check out the science fair. Literally every available surface was covered in the library. I found out from the librarian that there were over 200 submissions. From what I understand the posters will be judged and the winning entries will go on to compete in the county wide science fair.

I don't envy the judges. There were a lot of outstanding and informative presentations. Everything from chilling sodas, to what batteries work best, roof trusses and the very popular mentos fountains.

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