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The Best Choice for Growing Large, Flowering Plants

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Author: Muriel Gerhard

Which of the following will grow larger plants with a greater number of flowers in the same time period, under the same conditions of water, light and temperature?  Those in compost, those in soil plus miracle- gro or those containing a mixture of both?

Type

Biology

Grade

Middle School

Difficulty of Project

Medium

Cost

$ 10- $20

Safety Issues

Wear safety glasses and plastic or garden gloves when handling the different soil samples.

Material Availability

If you wish, create your own compost. See reference to Composting 01 below. If not , purchase it with all the other materials from a local garden center.

Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project

Five to six weeks. This is a function of the kind of plants you select and includes collection, recording and analysis of data, summary of results and completion of your report and bibliography.

Objectives:

To design and conduct an experiment to determine which of the following will grow larger plants with a greater number of flowers in the same time period, under the same conditions  of water, light and temperature, those in (a) compost,  (b) those in soil plus Miracle -Gro or(c) those containing a mixture of both?

Materials and Equipment Required

  • compost soil
  • regular soil
  • pkg. of Scott`s  Miracle- Gro soil mixture
  • soil from your backyard (as a control)
  • seeds of  a flowering plant
  • 5 pots of same size
  • trowel
  • light source for plants
  • air thermometer
  • measuring cup
  • water
  • charts for data collection
  • graph paper for display of results
  • Optional: Camera for photos of plant specimens at different stages of growth and or p photos of the steps taken in conducting the experiment. These photos may be part of your display and add points for dramatic value.

Introduction:

Background Information:
  1. Visit Composting 101 on the internet. You will learn how to create a quick and easy compost soil. Knowing what compost contains will assist you in formulating your hypothesis.
  2. Investigate the claims made by gardeners as to the value of using compost. Will their claims influence your hypothesis?   
  3. Investigate the claims made by Scotts who produce Miracle –Gro . Will their claims influence your hypothesis?
  4. This science fair experiment also serves to acquaint you, the students, with the essential processes of sciencing such as the importance of the use of a control, of identifying dependent and independent variables, of data collection, of pictorial and graphic presentation of data and of being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings.  You take on the role of scientists and in the process you learn to act as one.
  5. In your report, make certain to state your hypothesis and the rationale for your prediction, identify the variables, describe the role of the control and state your results.

Research Questions:

  • Visit Composting 101 on the internet. You will learn how to create a quick and easy compost soil.
  • Investigate the rationale for keeping the atmospheric conditions of light and temperature the same for all plants.
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