FFA Agriscience FairCDEWritten by Dr. Teri HamlinGeorgia Agricultural EducationMarch 2001Georgia Ag Ed Curriculum
What is the Agriscience Fair? • Middle & High School FFA members demonstrate and display agriscience projects that are extensions of their agriscience courses
Purpose Agriscience Fair • Encourage students to use scientific process & reinforce skills & principles learned in the classroom • Provide recognition, recruiting & promotional opportunities for FFA program
Researched Based Project • Categories include: • Biochemistry/Microbiology/Food Science • Environmental Science • Zoology • Botany (Plant & Soil Science) • Engineering (Mechanical/Agricultural Engineering Science) • Divisions: • Division I: individual students 7th - 9th • Division II: individual students 10th - 12th • Division III: teams of two members 7th - 9th • Division IV: teams of two members 10th - 12th
Rules • Enter only one project (team or individual) • Team = 2 members working on same project • Projects must reflect students own work & completed during the current year • Prohibited in display: • Live animals Chemicals • Syringe & Needles Human/Animal Cultures • Lasers Combustible materials • Open Flame • Crystals other than sucrose & sodium chloride • Exhibits requiring voltages above 120AC • **** refer to CDE guide for other restrictions
Display • May consist of one or more panels • Must be stable & free standing • Max size = • 48” wide x 30” deep x 108” high from the floor • Upper right hand corner must have • Name of student(s) • Chapter Name • Title of Category • Division (I - IV)
Competition • State FFA Convention, April 26 - 28th • Display, Log Book, Project Report & Interview • 100 possible points • Scores 1 to 10 given in 10 areas • Knowledge Gained Scientific Approach • Experimental Research Individual/Team Work • Thoroughness Information • Conclusions Written Report • Interview Visual Display
Project Must Use Scientific Method • Observation-Select a topic. • Question-Ask a question about what you observe. • Hypothesis-Predict an answer to your question. • Method- Decide on a way to test the hypothesis. The outcome must be measurable. • Result-Conduct experiment using defined method and record the results. Always repeat research to confirm results. • Conclusion-State whether your prediction was confirmed or not and try to explain your results.
Getting Started • Selecting a Research Topic • Choose a topic of interest • Realistic • (student abilities, knowledge, resources and time) • Select topic matches closely to SAE • Seek a topic that can be expanded • National winning projects (long term 2-3 year with performed replications & more data collection)
Selecting a Topic • Get Ideas & Resources: • Websites search • Current newspaper, magazines, Educational TV programs • Librarians, Federal, State, County and Local agencies • Visit a university and speak to professors or graduate students involved in topic • Contact industrial firms doing research in topic area
Present Research • Effect of Colored Mulch on Tomato Root Growth
Don't hesitate to ask. If you are interested, most people will assist you. • It is very important to keep a complete bibliography of all material found and a list of people who helped.
Question After you decide on a topic, you need a question Narrow down your field of research. It is important to focus on one question. Some Guidelines: What have you always wanted to know in that area? Choose a question that can be answered with a YES or a NO. What are researchers asking in that area?
Remember:the first requirement of a scientist is curiosity • If a world-class physicist can spend hours figuring out the way curve balls work and the speed at which they work best, don't assume any question you come up with is too lowly to investigate.
Construct Theory Base • Search for items that will enable you to build an argument that the proposed research project is necessary and will make a contribution to the body of knowledge that already exists • Internet • Books • Magazines • College of Agriculture • Experiment Stations • Extension Service • Agribusiness
Student’s Research Proposal • Statement of the problem • Purpose and objectives of research • Summary of previous research • Method:How experiment will be set up in order to solve the problem • Data collection: Procedures for collecting and analyzing data • Assumptions: what is your “best guess” hypothesis concerning the outcome of the experiment • Limitations: Define any limitations that might impact outcome • Definition of Terms: for person reading paper with no previous knowledge of subject area • Bibliography
Hypothesis • What do you think may be the answer to your question, how the project will turn out? • The hypothesis is the possible answer you will try to prove or disprove. • There is no right or wrong answer here. • As the project progresses, try to determine if hypothesis is true.
Decide on a procedure & methodHow will you go about doing the experiment? • Method will be the process by which the hypothesis is proved or disproved. • Compile a list of all the materials needed to conduct investigation. Keep track of costs. • While doing experiment, keep very accurate records of all steps & tests performed. • Record failures as well as successes.
Record your results • Use a notebook to record all information or data. • Make charts and graphs, draw pictures or use videotape to show results. • Give facts, not opinions. • If experiment uses measurements, then give those exact measurements. • Do not use terms like: about, more or less, close to, etc.
Record the Results • What was the result of the experiment? • Have you eliminated all variables? • (conditions which could affect the answer but for which you are not testing) • Repeat experiment to ensure accuracy & validity. • It is recommend that experiment be repeated a minimum of 8 times to validate.
ConclusionWrite a final report summarizing your question, research methods and conclusion. • The conclusion is the answer to your question. • Should be clear, concise and stick to the point. • Resist the temptation to jump to conclusions. • What did your project teach you?
Conclusionaddress these questions • If you were to do your experiment again, would you get the same results? • Can there be differences? Why? • What happened when you tested your hypothesis. • Even if the experiment proved your hypothesis wasn't true, you've learned something. What is your project's importance? • What have you learned?
Winning Display • Prepare a display to give your audience a quick overview of • the question you asked, the method you used, the result you got, and the conclusion you came to • Draw charts, diagrams or illustrations to explain your question, methods and results • A neat and organized poster will obviously communicate your work better than a sloppy, disorganized one.
Include within Display • Notebook • Includes the nitty-gritty details of the experiment • Make sure it is complete & the information in it clear • Demonstration Materials • Items that illustrate a scientific principle, equipment or materials used, or enable others to retrace your steps • ”Hands-on" will make an exhibit more interesting and help others understand your discovery • Use photographs to illustrate your work if your experiment involves valuable equipment or animals & dangerous chemicals that are not allowed
Botany (Plant/Soil Science) • Study of plant life, agronomy, horticulture, forestry, plant taxonomy, plant physiology, pathology, genetics, hydroponics, algae, etc.
Web Sites http://www.ffa.org/activities/agscifair/index.html http://www.uswcl.ars.ag.gov/exper/exper.htm http://www.florence.ars.usda.gov/kidsonly/middle/mulch5.html http://members.aol.com/ScienzFair/botany.htm http://www.acessexcellence.com http://www.ipl.org/youth/projectguide/ http://www.scifair.org http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/~jbarron/scifair.html http://doacs.state.fl.us/marketing/planetag/ideas.htm http://www.oxnard.org/project.html http://schoolnet.connectok.com/science/dr/ http://www.quantumlynx.com/AlexanderScienceProjects/ http://www.bay.k12.fl.us/schools/bms/hotbot_science.htm http://www.tyler.net/ruskhslib/sci_fair.htm http://www.ipl.org/youth/projectguide/ http://sciencefairproject.virtualave.net/ http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/kids/fair/ideasframe.htm
Books • Biology of Plants. 5th Ed. Raven, Peter. New York, NY: Worth Publishers, 1992. 791p. College or advanced high school level. Covers viruses, bacteria, fungi, photosynthetic molds and algae and plants. • Biotechnology Projects for Young Scientists. Rainis, Kenneth G and George Nassis. New York, NY: Franklin Watts, 1998; 160p. Gives instructions from the simple to the more complex. • Botany : 49 More Science Fair Projects. Bonnet, Robert L. and Dan Keen. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1990. 144p. A collection of experiments and projects in botany for grades 6-12. Includes germination, vegetable reproduction, hydroponics, photosynthesis, and plant stimulation. • Botany: High School Science Fair Experiments. Dashefsky, H. Steve. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1995. 158p.
Books • Experiment With Plants. Byles, Monica and others. Minneapolis, MN: Lerner Publications, 1994. 32p. Basic information on plants and simple experiments that demonstrate some of their characteristics. • Exploring The World Of Plants and Soils. National 4-H Plant and Soil Science Program Development Committee. Members' Manual, Unit II B. 1990. 20p. Document Available from: National 4-H Council, Educational Aids, 17100 Connecticut Ave., NW, Washington, DC, 20015. Junior High science projects. Plant responses to fertilizers, water holding capacity and other experiments. • Janice VanCleave's Plants: Mind-Boggling Experiments You Can Turn Into Science Fair Projects. VanCleave, Janice. Pratt New York, NY: Wiley, 1997; 90p.
Books • Make a Plant and Soil Science Exhibit. Dozier, T. Leaflet YANR No. 107. Auburn, AL: Auburn University, Alabama Cooperative Extension Service, Mar. 1989. 4p. • Science Fair Handbook for High School Teachers. .Instructional Materials Service, F.E. Box 2588, College Station, TX 77843-2588. Texas A&M University, Telephone 979-845-6601. • Science for Kids: 39 Easy Plant Biology Experiments. Wood, Robert W. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1991.
Books • Science Project Ideas about Trees. Science Project Ideas. Gardner, Robert. Springfield, NJ: Enslow Publisher, 1999; 96p. Projects involving the processes that take place in plants and trees. • Science Workbook Student Research Projects in Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources. Ohio Agriculture Education Curriculum Materials Service Rm 254, 2120 Fyffe Rd, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH 43210-1067. Telephone 614-292-4848 • The Great Seed Mystery for Kids. Henry, Peggy. • NK Lawn & Garden Step-by-Step Visual Guide. • New York, NY: Avon Books, 1992; 79p. Projects and experiments demonstrate the significance of seeds, how and why they grow and how to plant and care for a garden.
Examples of Horticulture Topics • I. New Plant from Old • Seed germination at varying depths • Temperature effects on seed germination • Soil Types on seed germination • Seed soaking effects on germination (vary length of time or types of solutions) • Dormancy time: can dormancy periods be artificially shortened • Factors that effect plant cloning • Factors that effect rooting of asexual cuttings • Germination and Seedling Growth under water stress • Use of a warm germination and cold vigor test to determine germination and vigor of damage and undamaged seeds
I. New Plant from Old (cont.) • Different light spectrums effect on seed germination • Are there really lunar influences on seed germination? • How do different treatments change how fast seeds sprout? • What effect does seed size have on how well a crop like oats or wheat grows? • What are the effects of gravity on seed sprouting? • Does electric or magnetic fields affect seed sprouting or plant growth? • Would microwaves have an effect on seed germination? • Does tobacco or alcohol affect germination rates? • Does moisture pH affect sprouting of grass seeds?
II. Photosynthesis, Plant Physiology & Growth • How covering plants or parts of plants affects a plants ability to produce vegetative growth • Plant growth by different light wavelengths • Chlorophyll measurement • Carbon dioxide deprivation • Carbon dioxide enhancement • Using paper chromatography to separate pigments in leaves • Light & its effect on amount of starch (food) in leaf tissue • Genetic factors (genes) that control the inheritance of simple physiological characteristics in plants • Nutrient Deficiencies in Plants • Nitrogen Fixation • Measuring Photosynthesis Rate by Measuring Oxygen Production
II. Photosynthesis, Plant Physiology & Growth (cont.) • Biological clocks in plants • Amount of water lost by a plant due to transpiration • Determine the ideal relative humidity for a particular plant • Can you produce new varieties by cross-pollinating flowers of forced bulbs? • Can you speed up the process of cloning by changing the formulation of the nutrient mix? • Can you grow clone mutants that tolerate harsh environmental conditions (think of the industry significance)? • Does crowding affect plants? • Does colored mulch affect the growth rate of a plant? • Does the respiration rate indicate the rate of plant growth? • Do plants grow better with tap water or distilled water? • Does photosynthesis take place in the absence of light? • Does light intensity affect the rate of photosynthesis?
II. Photosynthesis, Plant Physiology & Growth (cont.) • Determine if a certain flowering plant is a long, short, or neutral – day plant. Does CO2 concentration affect the rate of photosynthesis? • Is the amount and rate of plant photosynthesis variable? • Which type of vegetable has the highest concentration of chlorophyll? • Is there a relationship between a leaf's starch and chlorophyll? • Can you paint images on plant leaves using light? • How would leaf harvesting affect a plant's health at different growth stages? • What factors affect how plants reproduce? • Examine whether or not the shape/angle of the stalk cut has any effect on the life of cut flowers. • What is the effect of temperature on the rate of photosynthesis?
III. Growing Media & Soil • Test plant growth in different types of media • Loosened and compact soil • Making a nutrient solution from soil • Root size with hydroponics • Composting kitchen refuse & its affect on house plants • Break down of construction materials ( stone, brick, cinder block & other building materials) & its affect on plants • Making nutrient-rich topsoil • Comparing the thickness of soil to the dominant plant species • Nitrogen content in soil where carnivorous plants live • The grabbing ability of sand, silt and clay • Evaluating the nutrient content of ant hills
III. Growing Media & Soil (cont.) • Factors that increase decomposition rate of leaves • Container type & water loss • Are the claims made for hydroponics true? • Are there fewer insects problems? • Is less fertilizer needed? • Are there greater yields? • What is the effect of lowering/raising the pH on a plant's growth? • What physiological functions are related to a plant’s biological clock? • Breeding a new iris plant • How do different conditions affect the speed at which fruit and vegetables ripen? • How does soil pH affect the pH of water that touches the soil?
III. Growing Media & Soil (cont.) • Decomposition of common materials • Decomposition above and below the ground • Does soil type change how well crops grow? • How are different soil types affected by water running over them? (soil erosion) • What happens to the way plants grow if there are no microorganisms in the soil? • Are different plants affected in different ways by specific microorganisms? • Does colored mulch affect soil temperature?
IV. Stimulation • Phototropism • Natural weed killer • Chemotropism • Geotropism • Thermotropism • Touch stimulation • Sound stimulation • Reduction of stimulation • Effect of stimuli on plant development and fruit production • Effect of Electromagnetic fields on fruit production or growth • Effect of blue light vs red light • Effect of Ultraviolet Radiation on different plants • Effect of Ultraviolet Light on Plant Growth
IV. Stimulation (cont) • Allelopathy: What happens when you grow sweet potatoes next to other plants? • To determine if brightness of light will alter the growth rate of a plant. • Is leaf size related to the amount of light received by a plant? • V. Transport • (projects in food, water, and waste movement within plant cells) • Transpiration in plant leaves • Determining root size by leaf size • Food storage time • Capillary action
VI. Fungi and Simple Plants • Other host for bread molds • Gathering airborne mold spores • Testing algae as a nutrient • Symbiosis with lichens • Temperature affect on the production of carbon dioxide by yeast • What is the best environment in which to grow mushrooms? • What are the steps in the lifecycle of a mushroom? • What environment is needed for moss to grow and flourish?
VII. Environment & Health • Shrubs as natural sound barriers • Water purification • Compare plant growth & air pollutants • Plant sensitivity to sulfur dioxide • Plant sensitivity to nitrogen dioxide • What is the effect of acid rain upon the growth of roots? • What are the ecosystem effects of replacing native wildflowers with foreign varieties of flowers? Effect of acid rain on the germination of bean seeds? • Determine the pH of local water sources • What climatic changes causes pH fluctuation? • Do different varieties of the same fruit have the same level of vitamin C? • What effect does cigarette smoke have on plant transpiration?
VII. Environment & Health (cont.) • Does nicotine affect plant growth? • How does cigarette smoke affect plant growth? • Does caffeine affect plant growth? • Does the use of insecticides affect the growth of vegetables? • What is the effect of Tobacco Mosaic Virus on common vegetables? • What effect does ozone have on plant growth? • Which type of grass is the most drought resistant? • Why is ethylene gas important in the fresh fruit and vegetable industries?
VIII. Chemicals • Influence of hormones on plant cell development • Changes in plant growth caused by application of growth hormone • Can chemical hormone treatment replace cooling for bulbs? • Liquid fertilizer affects on flowering of bulbs • At what concentration will 2, 4-D fail to kill weeds? • What is the highest concentration of 2, 4-D that will stimulate plant growth? Lowest concentration? • Compare the effects on plant growth of a natural auxin and a synthetic hormone • What effect do auxins have on algae cells that live in water? • What happens to cuttings if you add various auxins, natural & synthetic in combination with a cytokinin (another type of plant growth substance)?
VIII. Chemicals (cont.) • Some known effects of auxins include causing leaves to fall and preventing potatoes from rotting. Can you discover any new effects that auxins have on plants? • How do organic pesticides compare in effectiveness with synthetic chemical pesticides? • What effect do pesticides have on earthworms? • Creating organic fertilizers • Comparing lawn care methods (synthetic vs organic) • How do different types of fertilizers affect plant growth? • How close does a pesticide have to be to protect a plant? • What is the effect of MSG, sodium, and glutamate on plant growth? • What is the effect of different nitrogen concentrations on plant growth?
VIII. Chemicals (cont.) • Which brand of chemical fertilizer produces the greatest growth? • Which is the best medium for new cuttings - plain water, water with synthetic auxin added or water with fertilizer added? • Is food waste (tea bags, coffee grounds, orange rinds, banana peels, etc.) a good fertilizer for plants or does it harm their growth? • Would it help plant growth to add vitamins (A, E, C) to the soil? • Will fruit extract help bean cuttings re-grow root cells?