Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Alex's Science Project - Stage I



Song:  Track 1 on his Autumn Album 

Artist:  George Winston


Alex has a science project due in a few months.
It may be on anything related to the life sciences...
and he must demonstrate his use of the scientific process.

He has already completed his scientific proposal
(a brief on his proposed experiment ensuring the variables and controls
are to be emplaced so the teacher may approve it).

Alex, and I, discussed the coming experiment. 

 We discussed the question to resolve and our Hypothesis...
and the rationales behind them.

As I had stated in an earlier article...
this experiment came to mind on the drive to Mammoth Mountain
with my elder sister, my mother, and Alex.

The drive was over 3 hours long...
and my elder sister, and I, were discussing all sorts of issues
the whole way.

My sister had commented on the green trees as we were driving.

Alex was listening to our conversation so I had decided to grasp 
the teaching opportunity.  I had commented that the trees appeared green
because it is the energy level of the visible light spectrum that chlorophyll
doesn't use so much (not absorbed).  It is reflected...
and that is why plants appear green.

At this moment...
as I knew Alex would have a science project this year...
I thought how this would be a perfect science project for Alex.



We would test to see which of the wavelengths of visible light is the most
valuable to plant growth using a full light spectrum plant light...
varying tinted acetate sheets in the major color spectrum...
plant seeds to sprout...
and the support equipment necessary.

Alex will take daily measurements of the plant growth...
control water and light dispersement
(not only time intervals...but the wavelengths allowed to specified plants
through the use of the tinted acetate sheets...along with controls with no tints...
no acetate...and no light)...
and we will run 3 separate trials separated by one week time intervals...
and run the experiment for approximately 8 weeks.

Alex will be taking measurements and documenting them on paper
to later analyse and graph...
and through photographs.

We will later have to set up the results in a presentable fashion
for a science fair.

We talked of our experiment set up...
 and I had him type up a materials list.

I searched on line and had bought just what we needed.

I will talk of the controls and variables in a later article after we set up the experiment.

In order to control as many of the variables as possible...
I decided on an indoor experiment.

One large plant light tube to ensure control of light intensity dispersement.


A heating mat to ensure equal heat dispersement.


Self watering unit to ensure equal water dispersement.




These will be the major components of our experiment.

I had bought all three for under $100.00 through Amazon
(I love the Internet :)


I will also be later using this set up to grow hard to find 
Japanese vegetables after the experiment is complete.


While we await the arrival of the equipment...
Alex still has to research which plants to use...
and he will have to compile his research report...
complete with a Bibliography...
on all of his initial research on not only the type of plants...
but on the full spectrum of light...
the reasons for certain wavelengths behaving the way they do...
the expected growth pattern of the plants as they sprout...
the optimum growth conditions for the sprouts....etc.

Alex has also completed his Hypothesis (described below).


INTIAL OBSERVATION:  

Most plants look green.



REASONING:  

Plants look green because the green portion of the visible light spectrum
is not being absorbed by the chlorophyll (and, so, not used so much in photosynthesis)...
and is instead being reflected...giving the green appearance of most plants.



QUESTION:

Which portion of the visible light spectrum has the most positive effect
on green plant growth?



HYPOTHESIS:

The red portion of the visible light spectrum will have the most positive effect
on green plant growth.



REASONING:

Plants have evolved to utilize the most available energy source in the visible
light spectrum.  As the red portion of the spectrum most easily penetrates
water and the atmosphere...it is the most abundant wavelength of the 
visible light spectrum at most plant elevations or depths (water plants).



As the Scientific Method is applied Critical Reasoning...
and Critical Reasoning is the basis for all rational thought...
for Alex to be able to apply the Scientific Method through experimentation 
is the perfect learning opportunity in the structured thought patterns
of the rational mind.


As a father...
my ultimate goal is to have Alex able to choose, and walk...
 his path to ultimate happiness. 


To be able to critically reason...
to be able to codify that which he has learned...
 to be able to apply that information in a prioritized
and rational manner in synch with his goals in life
so he may experience a deep love and satisfaction of his life...
that is the whole goal of education.

It all starts, and ends, with Critical Reasoning.

The Scientific Method is often a child's first step toward Critical Reasoning.

Through it...
a child opens a whole world of wonder...
in everything around him.







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