Project Ideas 9-12

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Kinetic Behavior of Animals

Category: Behavioral and Social Sciences

Grade: 9-12

Kinetic behaviors

Variables: light (intensity, wavelength), temperature, magnetism, sound (intensity, wavelength),scents (placement, concentration), plant species, presence of other species

Recommended species: Nasonia (sting-less wasp) earthworms, beetles, mealworms, cockroaches, tobacco hornworm, crickets, ants

Details: Kinesis and taxes refer to movement by organisms which is either directed by stimuli such as chemicals, walls, pheromones etc. Many Invertebrate Zoology and/or Behavioral (Ethnology) books can describe normal movements. Many variables can disrupt this normal behavior. See also pheromones.

Taxic Behavior of Animals

Category: Behavioral and Social Sciences

Grade: 9-12

Taxic behaviors Variables: light (intensity, wavelength), temperature, magnetism, sound (intensity, wavelength), scents (placement, concentration), plant species, presence of other species

Recommended species: Nasonia (sting-less wasp) earthworms, beetles, mealworms, cockroaches, tobacco hornworm, crickets, ants

Details: Taxes refer to movement by organisms which is either directed by stimuli such as chemicals, walls, pheromones etc. Many Invertebrate Zoology and/or Behavioral (Ethology) books can describe normal movements. Many variables can disrupt this normal behavior. See also pheromones.

Husbandry (Reproduction)

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Invertebrates

Variables: humidity, photoperiod, light intensity, temperature, magnetism, competition between species, nutrients, noise, space (including height & depth), pheromone release, pheromone production

Recommended species: Nasonia (a sting-less wasp), beetles, mealworms, cockroaches, earthworms, tobacco hornworms, water boatmen, crickets, striders, dung beetles, squash beetles, flour beetles, ants, pill bugs, moths, butterflies

Details: Reproductive biology and behavior of these (and other) species may be found in most good Invertebrate Zoology textbooks. If doing a behavioral problem, often the introduction of a simple variable may produce changes or inhibition in normal behavior.

Hydroponics

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Plant Growth

Variables: type of container, type and amount of water, chemical additives, light (intensity, wavelength), evaporation, invertebrate species present, competition between species, photoperiod, temperature

Recommended species: Any plant species can be used such as geraniums, corn, lettuce peas, beans etc.

Details: Almost all plants can be grown in water that has been enriched with nutrients and under some conditions carbon dioxide is needed to be supplemented. Actually hydroponics are a nice experimental way to do plant problems since the variables can be introduced into the water and there is not the variable of what is actually in the soils used. Gives better controls to many experiments.

Insect Repellents (Pheromones)

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Pheromones

Variables: sources in insect; distance pheromone travels; mechanism by which pheromone travels (air borne, water, contact); mechanisms by which attracted insect perceives the pheromone beetles; cockroach; flies; mosquitoes; fruit flies; ants

Details: Many, if not most, insects produce exudates which are released into the environment. Most commonly these are to attract the opposite sex, or mark a trail, or identify a territory - or send any message necessary for continuance of the species. However some pheromones act as repellants of other species, or put out by females to protect nest or egg site from same species males (cannablism) or predators.

Plant Chemistry

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Some plants release chemicals into the soil through their roots and fallen leaves that affect the growth of plants around them.

Variables: Type of plants; Plant structure containing allelopathic substance; Concentration of chemical

Details: The Walnut tree is an example of an allelopathic plant. Walnut trees release a chemical through their roots, leaves, and fruit that inhibit the growth of plants around them

Plant Competition

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Number of individuals in population

Variables: temperature, humidity, light (intensity & wavelength), magnetism, space, growth media, inter- or intra-species competition, natural contraceptives, herbs, pheromones

Recommended species: ants, beetles, cockroaches, flies, earthworms, fleas, fruit flies, tobacco hornworm; plants (large like geraniums, grasses, beans etc. or micro such as algae)

Details: All population sizes are controlled by various mechanisms some of which are within (intra-) a species itself or between (inter-) different species. If conditions are uncontrolled then any population will grow unregulated, but there is always some point (caused by various factors) at which a population's size will be regulated, and the population will no longer grow.

Plant Nutrition

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Content to come

Population Control

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Decrease fertility in pests

Variables: temperature, humidity, light (intensity & wavelength), magnetism, space, growth media, natural contraceptives, herbs, pheromones

Recommended species: ants, beetles, cockroaches, flies, earthworms, fleas, fruit flies, tobacco hornworm

Details: This is an area of active research around the world to see if we can control particularly pest species; by causing a decrease in the fertility of the organism rather than irradiating the species entirely (which never works), or the need for use of substances toxic to other organisms (such as the effect DDT used to control mosquitoes almost eliminated birds of prey in North America).

Predator Repellents

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Keep mammals out of gardens

Variables: plant species present, invertebrate species present, odors (natural and synthetic)

Recommended species: vegetables, flowers, weeds, sound

Details:There are a number of local garden pests (pests to the garden owner) such as rabbits, shrews, and moles. There are many products sold which purport to control these pests. Do they work and/or are there other things that may act as pest deterrents?

Seed Germination

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Plants

Variables: photoperiod; light intensity; temperature; magnetism; competition between species; type of water; nutrients; noise; humidity; wild versus domesticated

Recommended Species: grasses, vegetables, marigolds, flowers, nuts, corn, peas, various beans

Details: Seed germination is very easy to do, and introducing variables during the germination process is easy. Placing seeds in between moist sheets of filter paper (or paper towels) will cause germination. Placing towels and seeds in petri dishes (or refrigerator dishes) gives controlled conditions and prevents towels from drying out too quickly. For lots of seeds, place in rows on a cafeteria tray, between a layer of paper towels, extending paper towels outside of tray, put another tray on top, (making a tray-paper-seed-paper-tray sandwich), bind with duct tape, tip on end and put end of towel into liquid (water or test variable), and seeds will germinate in 2-5 days (depending upon seed type)

Water Retention in Soil

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 9-12

Water retention in Soil

Variables: type of soil, plant species, invertebrate species, natural fibers, disposable products (diapers, paper products, etc.)

Details: Many mechanisms have evolved to allow the retention of soil moisture to sustain the resident plants and animals. These usually occur in some sort of interrelated grouping of species and the elimination of any one factor or species may cause the entire mechanism to fail.

Crystals

Category: Chemistry

Grade: 9-12

Crystals

Variables: growth from various liquids, rate of growth as a function of temperature; rate of growth as a function of concentration; supersaturated solutions and growth

Details: crystal can be grown in a number of different kinds solutions. Naturally occurring crystal formations such as geodes are the product of crystalline growth and this process can be affected by many environmental phenomena. A good contact person would be a chemistry or geologist

Accelerometer Experiments

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Some of the new computer game devices include accelerometers. These are used to sense the arm and hand motion of the player. These devices can be interfaced to computers to study various kinds of physical motion.

Calculate the Surface Speed of a Custom Conveyor

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Description: Engineers designing custom conveyors need to perform multiple math calculations to determine the optimal motor, gearbox, timing pulley ratios to obtain a conveyor that runs at a surface speed that meets design requirements.

Details: Develop a spreadsheet utilizing math calculations (geometry) that will determine belt surface speeds when the engineer enters conveyor data: 

  • motor rpm
  • gearbox ratio
  • timing pulley ratio
  • head pulley diameter
  • belt thickness

Can I Touch You with my Wireless Channel?

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Through wireless communication (using wireless routers) two or more computers can talk, web sites can be visited, e-mail can be sent, calls can be made, and so on. Unfortunately, the communication range of a wireless channel is quite limited. This limit can be causes by many factors-building, presence of other electronic devices, TV, microwave, etc., which affects the communciation. In this project the communication range of wireless routers in presence of obstacles (building, TV, etc.) can be measured. Note the position of the wireless router can be a factor affecting the communication range.

Resources required: Two or more computers (laptops, desktops, both) and a wireless router.

Data Management

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Description: Huge amounts of data exist in the public domain which need anyalsis. By using the database management tool Access, one can find relationships in this data. Some areas where such analysis is needed might include SETI, genetic illnesses, and behavioral patterns of humans. In many cases, both computer science and math (statistics) are required.

Variables: Data set selected, population size.

Details: Determine patterns hidden in large amount data through the use of Microsoft Access and statistics.

Mathematical Series Studied by Computer

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Description: Nature provides many examples of a series of numbers coming to a final value: Pi and e being perhaps the most famous of several examples.

Variables: speed of the computer, algorithm used in the analysis

Details: Many different series are available for study by computer. These may result in graphs showing how fast a series heads toward a final value.

Networking

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Transmitted Signal Delay

Variables: Atmospheric conditions (time of day/month) and the total distance traveled by the signal.

Details: There is a noticable delay from when a television host asks a question and when a person being interviewed responds in another part of the world. The total delay can be measured by starting a stop watch when the host asks a question and stopping it when the distant person begins to respond.

Write a Program

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 9-12

Write a program (any language) that will take an array input of widgets of different shapes and colors, sort them into different trays, and deliver a report after a specified number of imputs

In manufacturing it is good practice to track and sort effectively the items being producted. A report detailing which are most or least produced can be useful upstream to tell what is needed and what is in excess.

Details: This is purely hypothetical project that requires no actual building, unless the student would like to build something for visual effect. The user should be able to input an array of up to a specified size describing the shape and color of a widget.

The Optical Activity of Crystals

Category: Earth and Space Science

Grade: 9-12

The optical activity of crystals leads to double refraction and other amazing effects. Quartz is an optically active crystal, but only slightly so. Kansas City has several companies that manufacture quartz crystals, and perhaps could be consulted about crystal properties, piezo oscillators and so so. Birefringence was discovered n the calcite crystal in the 19th century.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birefringence

Drought Resistance

Category: Environmental Science and Renewable Energy

Grade: 9-12

Increasing root growth

Variables: type of water, type of soil, soil additives, invertebrate species, pruning, plant species competition

Recommended species: vegetables, grasses, soybeans, wheat

Details:All species, in the struggle for survival, use many mechanisms to prevent drought resistance. These may take the form of changes in root size, type or numbers among other things.

Optimal Grass Growth

Category: Environmental Science and Renewable Energy

Grade: 9-12

Optimal Grass Growth

Variables: water, humidity, species, photoperiod, magnetism, competition, invertebrate populations, lawn chemicals, fertilizers

Details: Particluarly since the experimental period is during the winter (in Kansas City), small, controlled experiments done inside, in refrigerator dishes or plastic shoe boxes would be the most successful and reduce the number of uncontrolled variables.

Oscillators, Vibration

Category: Force and Motion

Grade: 9-12

One can do demonstrations of both electrical oscillations and mechanical vibrations in various ways. A simple mechanical experiment would be to use a spring and a weight. Determine the spring constant by measuring the deflection caused by a weight of known mass. Then measure the frequency of vibration and compare to the formula value.

One can an oscilloscope to show the damped wave motion of an RLC circuit. Alternately, one can demonstrate resonance using a variable frequency source. One can use a tuning fork to demonstrate resonsance and relate this to musical theory. One can demonstrate the motion of coupled pendulums. Then one may analyze this motion by calculating eigen values with a computer program 

Laser Cooling and Trapping

Category: Matter and Energy

Grade: 9-12

Some of the original work on laser cooling used lasers from old fax machines. Laser cooling is a technique that uses light to cool atoms to a very low temperature. It was simultaneously proposed by Wineland and Dehmelt and by Theodor W. Hnsch and Arther Leonard Schawlow in 1975, and first demonstrated by Letokhov, Minogin and Pavlik in 1976. One conceptually simple form of laser cooling is referred to as optical molasses, since the dissipative optical force resembles the viscous drag on a body moving through molasses. Steven Chu, Claude Cohen-Tannoudji and William D. Phillips were awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize in Physics for their work in laser cooling.

Magnetic Measurements, Hall Sensors

Category: Matter and Energy

Grade: 9-12

Hall sensors can be used to measure magnetic fields. They are used in automobile ignition circuits. An older way of measuring magnetic fields was with the "snatch" coil, which used Faraday's law of induction.

James Clerk Maxwell put Faraday's ideas into mathematical form via have famous set of equations, which are called Maxwell's equations.

the Maxwell Equations in MKS form are:

 

Cleaning solutions

Category: Molecular Biology

Grade: 9-12

Cleaning solutions

Variables: secondary properties of cleaning solutions such as contact lens solutions and their ability to control bacterial growth, mold growth or algae growth; comparison of agents that actually do the cleaning; concentrations and cleaning capacity; application time

Details: At the senior high school level, a sophisticated study of a specific cleansing solution or system can be good science. The suggestion here is not to compare products per se, but to examine a specific product and see if varying things such as time or concentration change the ability of the solution to prevent side effects such as algae or bacterial build up. Not all products are equally effective against all "germs" including various kinds of bacteria, algae, and viruses.

Microbial Control

Category: Molecular Biology

Grade: 9-12

Reduce growth rate

Variables: pH, nutrients, light (intensity & wavelength), magnetism, growth media (nutrients), species competition, herbs, plant extracts

Recommended species: E. coli, S. aureus, P. aerogenes, Strep. species, penicillium mold

Details:All population sizes are controlled by various mechanisms some of which are within (intra-) a species itself or between (inter-) different species. If conditions are uncontrolled then any population will grow unregulated, but there is always some point (caused by various factors) at which a population's size will be regulated, and the population will no longer grow.

Natural Antimicrobials

Category: Molecular Biology

Grade: 9-12

A variety of natural materials are purported to have antimicrobial properties.

Variables: Type of Substance; Type of microbe; Methods of culture

Recommended species: If testing the antimicrobial properties of a substance on bacteria, be sure to use a type of bacterium that does not cause disease in humans (non-pathogenic.

Details: Naturally occurring antimicrobial agents are present in many plants, animals, and microorganisms. They probably evolved as part of their host's defense against microorganisms. Natural antimicrobials can be derived from bark, stems, leaves, flowers and fruits of plants, various animal tissues, or from microorganisms.

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