Gardening Without Soil
A Problem-Based Learning Initiative in High School Biology

                             by

      ...
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                                            TABLE OF CONTENTS

List of Appendices .......
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                 Genetics ..................................................................
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                          LIST OF APPENDICES

APPENDIX A:   Garden Observation Log

APPENDIX B:   ...
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                                  INTRODUCTION

Means of Traditional Growing

       In order fo...
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        Plants require many things to survive. The cost all depends, on the area being

cultivate...
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Hydroponic Growing Method

       Hydroponics is the growing of plants without soil. Not to be co...
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maximize the amount of "information" that can be obtained for a given amount of

experimental e...
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of the precipitation soaks into the ground and this is the main source of the formation of

the...
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water and will be absorbed by plants. Because the quantities of phosphorus in soil are

generally ...
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into nitrite ions, NO2-, and then into nitrate ions, NO3-. Plants utilize the nitrate ions as a

...
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dioxide) to organic material by reducing this gas to carbohydrates in a rather complex set

of re...
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        Evolution and Natural Selection

        The idea of evolution reflects ‘survival of the...
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                                       PURPOSE

        This project was done to solve the prob...
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                                       METHODS

       In order to make the tomato and pepp...
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Data Collection

       Our class used the scientific method for our experiment. We made a hypothe...
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                                       RESULTS

       While using the AeroGarden, we have ...
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   Quantitative Results

   Table 1 – Basic Plant Measurements
Time (Days)      Height of Pl...
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 Project Calendar


                              February 2010
     Sun        Mon         Tue     ...
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                              March 2010
     Sun       Mon          Tue           Wed       ...
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                                   April 2010
Sun          Mon             Tue            Wed ...
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21 the students working on the plants pruned off the dead leaves. There was not much

progress sh...
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                                        DISCUSSION

Connections to Biology Concepts

        N...
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       Mitosis, Meiosis, and Reproduction

       Reproduction of plants is a very simple proc...
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            Evolution and Natural Selection

            Evolution is the theory that organisms...
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Discussion of Noteworthy Additional Results

       The first week Operation Salsa began, nothing ...
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        CONCLUSIONS: IS HYDROPONIC GROWING THE SOLUTION?

        The purpose of our project ...
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Reflections and Recommendations

       Some information that could have been useful to know at t...
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                                 REFERENCES

•   Glencoe McGraw-Hill. (2006). Biology. Blacklick,...
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                                    APPENDICES

                                    APPENDIX A

 ...
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                                         APPENDIX B

                                     S...
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                                   APPENDIX C

                         Daily Observations and Actio...
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3/8/10 – tall plants, long stringy roots
    • no fruit
    • 10-10.5 cm
    • 3 light hours
    •...
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            •   # of leaves = half inch?
            •   Largest leaf 4 inches

3/25/10 – flowers, t...
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           APPENDIX D

Graphic Representations of Plant Data
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Operation Salsa Student Report

  1. 1. Gardening Without Soil A Problem-Based Learning Initiative in High School Biology by 5th Hour Biology Students of Mr. Abud June 2010 Macomb, MI
  2. 2. Operation Salsa 2 TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Appendices ..........................................................................................................4 I. Introduction .................................................................................................................6 Means of Traditional Growing ...........................................................................6 Hydroponic Growing Method.............................................................................8 Related Biology Topics ......................................................................................8 Experimental Design...............................................................................8 Nutrient Cycles .......................................................................................9 Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis ..............................................12 Mitosis, Meiosis, and Reproduction .....................................................13 Genetics ................................................................................................13 Evolution & Natural Selection..............................................................14 Nutrition................................................................................................14 Energy Costs of Hydroponics ...............................................................14 Statement of the Purpose ..................................................................................15 II. Methods....................................................................................................................16 Design of Solution ............................................................................................16 Materials ...........................................................................................................16 Data Collection .................................................................................................17 Procedure ..........................................................................................................17 List of Student Project Groups..........................................................................17 III. Results.....................................................................................................................18 Qualitative Results ............................................................................................18 Quantitative Results ..........................................................................................19 Calendar ............................................................................................................20 Noteworthy Additional Results ........................................................................22 IV. Discussion...............................................................................................................24 Connection Between Biology Topics and Plant Development.........................24 Nutrient Cycles .....................................................................................24 Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis ..............................................24 Mitosis, Meiosis, and Reproduction .....................................................25
  3. 3. Operation Salsa 3 Genetics ................................................................................................25 Evolution & Natural Selection..............................................................26 Qualitative Observations...................................................................................26 Discussion of Noteworthy Additional Results .................................................27 V. Conclusions: Is Hydroponic Growing the Solution? ...............................................28 Conclusions.......................................................................................................28 Reflections and Recommendations...................................................................29 VI. References ..............................................................................................................30 VII. Appendices ............................................................................................................31 Appendix A.......................................................................................................31 Appendix B .......................................................................................................32 Appendix C .......................................................................................................33 Appendix D.......................................................................................................36
  4. 4. Operation Salsa 4 LIST OF APPENDICES APPENDIX A: Garden Observation Log APPENDIX B: Student Project Groups APPENDIX C: Daily Observations and Actions APPENDIX D: Graphic Representations of Plant Data
  5. 5. Operation Salsa 5
  6. 6. Operation Salsa 6 INTRODUCTION Means of Traditional Growing In order for plants to grow traditionally they need soil, nutrients, water, and sunlight. Without the correct amount of any of these things the plants may not successfully grow. Plants need the sunlight, because it powers the food making process called photosynthesis. Without sunlight, they will basically starve. Plants need three main nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Plants use large amounts of these nutrients for growth and survival. Without nitrogen, they turn yellow and die. Nitrogen promotes above ground growth of shoots that we call leaves and stems. Plants need nitrogen but can only use nitrogen that is combined with other atoms like nitrates to make proteins. Some plants can get their Nitrogen from the air by hosting bacteria in their roots that turn atmospheric nitrogen into nitrates. When plants do not have phosphorus they simply do not grow. Phosphorus is one of the three main nutrients that give plants a good start on life. Phosphorus promotes below ground growth of roots. Potassium promotes strong stems and well-developed flowers. Without potassium plants become weak. They’re growth could possibly be stunted. Water is used to transport the metabolic products from one part to the other where they are needed. So it acts as a vehicle for the transportation. Without water, metabolic products could not get to where they needed to be. Water is a major part in photosynthesis as well, so without it, the plant couldn’t make food.
  7. 7. Operation Salsa 7 Plants require many things to survive. The cost all depends, on the area being cultivated, and the types of flowers or plants being planted. The cost also depends on the brands of topsoil, seeds, mulch, and fertilizer being used. The on average a yard of topsoil cost about fifteen dollars. When it comes to seeds and plants the price, really depends. A bag of seeds might cost two dollars, but a tree might cost one hundred dollars. A yard of mulch cost about twice as much as a yard of topsoil, so for one yard it might cost about thirty-five dollars. Fertilizer costs a little more, it’s about twenty dollars a bag. It goes along way though. The price basically depends on the garden’s area. To grow a plant the traditional way, starting with a seed takes anywhere from two weeks to about six weeks. It all depends on the plant, and where it’s being grown. Many things factor into a plant’s growth rate. Troubles with growing plants by traditional means could be sunlight. Plants require a lot of sunlight. Planting a plant in the wrong area could mean it’s not getting enough sunlight or not enough. Planting plants in the wrong soil could result in trouble. Planting plants in clay can be difficult for roots to push through. Also, because clay does not drain well once saturated, it can cause roots to rot from excess water exposure and denial of oxygen to the roots. Very porous will allow nutrients to be leached more easily which can make less nutrients available to plants. Pruning plants is very important. It’s important because it promotes growth. Pruning plants will keep them from leaning, or getting too heavy on one side. Pruning is very important so that new fruit or flowers grow in place of old ones. Pruning is very essential when it comes to growing a healthy plant.
  8. 8. Operation Salsa 8 Hydroponic Growing Method Hydroponics is the growing of plants without soil. Not to be confused with aeroponics, though. Hydroponics uses water instead of soil. The water is enriched with all the nutrients that the plant would need, through artificial means. The water is pumped and filtered throughout the system. Hydroponics systems can either use artificial light, or can use natural light. The plants thrive on the nutrient rich water, and light. The plants grow quick because there is no hard soil for the plants to grow through. Hydroponic plant systems typically do better than conventional “plants in soil.” Since there is nothing restricting the growth of the roots, and nutrients are readily available, the plants thrive. Hydroponics does have a high cost though. Construction of systems, power costs, and cost for nutrients tend to build up. Compared to normal gardening, or farming, hydroponics is far more expensive. The necessary operating equipment, and energy required, increases the cost. Related Biology Topics Experimental Design In an experiment, we deliberately change one or more process variables (or factors) in order to observe the effect the changes have on one or more response variables. The (statistical) design of experiments (DOE) is an efficient procedure for planning experiments so that the data obtained can be analyzed to yield valid and objective conclusions. DOE begins with determining the objectives of an experiment and selecting the process factors for the study. An Experimental Design is the laying out of a detailed experimental plan in advance of doing the experiment. Well-chosen experimental designs
  9. 9. Operation Salsa 9 maximize the amount of "information" that can be obtained for a given amount of experimental effort. Nutrient Cycles Water Cycle If you live in the United States, there are 40 trillion gallons of water above your head on an average day. Each day, about four trillion gallons of this water fall to Earth as precipitation. Some of the water that falls to Earth soaks into the ground and provides runoff to rivers, lakes, and oceans. The remainder—more than 2.5 trillion gallons— returns to the atmosphere through evaporation, and the process begins again. This continuous process of precipitation and evaporation is called the water cycle, or hydrologic cycle. It's been going on ever since oceans were formed on this planet 3.8 billion years ago. Water is transferred from the surface to the atmosphere through evaporation, the process by which water changes from a liquid to a gas. The sun’s heat provides energy to evaporate water from the earth’s surface. Land, lakes, rivers and oceans send up a steady stream of water vapor and plants also lose water to the air (transpiration). The movement of water through the atmosphere, specifically from over the oceans to over land, is called transport. Some of the earth’s moisture transport is visible as clouds, which themselves consist of ice crystals and/or tiny water droplets. Most water is transported in the form of water vapor, which is actually the third most abundant gas in the atmosphere. The primary mechanism for transporting water from the atmosphere to the surface of the earth is precipitation. When the clouds meet cool air over land, precipitation, in the form of rain, sleet or snow, is triggered and water returns to the land (or sea). A proportion of atmospheric precipitation evaporates. Some
  10. 10. Operation Salsa 10 of the precipitation soaks into the ground and this is the main source of the formation of the waters found on land - rivers, lakes, groundwater and glaciers. Some of the underground water is trapped between rock or clay layers - this is called groundwater. Water that infiltrates the soil flows downward until it encounters impermeable rock and then travels laterally. The locations where water moves laterally are called ‘aquifers’. Most of the water, which returns to land, flows downhill as run-off. Some of it penetrates and charges groundwater while the rest, as river flow, returns to the oceans where it evaporates. As the amount of groundwater increases or decreases, the water table rises or falls accordingly. Without this process plants living in the environment wouldn’t receive the water that they need, Thanks to the water cycle and its constant recycling of water to create precipitation, the plants would not get the water they needed, or at least not as much. Meaning some of the plants water is received due to aquifers in the ground. However this water as well wouldn’t be renewed without the water cycle. Phosphorus Cycle Phosphorus can be found on earth in water, soil and sediments. Unlike the compounds of other matter cycles phosphorus cannot be found in air in the gaseous state. This is because phosphorus is usually liquid at normal temperatures and pressures. It is mainly cycling through water, soil and sediments. In the atmosphere phosphorus can mainly be found as very small particles. Phosphorus moves slowly from deposits on land and in sediments, to living organisms, and then much more slowly back into the soil and water sediment. The phosphorus cycle is the slowest one of the matter cycles. Phosphorus is most commonly found in rock formations and ocean sediments as phosphate salts. Phosphate salts that are released from rocks through weathering usually dissolve in soil
  11. 11. Operation Salsa 11 water and will be absorbed by plants. Because the quantities of phosphorus in soil are generally small, it is often the limiting factor for plant growth. That is why humans often apply phosphate fertilizers on farmland. Phosphates are also limiting factors for plant- growth in marine ecosystems, because they are not very water-soluble. Animals absorb phosphates by eating plants or plant-eating animals. Phosphorus cycles through plants and animals much faster than it does through rocks and sediments. When animals and plants die, phosphates will return to the soils or oceans again during decay. After that, phosphorus will end up in sediments or rock formations again, remaining there for millions of years. Eventually, phosphorus is released again through weathering and the cycle starts over. Nitrogen Cycle The main component of the nitrogen cycle starts with the element nitrogen in the air. Two nitrogen oxides are found in the air as a result of interactions with oxygen. Nitrogen will only react with oxygen in the presence of high temperatures and pressures found near lightning bolts and in combustion reactions in power plants or internal combustion engines. Nitric oxide, NO, and nitrogen dioxide, NO2, are formed under these conditions. Eventually nitrogen dioxide may react with water in rain to form nitric acid, HNO3. Plants may utilize the nitrates thus formed as a nutrient. Nitrogen in the air becomes a part of biological matter mostly through the actions of bacteria and algae in a process known as nitrogen fixation. Legume plants such as clover, alfalfa, and soybeans form nodules on the roots where nitrogen-fixing bacteria take nitrogen from the air and convert it into ammonia, NH3. The ammonia is further converted by other bacteria first
  12. 12. Operation Salsa 12 into nitrite ions, NO2-, and then into nitrate ions, NO3-. Plants utilize the nitrate ions as a nutrient or fertilizer for growth. Nitrogen is incorporate in many amino acids, which are further reacted to make proteins. Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis Cellular Respiration Cellular respiration is carried out by every cell in both plants and animals and is essential for daily living. It does not occur at any set time, and, at the same point in time, neighboring cells may be involved in different stages of cellular respiration. Cellular respiration is an exergonic reaction, which means it produces energy. It is also a catabolic process - it breaks down polymers into smaller, more manageable pieces. The ultimate goal of cellular respiration is to take carbohydrates, disassemble them into glucose molecules, and then use this glucose to produce energy-rich ATP molecules. The general equation for cellular respiration is: one glucose molecule plus six oxygen molecules produces six carbon dioxide molecules, six water molecules, and approximately 36-38 molecules of ATP. Photosynthesis Sunlight plays a much larger role in our sustenance than we may expect: all the food we eat and all the fossil fuel we use is a product of photosynthesis, which is the process that converts energy in sunlight to chemical forms of energy that can be used by biological systems. Many different organisms, ranging from plants to bacteria, carry out photosynthesis. The best-known form of photosynthesis is the one carried out by higher plants and algae, as well as by cyanobacteria and their relatives, which are responsible for a major part of photosynthesis in oceans. All these organisms convert CO2 (carbon
  13. 13. Operation Salsa 13 dioxide) to organic material by reducing this gas to carbohydrates in a rather complex set of reactions. Electrons for this reduction reaction ultimately come from water, which is then converted to oxygen and protons. Energy for this process is provided by light, which is absorbed by pigments (primarily chlorophylls and carotenoids). Chlorophylls absorb blue and red light and carotenoids absorb blue-green light, but photosynthetic pigments in plants do not effectively absorb green and yellow light; therefore, light of these colors is either reflected by leaves or passes through the leaves. This is why plants are green. Mitosis, Meiosis, and Reproduction Mitosis is the reproduction of Autosomal cells through asexual reproduction. In this process, one cell becomes two. Mitosis works through plants growing in a traditional garden by using a spindle apparatus due to no centrioles. The vesicles in plants through mitosis allow the plant cells to assemble a cell wall. Meiosis is reproduction through Sex cells. In this, there are 4 daughter cells produced. Through the growing of plants in a regular garden, gametes are not produced directly. Spores are instead created so that during mitosis gametes may be produced. Plants reproduce through Meiosis using pollination. Genetics Genetics is the heredity through organisms passed on to their offspring. In plants grown traditionally, genes get passed on for those plants that survive long enough to pollinate. The genes of cherry tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, and chilis to be passed on depend greatly on which genes allow the plants to survive. Through a traditional garden, certain added nutrients contained in the soil may cause different genes to be passed on that would not be necessary if grown in the Aero Garden.
  14. 14. Operation Salsa 14 Evolution and Natural Selection The idea of evolution reflects ‘survival of the fittest’, whereas the organisms evolve to survive and produce the most fertile offspring. Plants in a traditional garden that survive will pass on genes. Natural selection is a part of evolution, through the idea that organisms that adapt best to their environment will survive and pass on their genes. If a trait in one plant allows for that plant to die off without producing any offspring, that specific trait will then soon die off and the more fit traits will get passed on. Nutrition Why is nutrition important to the human body? Nutrition is important to the body for several reasons. First of all, what is nutrition? It is the action of providing your body with nutrients. Nutrients such as healthy food and exercise are important. It is important because, without these nutrients the body cannot function to the best of its ability. With the proper amount of these nutrients, the body will not only function better, but you will feel better. It is important for all the body systems to work at their best. With the proper balance of all these factors, your body will function normally. Energy Costs How much electricity does a hydroponics garden use? A hydroponics garden takes very minimal amounts of electricity. Depending on what you grow in the garden, determines the exact amount of electricity that it uses. It can be plugged into any outlet. Most of the gardens should not spike your electricity bill. In conclusion, hydroponics gardens use very little amounts of electricity.
  15. 15. Operation Salsa 15 PURPOSE This project was done to solve the problem of growing a garden without soil. Traditionally gardens are grown using soil filled with nutrients; the problem, as explained above, is growing the garden without soil. This can be done as long as the garden receives the nutrients, water and light it normally requires. Delivered to the plant in small packets is a solution of nutrients, which the plant requires to grow at a normal rate. Light is delivered to the plant using special lamps designed to give off the same wavelengths of light as the sun. Statement of the Purpose The purpose of this project was to grow a garden without soil using the process of hydroponics.
  16. 16. Operation Salsa 16 METHODS In order to make the tomato and pepper plants grow in such unconventional conditions one would need to simulate a traditional growing situation. To grow, plants essentially need sunlight, nutrients and water. In a natural garden, plants would get their sunlight from the sun. However in the hydroponic garden, the plants received their light rays from a special light bulb like that of reptile tanks and such. Plants can only complete the photosynthetic cycle with a specific wavelength of light, that being ultraviolet light. Regular light bulbs would not work. Secondly, plants need nutrients to survive. Basic nutrients found in soil include nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. Occasionally, liquid nutrient packets had to be added to the water in order for the plants to obtain the vital elements they needed. Perhaps most importantly of all, plants need water to survive. Obviously water was the last concern. In the hydroponic garden, our plants were basically just sitting in water, however we did have to add water on a daily basis to replenish the supply. • Hydroponic garden base • Plenty of water • Nutrient packets • Seeds • Ultra violet light bulbs • Camera • Daily log
  17. 17. Operation Salsa 17 Data Collection Our class used the scientific method for our experiment. We made a hypothesis; that it was possible to grow plants without soil, and decided to measure the height of the plant, check for fruit and changes in color each day. Each week a designated group was to take measurements and note any changes in the plants and record them in our logbook. In addition each group was responsible for keeping the water tank filled in the garden, and for adding any nutrients when necessary. (See Appendix C) Procedure During this project, the following tasks were performed daily as part of the procedure: 1. Check water levels (add water if needed) 2. Check nutrient levels (add nutrients if needed) 3. Measure longest leaf on plants 4. Measure stem of plants 5. Raise lights if needed 6. Take picture of progress 7. Prune plants if needed 8. Note any changes in log book Student Groups There were eight student groups. Each group was responsible for duties and tasks associated with two weeks of the project. (See Appendix B)
  18. 18. Operation Salsa 18 RESULTS While using the AeroGarden, we have seen good growth progress while growing tomato and jalapeno plants. Although many parts of Operation Salsa were not recorded, there have been changes in data. In days 1 through 10, the plants started out showing no signs of plant life. Then on day 4, they began to sprout, roots became visible on the day after. The growth continued and on day 9, the plants required trimming and changed to a darker green. On days 11 through 20, the plants continued to grow taller and their roots continued to grow. On day 18, the plants showed lots of foliage. Also on day 18, the plants finally sprout flowers. Unfortunately, after day 18 we went on spring break and the plants did not receive the necessary water. So on day 35 when we returned, the plants were shriveled and weak. The roots were dry and malnourished and the fruits were small and still green. After day 35, unfortunately the signs of plant life continued to decrease. On day 37, the last day of recorded data, the plants showed to signs of reviving and the fruits were just hanging on.
  19. 19. Operation Salsa 19 Quantitative Results Table 1 – Basic Plant Measurements Time (Days) Height of Planet (cm) Number of Fruits Exposed to light (hrs) Girth/Width (cm) 1 0 0 18 0 2 0 0 18 0 3 0 0 18 0 4 3 0 18 0.3 5 4 0 18 0.3 6 4.5 0 18 0.45 7 4.6 0 18 0.52 8 4.8 0 18 1 9 5 0 18 1 10 10 0 18 1.15 11 11 0 18 2 12 15.5 0 18 2 13 16 0 18 3 14 17.78 1 18 3.2 15 20.32 2 18 3.6 16 21 3 18 3.9 17 22 3 18 1.5 18 20 0 18 1.3 Days of Number Time Number Size of Size of plant Height of fruits exposed to Width of of Number largest largest production of plant present light stem (cm) branches of leaves leaf branch 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 5 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 9 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 12 5 0 0 0 5 10 6.5 6 13 10 0 0 1.5 7 11 7 7 14 11 0 0 1.5 7 15 10 7 15 15 0 0 2 9 11 7 16 16 0 0 3 14 12 17 16 0 0 3 14 20 12 4 18 16 0 0 20 0 19 18 0 0 10 14 4 20 21 10 0 8 11 3 21 10 18 10
  20. 20. Operation Salsa 20 Project Calendar February 2010 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 *Start of *1 picture *1 picture project *Set up 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 *Removed *1st *1 picture biodomes Pruning 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 *1 picture *1 picture *Pruned *Pruned 28
  21. 21. Operation Salsa 21 March 2010 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 *1 picture *1 picture *1 picture *Added water *Added nutrients *Raised lights 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 *1 picture *1 picture 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 *3 pictures *1 picture *Added *Added water water 28 29 30 31
  22. 22. Operation Salsa 22 April 2010 Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 *complete *4 pictures *END Water refill *Pruned *pruned all *3 pictures dead leaves “dead” leaves (return from and branches break) 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 Noteworthy Additional Results On day 3, it was recorded that condensation on the domes of the plants had began to occur. On day four, the students working with the plants removed the bio-domes so that the plants can continue to grow in the proper way. On day 5 the plants seemed to grow extra stems and began to tip so some students helped prune the un-needed stems. During day 12 the Jalapeño plants began to wilt. On day 14 the plants had gotten to the point where they needed to the light to rise for them to grow even larger. On day 20, when our class had returned from spring break, some students had forgotten to water the plants and add the appropriate nutrients, making the plants die. Together, the class tried to see if the plants could be revived before pruning them. On day
  23. 23. Operation Salsa 23 21 the students working on the plants pruned off the dead leaves. There was not much progress showing that the plants will come back to life. On day 22 our class had given up on the plants reviving, but there was still a little hope left so a few students trimmed off a few more dead leaves and branches.
  24. 24. Operation Salsa 24 DISCUSSION Connections to Biology Concepts Nutrient Cycles Nutrient cycles consist of the water cycle, phosphorous cycle, nitrogen cycle, and the carbon cycle. All of these cycles work together to help a plant live and reproduce. All of these cycles start in the same way by the substances in the ground that are sucked up in to the plants roots and up thtte steam. The water cycle then continues by the water exiting of means of evaporation and rises to the sky then forms a cloud, then the cloud condenses and falls to the ground and absorbed by the plant once more. The phosphorous continues by an animal eating the plant, which is then, is discarded into the ground. The nitrogen cycle could happen like either the water or phosphorous cycles. The carbon cycle continues the same as the others but this element is the most important of all because all living organisms are built upon this element. Cellular Respiration and Photosynthesis Cellular respiration is what replaces carbon with oxygen by this process. This process is like breathing for an animal but instead of inhaling oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide they do the opposite. This works by the plant taking the carbon from the air with water and other nutrients from the ground and using the sun forms oxygen and sugar, this process is called photosynthesis. This process occurs in the chloroplasts inside the cell. This process is essential for the plant to live.
  25. 25. Operation Salsa 25 Mitosis, Meiosis, and Reproduction Reproduction of plants is a very simple process that involves a parent plant and cross-pollination. First in the reproduction cycle of plants, a parent drops the seed, which is in the fruit of the plant. Then the seed, which receives its nutrients and water, sprouts and when it reaches the light it begins to grow leaf to perform photosynthesis. When the plant reaches its adult stage it begins to grow its flower. This is the pollination stage in which an outside force such as the wind or a bee takes the pollen from the flowers and exchange with other flowers. This is essential to grow the fruit. When this is finished the flowers fall off then the fruit begins to grow which stars the process again. Notice that soil is never mentioned in this process, this is because soil is not needed, it simply holds the nutrients and water it needs! Genetics Plants genetics is different from animals in a few ways that make the study of plant genetics interesting. DNA is a big part of genetics, often compared to a set of blueprints or a recipe, or a code, since it contains the instructions needed to build other parts of cells, such as proteins and RNA molecules. In DNA there are segments that are called genes, which are the part of the DNA that carry information, but other DNA has structural purposes. There are scientists that use this to engineer plants to change genes to help grow more successful plants in the future, these scientists are called a geneticist. One also one of these people was Gregor Mendel. He was one of the first people to notice gene phenotypes (visible difference in genes). He also mixed different genes to find the cross-breeds using his pea garden.
  26. 26. Operation Salsa 26 Evolution and Natural Selection Evolution is the theory that organisms (over time) can change and that all life is related and from a common ancestor. Complex creatures, is thought, evolve from more simple ancestors naturally over time. To shorten it all up, as random genetic mutations occur within an organism's genetic code, the valuable mutations are saved because they help survival; a process known as Natural Selection. The mutations are passed on to the next generation. Over time, the mutations accumulate and the result is an entirely different organism (not just a variation of the original, but an entirely different organism). Natural selection is the process of eliminating the animals not fit to its environment by the stronger animals living and reproducing also called “survival of the fittest”. Discussion of Qualitative Results – (See Appendix D) The plant started growing fruit because we gave it the water and nutrients when it needed it. Changes in the plants growth pattern was caused by giving it more nutrients and/or water on some days. This affected the plants growth because the plant has a routine of receiving the proper nutrients and water, but sometimes it would get more or less than it needed, which accounted for the growth patterns. The pepper plant grew almost the same as the tomato plant over time. Later, both plants died because they didn’t get any water or nutrients for a period of 2 weeks. The color changes occurred when the leaves first appeared because they were given the most water and nutrients. At first, the leaves became very green because they were healthy, but then they lost color since they lacked sufficient water or nutrients for the two-week time period.
  27. 27. Operation Salsa 27 Discussion of Noteworthy Additional Results The first week Operation Salsa began, nothing really happened, but then our project plants began to sprout and take shape. Little flowers appeared as the plants began grow and take form. Slowly the flowers disappeared though and small green vegetables began to grow in front of our eyes. Then spring break came, due to the insufficient amount of water the plants were able to obtain during this time, the plants became dehydrated. After spring break, it was observed that the once healthy, strong, green plants, had now taken on entirely different form. The plants had very little leaves left on them that appeared to be living. A large percentage of leaves, were wilted and edged with yellowish brown color. The once strong stems reaching for the light now seemed to be bowing down in shame. Everyone waited a week to see if they would revive and they didn’t so, they were pruned. Nothing started happening. They were pronounced dead the next week.
  28. 28. Operation Salsa 28 CONCLUSIONS: IS HYDROPONIC GROWING THE SOLUTION? The purpose of our project was how to grow a plant, or in our case a tama toe tree, without soil. Our class solved that question by answering to the use of the Aero Garden. An Aero Garden requires a timer to tell when the light should go on and off. The light is one of the most important parts because in order for the plant to survive, it needs carbon dioxide, water, and sunlight. So as you can see soil is nota necessity and isn’t required for photosynthesis. The final outcome of the plant was that it died. In the beginning the aero garden worked successfully. The plant was growing healthy and even started producing tomatoes. The experiment reached its peak when it was time to prune the trees, and not only where the dead branches trimmed, but access leaves were sacrificed. In response to cutting of more leaves than needed, the plant slowly died. Not only was our tree pruned incorrectly but over our Spring Break, the plant wasn’t able to obtain one of the most important necessities: water. When the tree begins to produce fruit it requires more watering than initially needed. The problem was solved partially. The problem was answered incorrectly in theory, but lacked experience in practice. The project wasn’t as successful as was hoped when the project was actually put to the test.
  29. 29. Operation Salsa 29 Reflections and Recommendations Some information that could have been useful to know at the beginning of the project is that the more fruit grown on the plant, the more water the plant needs. Since the fruit is taking up water as well as the plant, the water goes twice as fast. We didn’t think about this when leaving for Spring Break, and our plant and fruit didn’t get enough water. If we could do it over again, some things we may have done different would be to keep the water amount up, so our plant would have enough everyday. Another thing we would have done differently would be to make sure we put in the right amount of nutrients each day. It is recommended to anyone else trying this project, to make sure you clip some of the leaves on each side to make sure the plant is not heavier on one side, due to more leaves on one side. Another suggestion would be to keep the water level up, and the nutrient level high enough so your plant would be able to produce fruit.
  30. 30. Operation Salsa 30 REFERENCES • Glencoe McGraw-Hill. (2006). Biology. Blacklick, OH: Glencoe. • http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/yard/2002/121402.html • http://www.aerogrow.com/ • http://hydroponicfarm.blogspot.com/
  31. 31. Operation Salsa 31 APPENDICES APPENDIX A Garden Observation Log • Sensory Observations (colors, shape, texture, smell, position, etc.) o Plants o Roots o Fruits • MEASUREMENTS: o Height of plant (cm) o Nutrient Levels o Number of fruits present o Time exposed to light (hrs) o Gerth/Width of stem o Temperature (qualitative: was it warmer/cooler in the room?) o Number of branches o Number of leaves o Size of largest leaf o Size of largest branch • Any actions taken (added water, added nutrient, changed amount of light, pruned branches, picked fruit, etc.) • Additional Information/Comments: • Gardeners’ Names for today:
  32. 32. Operation Salsa 32 APPENDIX B Student Project Groups   5th  Hour   Dates   Sarah   Christine   Week  1   Week  9   Group  1   Taryn   02/08/10  -­‐  02/12/10   04/05/10  -­‐  04/09/10   Ariel   Korey   Amber   Week  2   Week  10   Group  2   Alex   02/15/10  -­‐  02/19/10   04/12/10  -­‐  04/16/10     Tyler   Adi   Week  3   Week  11   Group  3     02/22/10  -­‐  02/26/10   04/19/10  -­‐  04/23/10     Brandon  W.   Charles   Week  4   Week  12   Group  4     03/01/10  -­‐  03/05/10   04/26/10  -­‐  04/30/10     Oscar       Week  5   Week  13   Group  5     03/08/10  -­‐  03/12/10   05/03/10  -­‐  05/07/10     Katrina   Joules   Week  6   Week  14   Group  6     03/15/10  -­‐  03/19/10   05/10/10  -­‐  05/14/10     Cody   Emily   Week  7   Week  15   Group  7   Brandon  B.   03/22/10  -­‐  03/26/10   05/17/10  -­‐  05/21/10     Ian   Matt   Week  8   Week  16   Group  8     03/29/10  -­‐  04/02/10   05/24/10  -­‐  05/28/10    
  33. 33. Operation Salsa 33 APPENDIX C Daily Observations and Actions 2/8/10 – set up plants 2/9/10 – condensation on dome 2/11/10 – no visible growth, picture taken, condensation on dome 2/16/10 – visible growth, green, no visible roots • height: 3cm • no fruit • 2cm width of stem • 2 leaves on each sprout • 1.25 cm largest leaf 2/17/10 – visible roots 1. 3 cm plant height 2. 0 branches 3. 2 leaves 4. 1 cm largest leaf 1/18/10 – taller, more visible roots, no fruit 2/19/10 – 4 stems (need to cut) 1. 5 roots 2. no fruit 2/22/10 – longer sprouts, taller, reaching water almost 2/23/10 - needs to be trimmed, deep green, reaching water • no action taken 2/24/10 – (trim them!) jalapeño slightly leaning • roots in water 2/25/10 – jalapeño beginning to droop, long roots • trimming done 2/26/10 – plant Is larger, roots are larger, no fruit • height: 5cm • .5 cm stem width • 5 tomato branches, 9 jalapeño branches • largest leaf: “big” • largest branch “big”
  34. 34. Operation Salsa 34 3/8/10 – tall plants, long stringy roots • no fruit • 10-10.5 cm • 3 light hours • about 8 branches • 10 + leaves • largest leaf: 7cm x 4 xm 3/8/10 – no visible difference • looks like more roots • height: 11cm • 1-2 cm stem width • 8 branches • 15 + leaves • 10 cm x 4 cm largest leaf • 7cm largest branch added water and nutrients, and raised lights. 3/12/10 – no difference • 15.5 height • 2cm width of stem • 10 branches • 8 leaves • 11cm x 7 cm largest leaf • 6 cm largest branch 3/15/10 – tall plant, long roots, no fruit. • 16 cm height • 3 cm stem width • 15 branches • 20 leaves • 13 cm x 8 cm largest leaf • 7 cm largest branch 3/16/10 – tall plant, long roots, no fruit • 16 cm height • 3 cm width • 15 branches • 20 leaves • 13 cm x 5 cm largest leaf • 7 cm largest branch 3/22/10 – lots of foliage, long roots, no fruit • 7 inch height
  35. 35. Operation Salsa 35 • # of leaves = half inch? • Largest leaf 4 inches 3/25/10 – flowers, tall, lots of leaves • Long roots • 8 inch height • a lot of leaves 4/12/10 – shriveled and weak, dry roots, small and green but destined for failure. • 21 cm height • low nutrients • 10 fruit • 1.5 cm stem • few leaves • no largest leaf 4/12/10 – weak and limp, possible life • dry but better • some still green • 10 fruits • 1.5 cm stem • few leaves • short branches 4/14/10 – no hints of reviving, shriveled hanging fruits • no use measuring • no leaves
  36. 36. Operation Salsa 36 APPENDIX D Graphic Representations of Plant Data
  37. 37. Operation Salsa 37
  38. 38. Operation Salsa 38

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