Throughout our spring ecology course here at Smokey House we participated in a month long experiment where we recorded bean plant growth with added variables to determine if the plant’s growth rate would be impacted. My experiment was to observe and record bean growth between three separate plant’s where one had no sugar added, one that had one teaspoon of sugar added and one that had one tablespoon of sugar. These three plant’s were watered three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. All of the plant’s received approximately the same amount of water and sunlight. On the 26th of April we completed our experiments and culminated data about our findings.
My findings were that the bean plant that received the same amount of sunlight and water than the others but had no sugar added grew the tallest in stalk length at 20 centimeters. However, the bean plant that received the smallest amount of sugar at one teaspoon grew to a close second at 12 centimeters. Lastly for our third bean plant it grew a whopping zero centimeters and gave our room a funky smell due to the fermenting sugar.
The denouement of my experiment was that the bean plant without any additives grew the tallest and perhaps the reason for this is because the plant had easier access to the nutrients in the soil and sugar could have made it more difficult for the other plant’s to do this. The second plant with only one teaspoon grew to a total of 12 centimeters although it grew at a much slower pace than the plant without sugar. As for our plant with one tablespoon it didn’t grow at all and the reason for this could be because there was simply to much sugar for the bean to absorb other nutrients from the soil. We did however, miss an entire week of monitoring our beans due to spring break and this could have been a confounding variable in our project although I have a small amount of doubt that it had a considerable impact on growth overall. I’ve concluded albeit the bean plant’s can grow with a minimal amount of sugar, I find it better to let nature do its magic and add none at all.
For the past few weeks at Smokey House we’ve been doing a bean experiment to determine if different music can change the growth of a plant. I used two very different genres of music, country and rap, and one bean with no music. I chose music because it was the easiest topic and plants do not hear things. People say that music can effect plants, but plants cannot hear. My hypothesis was that the music would not affect the growth of the plants.
I planted five beans, labeled two country, two rap, and one control. Two listened to rap music, two listened to country, and one listened to nothing. They each listened to music an hour every Friday in different closets, with the lights off, and the music playing at the same volume on each device. I measured the height of the stalk length every other school day. I gave them each a third a cup of water every time we watered them.
Country #1 grew better than the rest of them. It grew 16cm by the end of the experiment, rap #2 and country #2 didn’t grow at all, rap #1 grew 1cm, and the control grew 2cm.
I believe plant country #1 grew a lot more than the other plants because it was listening to country music. Because the country music is softer and not as verbally abusive towards plants. I was completely off on my hypothesis because the country music did change the growth of the plant, and the rap music changed the growth in a bad way and made it so it did not grow as much.
Next time, I would switch the rap to rock and see if it is the genre of music that affects the plants rather than. Water is another thing that may have affected the plant growth, and the density of the soil. We should have made the amount of water and how it gets water a controlled variable. The end.
Though it is very common that there are organisms and micro-organisms that habit streams, rivers and lakes, it may catch you off guard how many there actually are! Today at the Smokey House center we had the chance to get our feet wet and our hands dirty. We partook in a lesson where the objective was to identify different types of organisms we found lying beneath the water that are visible to the human eye, also referred to as benthic macro-invertibrates. To my surprise we managed to find more than expected. The group of us pulled up dozens of organisms such as caddisfly’s, stonefly’s, aquatic worms and black fly’s. Everyone enjoys being in the water but few know how many different creatures dwell below them, chiefly during the winter.
At Smokey House in pod 2 we made apple cider. They make it here all by hand, they have a hand press and a hand grinder. The steps to make apple cider are
- Find apples, which was not easy this year!!!!!
- Wash them.
- Then we take them and one by one place them in the grinder, which grinds it up to a pulp.
- Take the apples and put them in a mesh sack.
- Place the sack in the press which presses all the juice out of the pulp.
- The juice that comes out of the pulp is the cider.
- We then drank it, it was pretty great.
POD 1 included gardening work as well as insect entomology. Last week on Wednesday, September 7, I looked at insects under the microscope. The proper settings for the microscope were finally figured out and I was able to see the bugs well then before.
I looked at multiple insects. I will start out with talking about the beetle. The mouth I observed has claws. Around the mouth, the colors is dark yellow. As well as there are hairs or “whiskers” by the mouth sort of like a mustache. The antenna is rope like in texture and separates very “ropey”. The back has lines that look similar to black style duck tape. The back also appears to have either very fine hairs or dust– perhaps dust mites. I think we humans have almost invisible dust mites that live on us daily, which can only be see under the microscope.
The type of beetle I looked at is called a ground beetle. I did some research on ground beetles and found that there are 495 different species in Vermont and New Hampshire. The exact name of the beetle I saw under the microscope is called a Common Black Ground Beetle (latin name: Pterostichus melanarius). This species of beetles was introduced from Europe. They do not fly. There habitat is primarily in moist woods and wetlands. They like to hide in the dirt, under rocks, under leaves, and under logs. Beetles eat other bugs such as grubs, caterpillars, maggots, earth worms and even different beetle species!
After observing the beetle, I briefly observed two other insects. One was a fly. It was very hairy and its skin was white and black in color. I did not know flies to be hairy until I saw it under the microscope! Finally, I observed a wasp. In my opinion, the skin texture looks like paint, and like a highway road’s yellow lines. I also saw many bumps on the wasp.
This POD was very enjoyable and very laid back. I’ve never had a school program with PODs before but it looks like that this will be a good thing and there will be a variety of things I’ll learn due to the PODs and that I will learn much more than in pervious years. I enjoyed spending time in the garden just picking cherry tomatoes, which there were a lot of and observing insects up close. I learned that when people call bugs “bugs”, that they are actually probably an insect. This has been a good start to my last year!