Archive for January, 2013

Displaying your Air Quality Science Project

The simple Air Quality Check Around the Neighborhood science project in the last blog post can be turned into an interesting science fair project with the right display. You only need to be very meticulous about the details that you observe and note them down.

The display board can be covered with the 12 square cards that you hung out in different locations. You can place them in groups of threes as per the location and below them add the magnified digital photo graphs that you took of each inner square.

In a table list the air particles that your individual squares caught in each location and add up the total number. You can also make a comparative listing of the total air particles in each location. Describe which site had the maximum pollutants and also consider if it was as expected.

Were the number of pollutants more or less the same in all locations or was there a drastic difference in one of them. Examine what this difference means in your conclusion. The conclusion can also be printed out and posted on the display board to illustrate the results of your science fair project. Identify the least and the most polluted locations in terms of air particles gathered in your neighborhood.


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Air Quality Check Around the Neighborhood

Particles suspended in the air are actually the cause of poor air quality. These polluting air particles are to be measured around the neighborhood in this science project. Here is a list of things that you will need.

Black permanent marker, hole punch, some string, petroleum jelly, magnifying glass, a digital camera, set of 12 card paper squares of about three inch sides. The object of the science project is to test the air quality in three different locations around the neighborhood and in your house.

Pick three locations such as the park, the school yard, the local market or any other place in the neighborhood. In each card paper square  draw a one inch large square with the marker in the middle of the card. Now punch a hole in the right top corner and run some string through it. Leave enough to tie the string from a branch or pole at your chosen location.

Add a coat of petroleum jelly to the one inch square before you tie the card paper up. Each location gets three squares ties up in different areas so make sure you write the location on the card papers. Now leave the paper squares out for a week. This is best done when its not raining.

At the end of seven days collect the card paper squares and make the following observations. Use the magnifying glass to count the number of particles stuck on the square center. Take a photograph with the digital camera. Use a close up feature to get clear results. Now you can compare the air quality in different locations of the neighborhood in the science project.

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Growing Potato Eyes

Did you know that the bumpy blemishes on a potato that’s been on the store shelf too long are called the “eyes” of the potato? And that these “eyes” have nothing to do with sight and everything to do with reproduction of the potato plant.

Its a simple enough concept to understand. Potatoes are underground stems, not roots. So here’s a simple enough science project to watch how the stem grows. You will need about 5 potatoes, 5 brown lunch bags, 5 rubber bands to seal those lunch bags and a knife to cut the potatoes.

The first potato goes into the first brown bag and is sealed with a rubber band. The second potato is cut into two halves and placed into the second brown bag and sealed. The third potato is cut into three pieces and so on till the five bags have been sealed. Now place the brown bags in an area where they will not be disturbed and leave them that way for two weeks.

Once the time is up open out the sealed bags and check how many eyes grew on the potato pieces. Add the number of eyes in each bag irrespective of the number of pieces that the potato had been cut. What did you observe in this science experiment?  Write is all down to form your project.

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Life on Titan?

Titan is a rather well known moon of Saturn. The Cassini mission undertaken by NASA has sent us some beautiful pictures of both the planet and the moon. These have aided the NASA scientists in studying them in more detail. Titan is the only other celestial body in our solar system which has stable bodies of liquid on its surface.

Currently the blocks of hydrocarbon ice found floating in the seas and lakes of Titan have excited the scientists who believe that some form of exotic life in a primitive state may have developed in these blocks. Much like how the early algae was formed on Earth giving life as we know it on our planet a start.

Naturally the kind of life that develops in a cycle which involves ethane and methane rather than water, like on Earth, is likely to be different. In fact till now scientists had assumed that there was no floating ice on Titan as solid methane is denser than liquid methane and would end up sinking.

Since there is evidence to show that the ice made of hydrocarbons is floating on the liquid surfaces on Titan perhaps it is not too difficult a leap of the imagination to think that life of a primitive nature is also embedded in those ice cubes. Only more scientific study will reveal the truth.

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New Medicines May Help the Paralyzed

The victims of spinal injuries who have been paralyzed may have new hope with medicines that are being developed at Stanford University, California. Researchers at the University have used the experimental drug on mice with no movement in their lower limbs.

They claim that the medicine currently called LM11A-31 has helped the mice to walk with well coordinated steps and even reproduce swimming motions. The mice were given three oral doses of the medication while a control group was given placebos. The medicine was administered at 4 hour intervals to the mice.

The medicine which was repeated for a period of 42 days did not have any toxic side effects on the mice. It did not cause an increase in the pain levels for the animals and crossed the blood brain barrier efficiently. Certain chemicals are unable to do so.

Scientists agree that this is the first time that an oral medication has proved to be an effective therapy for spinal injuries. Most earlier therapies were of a far more invasive nature and did not always guarantee good results. Perhaps the functional improvement found in the mice would be further enhanced when the drug is improved upon in the science project and human trials begin.


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