Notes from Janice’s Desk
I would like to design a template for science fair projects that provides guidance without producing cloned projects. With this goal in mind, I am going to experiment with different designs and would very much like your input.
I’ll work on one part of the project at a time, starting with the project question. Expressing the problem is the key to a successful project.
Assuming you have identified the ripening of fruit as your topic. Assume that you want to know more about what affects the ripening process. Can you change the ripening speed? If so, what would affect the speed of the ripening process?
At this point, you need to read about fruit ripening. You can even ask someone who works with fruit, maybe the manager of the the fruit and vegetable department at your local grocery. I’ve read that fruit ripens faster if: (1) it is placed in a sealed bag; (2) kept in a warm place; (3) exposed to fruit that is already ripe.
Ethylene gas is the ripening agent that many fruits and vegetables produce naturally. Ethylene causes them to ripen–and then overripe. While refrigeration and humidity slow the effects of ripening, they don’t stop the production of ethylene gas. The more the fruit ripens, the more ethylene gas it makes. This has a big effect on how–and when–farmers harvest their fruits and vegetables for market. Most commercial tomatoes are picked before ripening is completed, so the fruit won’t spoil before it gets to your market. But picking early also means the tomato spends less time on the vine, where ethylene would help build more of the sugars and acids that create tip-top tomato flavor.
Now for my experimental “Science Fair Project Question Template.” Remember, this is a trial run and your input will help me to tweak is so that it just what you need.
How do [changes in the independent variable] affect [the dependent variable].