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Ecology Fair University of Minnesota Monarch Lab

Abstracts from Cloquet Middle School 2016

Cloquet Middle School
509 Carlton Ave
Cloquet, MN 55720

Year: 2016
Teacher(s): William Bauer, Cindy Edwardson, Rachel Mueller, Nicole Ojanen, Cynthia Welsh

Baffling Bacteria: What Effect Does Acid Rain Have on Natural Bacteria

Chole P

Acidity can greatly affect the growth rate of many living things; most bacteria reproduce best when in a neutral acidity of 7 pH, some bacteria can adapt and withstand a pH of 4.5. The question to represent is; what effect does acid rain have on natural bacteria? The hypothesis is; if acidity is increased, then the bacteria will not grow and reproduce as well as the bacteria in the normal PH water. Bacteria will be grown in acidic-non acidic water; this is to document how the growth process goes within the highly acidic water. Also being measured it the amount of bacteria still alive in containers. Results pending


Brownian Particle Theory: What effect does liquid density have on motion of particles?

Lleyton D

Ire (2016) stated that Brownian motion is the kinetic energy of particles in both liquids and gases. The temperature of liquids affects their density. The question: What effect does liquid density have on motion of particles? The hypothesis is: If the density is changed, then motion will not vary. A four quadrant graph will be placed under a clear tub of water. Pollen grains will be placed in the liquids of different densities and monitored using a microscope. Results pending. 


Camouflage Chrysalis: What effect do the gold markings on a monarch chrysalis, in different lights setting, have on how well the chrysalis is camouflaged?

Tristan T

Many animals have adapted to camouflage themselves in a way to better survive (How Animals Work, 2016). The question is: What effect do the gold markings on a monarch chrysalis, in different lights setting, have on how well the chrysalis is camouflaged? The hypothesis is: If a chrysalis is placed in different lighting, then the gold markings in a bright (sunshine) light will better camouflaged the chrysalis? Photos of a four chrysalises were taken in different light settings (grow lab, room light and in a dark room) surrounded by milkweed. The photos were placed in a power point and set to display once every 15 seconds. The students were asked to record how many chrysalis they saw. Results pending. 


Colorful Mind: What effect does color have on emotion and academic performance?

Cherry (2016) found that colors can have effects on performances such as tests taking. The question is: What effect does color have on emotion and academic performance? The hypothesis is: If color is presented to someone before taking a test, then the green color will trigger improved performance over white, red  or black and colors will trigger specific emotions. Students will be presented with colored slides (hues of red, green and black) before taking a short memory test. A survey will be created where colors are shown and students will chose which emotion they feel. Results pending. 


Cosmic Ray Conundrum: The programing of an application to determine the effect of elevation on cosmic ray count

Ethan D, James S

Cosmic rays are a high speed particles that are a electron or a nucleus that is created by new born galaxies (NASA, 2012). The engineering goal of this study was to use a modern mobile telecommunication device (smartphones) equipped with a number of integrated sensors that can be programmed to collect data on motion, location, and even cosmic rays. A smartphone application was programmed to collect cosmic ray data. The smartphone was attached to a unmanned aerial vehicle and data was collected as the craft changed altitude. Results Pending.


Crafty Crayfish: What effect does gender have on securing a crayfish shelter?

Crayfish are arthropods that are often found in freshwater streams (Duluth Streams, 2016). The question is: What effect does gender have on securing a crayfish shelter? The hypothesis is: If male and female crayfish are offered a shelter, then males will more often be found in the shelter than males.  Eight crayfish (four males and four females) were placed in two tanks with only one shelter. Daily observations were made to count the number of males or females in each shelter. Results pending. 


Floating Vegetables: What effect does salinity have on romaine lettuce growth, using hydroponics?

Pery A, Maya F

“Imagine having an unlimited supply of your family’s favorite produce” (Diyncrafts, 2016, ¶1). Using hydroponics, croup yield can be improved four fold when compared to traditional soil farming (Microfarms, 2016). The question is: What effect does salinity have on romaine lettuce growth, using hydroponics? The hypothesis is: If the salinity is lower, then the romaine lettuce plants will grow larger than the plants grown with added salinity. Five heads of romaine lettuce will be grown in six different water salinity levels (0, 100, 200, 300, 400 and 500mg/L).  Plant height, degree of green color and leaf width will be recorded. Results pending.


Flying Football: What effect does the type of football have on distance traveled?

Markis K

The question is: What effect does the type of football have on distance traveled? The hypothesis is: If a leather football is used it will travel farther and faster than a vinyl one. Two footballs (leather and vinyl) where each thrown 10 times. The distance traveled an speed were recorded. 


Friendly Frass: Can monarch larva instar be predicted using the area of the frass they produce?

Geneveve F, Olivia A

Monarch larvae molt and go through five instars, one for each life stage (Journey North, 2014). The question is: Can monarch larva instar be predicted using the area of the individual frass they produce? The hypothesis is: If monarch individual larva frass is measured overtime, then their instar can be predicted. The length and mass of three sets of five larva, each in the third, fourth and fifth instar were measured. Each day, wearing gloves, the length and width of 10 pieces of frass for each of the fifteen larva were measured in centimeters, and the area of each piece was calculated. A line graph with one standard error showed that instar can be predicted by using the area of individual pieces of frass. 


Friendly Frass: What effect dose frass and wood ash have on tropical milkweed growth; is there an evolutionary symbiotic connection between milkweed and frass?

Greg C

There are over 100 different types of milkweed. Monarch larva only eat milkweed and their butterfly only lays eggs on the leaf (Monarch Watch, 2016). The question was: If frass is added to the soil of a milkweed plant, then milkweed growth will be enhanced, supporting an evolutionary relationship.  Twelve small tropical milkweed plants, four sets of three were stripped of their leaves. The number of new leaves, leaf width, and stem diameter were recorded. Each set of three were treated with different possible fertilizers (wood ash, monarch frass, chemical fertilizer and just water). The hypothesis was not supported. The plants fertilized with monarch frass grew the least and dyed the most. The plants in just water and wood ash grew the best. 


Happy Hermit Crab: What effect do olfactory cues (smells) have on hermit crab behavior?

Brenna M

Hermit crabs start as small marine larvae that have to find a suitable place to undergo metamorphosis into a juvenile form. They use the olfactory cues by capturing chemical signals from the environment. (U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2015) The question is: What effect do olfactory cues (smells) have on hermit crab behavior? The hypothesis is: If a hermit crab is presented with different olfactory cues (food, and conspecific, and predator), than the hermit crab will move towards the food and conspecific smell, and will go away from the predator smell. The crabs will be placed in a testing chamber, and then they will be presented with different smells. The angle the crabs stop at will be recorded. Results pending.


Hockey Physics: What effect does the type of hockey puck and stick have on performance (speed and distance traveled)?

Carter K

When a puck is moving friction is the physical property that will affect puck speed and distance traveled. The materials used in a hockey stick can affect the kinetic force, thus also the distance traveled (Physics of Hockey, 2016). The question is:  What effect does the type of hockey puck and stick have on performance (speed and distance traveled)? The  hypothesis is: If the type of hockey puck and stick are varied, then the hockey puck performance will be affected. Three hockey pucks will be hit with a wrist shot, ten times each using different hockey sticks (composite, wood, and fiberglass). A velocity electronic meter will record speed. Results Pending. 


Icy Results: What effect does the amount of ammonium nitrate have on how cold an ice pack gets?

Instant Ice packs are used for many injuries but, many don’t know how these ice packs work (Carolina, 2016). The question is: What effect does the amount of ammonium nitrate have on how cold an ice pack gets?  The hypothesis is: If the amount of ammonium nitrate is increased, then the temperature of the ice pack will go down. Results Pending. 


Interactive Intelligence: What effect does DISC personality grouping have on interactive technology learning success?

Ahna A

The DISC Personality survey is commonly used in classroom to form effective groups. These groups are formed when the students take a simple survey about what they think is most like them (DISC, 2016). Osmo, the interactive learning technology, is a new way to play games and learn at the same time. Groups will be made using the DISC personality assessment (one of each personality type per group) and the computer will make random groups. Each group will be given an iPad with an Osmo attached and be asked to play the educational game. Students will be surveyed on how well their groups (DISC and Random) worked together and how their group scored on the game. Results Pending. 


Let’s Rotate: What effect does propeller design have on the velocity of the wind behind the propeller?

Sam B

During propeller rotation the airflow past the propeller blade produces an aerodynamic reaction with can be resolved into thrust (with wings we call this lift) and propeller torque (drag).  If drag is reduced fuel efficiency can be improved (Experimental Air Craft Info, 2016). The question is: What effect does propeller design have on the velocity of the wind behind the propeller? The hypothesis is: If propeller design is changed, then wind speed behind the propeller will vary. Three propeller designs were made. Each was placed on a PVC mount. A small motor was used to spin the propeller and wind speed behind the propeller was measured. Results pending.


Light the Way: What effect does the amount of light have on monarch transition between life stage?

Dakota B

Monarchs migrate to Mexico in the fall and fly back in the spring. It is important that they are healthy during the flight (Monarch Lab, 2016). The questions is: What effect does the amount of light have on monarch transition between life stages? The hypothesis is: If the time monarchs are in different life stages (larva, chrysalis and butterfly), then they will take less time to change in the sunlight when compared to the dark. Two cages, with five butterflies were set in two different light settings (sunlight and dark room). Butterfly stage was noted, larva length, time in chrysalis, mass of butterfly were recorded. The hypothesis was supported the larva in the light went into chrysalis sooner and the butterflies emerged one day sooner. 


Majestic Medaka: Does food type affect the reproduction rate of medaka fish?

Henry S, Lleyton S

Research states that certain types of fish food can affect the reproduction rate of fish (Ucpressu, 2016). The question is: Does food type affect the reproduction rate of medaka fish? The hypothesis: If medaka fish are feed different food type combinations (tropical, brine shrimp and a combination), then there will be a higher reproduction rate when the fish are feed a combination of brine shrimp and tropical fish food. Twenty-seven medaka fish were placed in nine two liter aqua circulating tanks. Two males and one female were placed in each tank and allowed to breed. The number of eggs produced daily was recorded. 


Males vs. Females: What effect does gender have on monarch butterfly development?

The male butterfly has two black spots on their hind wing and the female has thicker darker black veins (Monarch Lab, 2016). The question is: What effect does gender have on monarch butterfly development? The Hypothesis is: If the genders of monarch butterflies are compared, then there will be a difference in rate of development and size.  Twenty random butterflies were put in two butterfly cages. Their time and rate of development in each life stage (larva, chrysalis and butterfly) was recorded and compared to their final gender. Results Pending. 


Programming a microcontroller and a drone to determine the effect of elevation on weather

Zack P, Dillan N

A microcontroller is a computer present in a single integrated circuit which is dedicated to perform one task and execute one specific application (Techopedia, 2016). Engineering Goal: To program a microcontroller and an unmanned aerial vehicle to determine the effect of elevation on weather conditions. A microcontroller was programmed to receive input from various weather sensors and log that data to persistent flash memory. The microcontroller was attached to an unmanned aerial vehicle which was used to vary the system’s elevation. Results pending.


Puck Performance: What effect does temperature have on hockey puck performance?

In the past a hockey puck could to be made from rubber balls or even cow manure. The pucks birthday is February seventh and the fastest puck shot is 114 miles per hour (Mancini, 2016). The question is: What effect does temperature have on hockey puck performance? The hypothesis is: If temperature is changed then, hockey puck performance will be affected (distance, speed and bounce). Each set of three hockey pucks will be placed in different temperature situations (freezer, room and heated by wrapping in a heating pad). Each puck will be dropped from one meter height (top of the boards) and filmed using slow motion video. The distance traveled and speed will be measured using a ramp, again a slow motion video will be taken. 


Sonic booms: Can a speaker be built and programmed to modulate the pitch and frequency of the sound?

Caleb H

Sound waves travel at about 3800 miles per hour in a liquid (water) (Up Rep Charlie, 2016). Engineering Goal: Can a speaker be built and programmed to modulate the pitch and frequency of the sound? An old speaker was wired with microprocessor and code was written to vary the sound pitch and frequency. The speaker was rebuilt and the code was able to vary the pitch and frequency of the sound.  


Sun Compass: What effect does light have on the disruption of circadian rhythms and monarch butterfly flight navigation?

Willow T

Monarch butterflies are affected by an internal clock (circadian rhythms). This clock tells the monarch when to emerge from its chrysalis and when to migrate (Reppert, 2016).  The Question is: What effect does light have on the disruption of circadian rhythms and monarch butterfly flight navigation? The hypothesis is: If monarch butterflies are exposed to a black light and different amounts of light, then their circadian rhythm and flight patterns will be affected. Three male and three female butterflies were placed into four different cages. Each cage was put into four different light conditions (normal daylight, grow lab light on all day, darkness all day, and artificial UV light all day. The speed each monarch flew to natural sunlight and angel of flight was recorded. 


Thirsty Monarchs: What effect does hydration have on monarch health?

While raising monarch larva, hydration is important because the caterpillars must get all their water from the leaves. As an adult, the nectar provides the important water for hydration. The question is: What effect does hydration have on monarch health?  The hypothesis is: If monarch butterflies are provided extra water in their nectar, then their health will be improved.  Two butterfly cages with six monarch butterflies (three males/three females) in each cage. One cage is feed 100 percent juice and the other juice diluted with water (50%). Monarch mass and wing length, behavior and mortality were recorded. Results pending. 


What effect do concussions have on reaction time?

Anna Q, Katelyn C

Concussions are considered to be a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and are sustained by one in five high school athletes. The question is: What effect do concussions have on reaction time when using a Human Benchmark reaction time test? The hypothesis is: If a student who has had one or more concussions takes the reaction time test, then they will have a slower reaction time than those who have not had a concussion. An online survey was created, each participant was to enter their gender, age, whether the person had a concussion, if so how many times, and the score that they received from an online test. A link to the online test was on the survey for the participant. Results Pending


Why rot? The use of household items to slow down pumpkin decomposition

Cody T, Hunter B

Is your jack-o-lantern rotting before Halloween night? The goal is to make your wonderful art last twice as long using household items.  The question was: Which household product does the best at preventing carved pumpkins from rotting? Pumpkins were cut into five squares and each set of five squares was treated with household items (control, fungal foot spray, vaseline, dish soap, antimicrobial dish soap). Each of the five sections was placed in a zipper plastic bag and the outline of the square was traced on graph paper. Daily, the percentage of pumpkin surfaced molded was calculated. The hypothesis was that antifungal spray would work the best, this was not supported. The antibacterial dish soap had the least mold growth when compared to the control. 


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