Science with a computer

Christopher I. Cobitz Ph.D.


Probeware is superior for recording data in a meaningful way. Unfortunately it costs money. Here you can have some of the advantages using equipment and software you probably already have.


Remember that you can use databases for anatomy (each record is a part and there are characteristics like functions associated).


One under noted concept is the potential for a plant to compete for sunlight form an early age. Certain plants such as beans and corn are known to grow quickly but others are more likely to grow slowly. Unfortunately, conifers have a low germination rate and can be a hassle. Oak seedlings can be started relatively easily from acorns (and we all know about them if we have an oak tree).


Have students start four different types of seeds. For example, corn, beans, oak, and tomato seeds planted in similar cups with soil and water. Then each day have the students measure the height of the plant. Finally, have the students transfer their data to a spreadsheet. It is best to have several teams in the class. That way the students can have repetitions of the experiment. Ask the students to share their data. It should be entered with the first germination day for each plant lined up as day one. Then have the students use the spreadsheet to average the data for each type of plant across the class. Finally have them organize the data and use the spreadsheets graphing function to produce a single line graph showing the average height of all four types of plants for the classes repetitions.


As with any experiment, have the students write a lab report that describes the result of the experiment and interprets them. Additionally, you can have them illustrate the report using digital photos, and augment the evidence with web research on the four types of plants.


1999 Christopher I. Cobitz Ph.D.  Permission is granted for non-commercial use provided this copyright notice remains intact.