In comparison to Smarty's 7th grade science fair project, this year's project was way more serious. Every student, including middle school students, had to do research of science papers related to their project, design an experiment, conduct an experiment, write a research paper, a presentation, and a poster. Smarty's partner was absent quite a bit, and she ended up doing most of the project on her own with her science teacher helping her to connect her aquaponics tray to their school's koi pond.
Smarty was taking water quality samples before and after the aquaponics system was set up and was dismayed to see that her hypothesis is not confirmed by facts. She expected to see oxygen level of water rise and the nitrate/nitrite levels drop with plants taking nutrients out of pond water and returning oxygen. However, so far, oxygen level dropped and nitrite/nitrate levels are jumping all over the place. There could be other factors contributing here, since the pond is open to the sky, and we had a lot of rain recently. Cold weather also was not helping plants - only a couple of seeds sprouted so far. However, Smarty is hoping that her aquaponic garden will establish itself over summer - conveniently, the school is open for most of summer, because it offers summer school, so teachers will keep an eye on the garden (and on the fish).
Are your kids participating in a science fair this year?