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Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

Plant Growth and CO2

Background:

We hear a lot about how too much CO2 in the air is bad for the planet, but did you know it can also affect how plants grow? This project lets you find out what happens to plants when there’s more CO2 around them.

 

Discovery project statement:

Grow plants in different amounts of CO2 to see how it changes the way they grow.

  • Dependent variable:
    • How the plant grows (measured by height, number of leaves, or health of the plant)
  • Independent variable:
    • Levels of CO2 (e.g., low, medium, high)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know how CO2 affects plant growth, think of ways to help plants grow better in places where there’s a lot of CO2.

 

Weather Patterns

Background:

Weather affects us all the time, from what we wear to what we do outside. This project lets you become a mini weather scientist, tracking and studying the weather in your area.

 

Discovery project statement:

Record the weather every day for a month to see if you can find any patterns or trends.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Weather conditions (measured by temperature, rainfall, wind speed, etc.)
  • Independent variable:
    • Different days or times (e.g., mornings, afternoons, weekends)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know more about our local weather patterns, you can make a weather guide to help people plan their days better.

 

Oil Spill Cleanup

Background:

Oil spills are really bad for the environment and the animals that live in it. This project lets you find out which materials are best at cleaning up oil spills, which could help save our planet!

 

Discovery project statement:

Test different materials to see which one is the best at soaking up oil from water.

  • Dependent variable:
    • How much oil gets cleaned up (measured by weight or volume)
  • Independent variable:
    • Types of materials used (e.g., cotton, sponge, sand)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you find out which material is the best at cleaning up oil, think of ways to use it in real-life situations to help clean up oil spills faster and better.

 

Effects of Acid Rain

Background:

Acid rain is rain that’s more acidic than normal, and it can be harmful to the environment. This project lets you find out how acid rain affects the way plants grow, which is important for nature.

 

Discovery project statement:

Grow plants and water them with different levels of acid to see how it affects their growth.

  • Dependent variable:
    • How the plant grows (measured by height, number of leaves, or health of the plant)
  • Independent variable:
    • Levels of acid in the water (e.g., low, medium, high)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know how acid rain affects plants, think of ways to protect plants in areas where acid rain is a problem.

 

Local Ecosystems

Background:

Biodiversity means having lots of different kinds of plants and animals in one place, and it’s really important for a healthy environment. This project lets you explore how many different kinds of living things are in a local pond or forest.

 

Discovery project statement:

Check out a local pond or forest to see how many different types of plants and animals you can find.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Number and types of plants and animals found
  • Independent variable:
    • Different locations in the pond or forest (e.g., near the water, deep in the woods)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know more about the biodiversity in your local area, think of ways to help protect it so all these different plants and animals can stay healthy.

 

Carbon Footprint

Background:

A carbon footprint is the amount of carbon dioxide and other bad stuff that gets put into the air, and it’s important to know because it affects climate change. This project lets you find out how much your school contributes to this problem.

 

Discovery project statement:

Calculate the carbon footprint of your school by looking at things like electricity use, waste, and transportation.

  • Dependent variable:
    • The school’s carbon footprint (measured in tons of CO2 or similar units)
  • Independent variable:
    • Different sources of emissions (e.g., electricity, waste, school buses)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know the size of your school’s carbon footprint, come up with ways to make it smaller, like using less electricity or reducing waste.

 

Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

The nutrient cycle of aquaponics

Background:

Aquaponics is a cool way to grow food using fish and plants together in one system. This project lets you find out if aquaponics is a better way to grow food compared to traditional methods like soil gardening.

 

Discovery project statement:

Set up an aquaponics system and a traditional soil garden to compare how much food each method can produce.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Amount of food produced (measured in weight or number of fruits/vegetables)
  • Independent variable:
    • Methods of growing (aquaponics vs. traditional soil gardening)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you find out which method is better for growing food, you can think of ways to improve it or make it easier for more people to use.

 

Crop rotation practices

Background:

Monoculture farming means growing just one type of crop over and over, and it can cause problems like soil getting less healthy. This project lets you find out why that’s bad and think of better ways to farm using crop rotation.

 

Discovery project statement:

Research the problems with monoculture farming and then come up with different crop rotation plans to see which ones might be better.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Health of the soil or crops (measured by nutrients in the soil or crop yield)
  • Independent variable:
    • Types of crop rotation plans (e.g., rotating corn, wheat, and soybeans)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you figure out which crop rotation plans are the most promising, you can create a guide to help farmers know how to keep their soil healthy and grow better crops.

 

Fruit and vegetable preservation

Background:

We all want our fruits and veggies to stay fresh for as long as possible, but sometimes they go bad quickly. This project lets you find out new ways to keep them fresh from the farm all the way to your table.

 

Discovery project statement:

Test different methods of preserving fruits and vegetables to see which ones keep them fresh the longest.

  • Dependent variable:
    • How long the fruits and vegetables stay fresh (measured by days until spoilage or change in texture and color)
  • Independent variable:
    • Methods of preservation (e.g., refrigeration, vacuum sealing, using natural preservatives)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you find out which methods are best for keeping fruits and vegetables fresh, you can create a guide to help people reduce food waste and enjoy fresher produce.

 

Land-based aquaculture

Background:

Seafood is yummy and good for you, but fishing in oceans and lakes can be bad for the environment. This project lets you explore ways to raise fish or other seafood without harming natural water places.

 

Discovery project statement:

Investigate different methods for raising fish outside of natural bodies of water, and maybe even try raising some yourself!

  • Dependent variable:
    • Health and growth of the fish (measured by size, weight, or overall health)
  • Independent variable:
    • Methods of raising fish (e.g., tanks, small ponds, aquaponics)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you find out which methods work best for raising healthy fish, you can create a guide to help people start their own sustainable fish farms at home or in their community.

 

Soil horizons

Background:

Soil is like a hidden world right under our feet, with different layers that have all kinds of stuff in them. This project lets you dig deep to find out what’s in each layer and what’s living there.

 

Discovery project statement:

Study the soil in different places to see how deep the layers go, what’s in them, and what kinds of plants or bugs live there.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Depth and contents of soil layers, types of organisms found
  • Independent variable:
    • Different locations where soil is sampled (e.g., garden, forest, field)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know more about what’s in the soil and how it’s layered, you can come up with ideas to help people like farmers or gardeners make the soil even better for growing things.

 

Natural alternatives to synthetic fertilizer

Background:

Farmers use a lot of fertilizer to help crops grow, but some of that stuff isn’t good for the environment. This project lets you find out if there are natural fertilizers that can do the job just as well.

 

Discovery project statement:

Test different natural fertilizers to see if they can help crops grow as well as synthetic, or man-made, fertilizers.

  • Dependent variable:
    • How well the crops grow (measured by height, number of fruits, or overall health)
  • Independent variable:
    • Types of fertilizers used (e.g., compost, manure, synthetic fertilizer)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you find out which natural fertilizers work best, you can create a guide to help farmers grow lots of food without hurting the environment.

 

Invasive species

Background:

Sometimes animals or plants from other places end up in a new area and cause problems for the plants and animals that already live there. This project lets you find out how these “invaders” mess up local ecosystems.

 

Discovery project statement:

Research how non-native species, like certain fish or plants, affect the local plants and animals where they show up.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Impact on local ecosystem (measured by changes in population sizes, health of native species)
  • Independent variable:
    • Types of non-native species studied (e.g., a certain kind of fish, plant, or insect)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you understand how non-native species affect local ecosystems, you can come up with ideas to help protect native plants and animals from these invaders.

 

Robots for crop care

Background:

Robots are super cool, and they can do a lot of things to help farmers grow food. This project lets you find out how robots can help with things like finding bugs, spraying plants, or even packing up fruits and veggies.

 

Discovery project statement:

Identify a specific problem in crop management and research how robots could help solve it.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Effectiveness of the robotic solution (measured by time saved, accuracy, or crop yield)
  • Independent variable:
    • Types of robotic applications (e.g., pest identification, targeted spraying, sorting and packing)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you figure out how robots can help, you can design a simple robot idea that could make farming easier and more efficient.

 

Better tools for cooking

Background:

Cool kitchen gadgets like the Instant Pot and Air Fryer are not just fun; they could also make it easier for people to cook healthy meals. This project lets you find out if using these gadgets can actually make Canadians eat healthier and maybe even save some money.

 

Discovery project statement:

Investigate if using innovative cooking appliances like the Instant Pot, Air Fryer, and Bluetooth-enabled grills makes it easier to cook healthier meals compared to traditional methods.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Ease of cooking and healthiness of meals (measured by time spent cooking, nutritional content)
  • Independent variable:
    • Types of cooking appliances used (e.g., Instant Pot, Air Fryer, Bluetooth-enabled grills)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you find out which gadgets make it easiest to cook healthy meals, you can create a guide to help people choose the right kitchen tools for healthier eating.

 

Eat local

Background:

Eating food that’s grown close to home can be good for the planet, but what does it mean for your family? This project lets you find out if eating locally can save you money and make you healthier.

 

Discovery project statement:

Compare the cost and health benefits of eating only locally-grown food to your usual grocery shopping for a certain period.

  • Dependent variable:
    • Cost of groceries and health impact (measured by grocery bill amount, nutritional content)
  • Independent variable:
    • Source of food (locally-grown vs. regular grocery store)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you know the pros and cons of eating locally, you can create a guide to help families make smarter choices about where they get their food.

 

Yum, bugs

Background:

Bugs might be the future of sustainable and nutritious food, but most people are squeamish about eating them. This project lets you explore ways to make bugs a more appealing food option and convince people to give them a try.

 

Discovery project statement:

Research strategies to make bugs more palatable as food and test whether these strategies can change people’s perceptions and willingness to eat bugs.

  • Dependent variable:
    • People’s willingness to eat bugs (measured by surveys or taste tests)
  • Independent variable:
    • Strategies to make bugs more appealing (e.g., cooking methods, seasoning, presentation)

 

Innovation project statement:

Once you discover effective ways to make bugs appetizing, you can create a campaign or cookbook to encourage people to incorporate insects into their diets for a healthier and more sustainable future.