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June 1st, 2012

Last Day in Houston

On our last day we slept in and ate breakfast at IHOP. Then we headed over to Kemah Boardwalk to ride on the park rides. We all rode the double-decker carousel,

and then hopped right in to a gondola on the ferris wheel. We also rode the super high flying Aviator and a little train that took us all around the park. We also got to visit a Stingray touch tank, which was neat. They were kind of splashy but we did get close enough to touch them. They are very slippery and rubbery.

We decided to ride the Aviator again when we noticed the shuttle that was being ferried from Florida to Houston was arriving in the harbor. We craned our necks to see the approaching shuttle. It was amazing. We had heard that it was arriving for a “shuttle-bration” in Houston that afternoon and were so excited to catch a glimpse of it. When we road on our next ride, we could still see it as it moved down the river. It was really big.

At last, it was time for us to head to the airport. We made a stop at a restaurant called Yum Yum Cha and had dim sum (which is when you order many little dishes of food and all share). There was a lot of traffic in Houston but we made it to the airport in time to catch our 5:30 flight. We got home around 12:30am. I felt like I could sleep for twelve hours! (and I did!)

I am so thankful for Jim Metzner for taking us to Houston and to the judges for choosing our project to win. I had a fantastic time. I can’t wait to tell my science teacher all about it!

May 30th, 2012

First Day in Houston

We woke up very early to catch our 5:30am flight out of Asheville. The whole flight Isabella and I were yawning but we stayed awake because we were so excited to get to Houston.

When we landed we drove to our hotel, which was very close to the Kemah Boardwalk and had many rides and restaurants. After eating a yummy lunch at the Lighthouse Buffet we decided to visit the Museum of Natural Science in Houston. My favorite part of the museum was the butterfly exhibit. We walked through a garden of trees and plants while butterflies landed on us. We saw some very beautiful butterflies. We ate dinner downtown Houston at a park called Discovery Green. Houston is hot so we played in an outdoor fountain in the park. We got pretty wet, but it was fun. We also took lots of pictures by a really big modern art sculpture. After we watched an outdoor yoga class and even joined in for a little bit, we decided to head back to our hotel. We wanted to have a good night sleep and be ready for our early visit to NASA in the morning.

August 28th, 2009

Update on new turf and grass research results

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

First, I want to thank all the Daphnia who gave their lives to prove my hypothesis! Daphnia are a small shrimp-like creature, about the size of a grain of salt. Scientists use them to do experiments because they reproduce quickly, so you always have alot on hand. And they are very sensitive to environmental pollutants, so they tell us if other water creatures might be affected by the same substances.
For my animal experiment I took the Daphnia and put 10 of them each  in four bowls.  In one bowl I put grass water; in another I put synthetic turf runoff water; in another I put spring water and in another I put tap water. All of the Daphnia in the tap water died within 24 hours. (I checked them about every four hours.) All of the Daphnia in the spring water and the grass water were alive after 24 hours. But in the turf runoff, the first time I ran this experiment 6 of the 10 Daphnia died within 24 hours. I ran the experiment again with just 10 Daphnia in grass water and 10 in turf runoff water, and again, all the grass water Daphnia survived. But 8 of the 10 Daphnia in the turf water died. This tells me that there is something in the turf that kills most of the Daphnia.
Our nutrient analysis from Dr. Adina Paytan’s lab show that there is a lot of zinc and some other heavy metals that the Daphnia may not appreciate, but we don’t know for sure what killed them.

July 18th, 2009

Plant Study Results!

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

Tonight is a big night for me — I’m getting ready to leave for soccer camp with many of the women soccer players from the U.S. World Cup team – Julie Foudy, Mia Hamm, Joy Fawcett — and I also harvested the carrots I grew from seed for the last five months. I started three groups of carrot seeds, one in water from a turf field, one in water from a grass field, and one with tap (plain) water from our sink.

In the beginning, I was surprised that the seeds grown with water runoff from synthetic turf grew fastest, and their greens grew tallest. I thought their carrots would be the biggest! The carrots grown with grass water struggled a little at first, and grew thinner greens on top. But they survived. The carrots grown with tap water grew more over the last couple weeks. I took the carrots out of their pots tonight, and we weighed and measured them.

Measuring Size of Tap Water Carrot

Measuring Size of Tap Water Carrot

Measuring Size of Turf Water Carrots

Measuring Size of Turf Water Carrots

Claire bagging the carrots to keep for Dr. Paytan's lab

Claire bagging the carrots to keep for Dr. Paytan's lab

The results: Turf water produced five carrots! But they were all quite thin, and measured 2″, 1″, 1.5″ and just under 1″. All together they weighed 1/8 oz. The greens were 9.5″ and 11″ tall. The seeds grown from grass water turned into — one forked carrot! It measured 1.5″ and weighed 1/8 oz. The surprise to me was that the carrot grown from plain tap water was the biggest. It was 2″ long, and weighed 1/4 oz., which is twice as big as the grass carrot and twice as much as the five skinny turf carrots! So tap water wins. When I see Professor Adina, I think she will help analyze the soil that the carrots grew in, and also the plants that grew from each of the different waters.
It is very interesting that these carrots were the start of my study – of what do the different types of water do to living things, how will growing the same seeds in three different waters result in different changes in the plants.  I can see big differences between the three groups of carrots: the turf carrots had strong greens but wimpy carrots. The grass had a bigger carrot, but just one, and it struggled. The tap water carrot grew the biggest of all three. It will be interesting to see when Dr. Adina is able to use the instruments in her lab to see how the soils may have absorbed different chemicals from being watered with the different waters, and maybe the carrots will contain different chemicals.
Being a scientist is like being a detective!

June 23rd, 2009

Kamau Hamilton, SETI Project Winner

New sounds coming up soon!

June 21st, 2009

The City of San Francisco Says My Kids’ Science Challenge Rocks!

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

I’m lucky to live in San Francisco, which is a great city that is surrounded by water on three sides. So people here really care about the environment. And they’re excited that I’m using science to find the real truth about what chemicals and bacteria can be found in both grass and synthetic turf soccer fields. Here are some pictures of the awards I received from our Mayor Gavin Newsom, and our Supervisor Bevan Dufty for winning the Kids Science Challenge, and for using science to find out answers that will help our city government to plan what is best for the environment in our city.090331-mayor-newsome-honor-certificate090505-boardofsupes-honor-certificate

June 21st, 2009

Plant Experiments are in Final Phase

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

Carrots - turf, tap and grass water-fedl

Carrots - turf, tap and grass water-fed

In February I started growing carrots from seed in peet that was soaked in synthetic turf runoff water, grass soccer field runoff water, and plain old San Francisco tap water. I wanted to see which plants would grow best from which water. Here it is late June already! I have just finished the third grade. And my plants are finishing their growing cycle. The results so far are: synthetic turf carrots – 9 inches tall. Tap water carrots – 6 inches tall. Grass water carrots – 5 inches tall.  Dr. Adina Paytan at UC Santa Cruz will examine the plants, their carrots, and the soil they have grown in. They have been watered every day with water from their type of field (or tap water.)  I was surprised that the synthetic turf carrots have grown faster and taller than the rest.

June 21st, 2009

My Science Project With Dr. Adina Paytan is On KGO-TV

Claire Dworsky, Water Quality Project Winner

It was very exciting to see me on TV explaining my project. You can see the video from KGO TV by clicking here.

I’m looking forward to accomplishing this big study.  My water samples are at Dr. Adina’s lab in UC Santa Cruz, and we are starting to get preliminary results from the first 10 samples.  I’ll let you know as soon as we get all of the results back.kgofilmsclaire-forweb

June 11th, 2009

Radio Disney

Lindsay Carnes, Skateboard Project Winner

My sister and I did a 30 minute spot for Radio Disney. They said it will be on Saturday morning. Sorry I don’t know what time but she did say it would be  early. We had a great time. She made it very easy for both of us. I think it was because she was great but it might be because I have done a lot of interviews. Either way I highly recommend it.

June 6th, 2009

Thanks Professor Schmitt

Lindsay Carnes, Skateboard Project Winner

Today my class made skateboards that Create A Skate gave us. We sanded, and sanded, and sanded. We put finish on them. They look great and next we get to decorate them. The class has learned about skateboards, the math to build them, and about wood strength. You should ask your school if you can do the Create A Skate program. It is great fun and didn’t seem like school at all.