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The National Student Research Center

E-Journal of Student Research: Science

Volume 5, Number 4, March, 1997


The National Student Research Center is dedicated to promoting student research and the use of the scientific method in all subject areas across the curriculum, especially science and math.



For more information contact:

John I. Swang, Ph.D.
Founder/Director
National Student Research Center
2024 Livingston Street
Mandeville, Louisiana 70448
U.S.A.
E-Mail: nsrcmms@communique.net
http://youth.net/nsrc/nsrc.html

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  1. The Effect Of Different Liquids On Teeth
  2. The Effect of Different Liquids On Plant Growth
  3. Removal of Bacteria by Two Soaps
  4. What Kind Of Light Makes A Plant Grow Faster, Natural or Artificial?
  5. Which Brand Of Paper Towels Is Most Absorbent?
  6. Which Cheese Molds Faster?
  7. What Color Candle Burns The Fastest?
  8. The Effect Of Color On The Speed Of Dyeing Flowers
  9. Which Milk Spoils Fastest?

Title:  The Effect Of Different Liquids On Teeth

Student Researcher:  Katie Simco
School Address:  Fox Lane Middle School 
                 Bedford, NY 10506
Grade:  6
Teacher:  Dr. Sears

I. Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis:

I want to find out what effect common liquids that we drink 
have on human teeth.  My hypothesis states that tooth decay is 
caused by the reaction of certain liquids mixed with the 
bacteria found in saliva over a period of time.

II. Methodology:

First I wrote my statement of purpose and hypothesis.  I 
discussed dental decay and teeth with my mom (she's a Dental 
Hygienist).  She brought home some teeth pulled from patients 
in her office that she carefully cleaned in a autoclave.

We selected the best teeth by checking for clean, healthy and 
solid teeth.  We used 16 teeth, 8 test tubes, and 4 liquids for 
this experiment.  We wrote down the color and weight of each 
tooth on my data collection sheet.  We placed 2 teeth in each 
of the 8 test tubes.  We selected the following liquids: lemon 
juice, Ginger Ale, milk, and blueberry juice.  We put 4 cc's of 
each liquids in 2 test tubes.  In every other test tube, we 
mixed the liquid with 4 cc's saliva.  There were eight test 
tubes in all.  We kept all the test tubes at room temperature.  
We watched the teeth for 10 days.  After the 10 days we removed 
the teeth from the test tubes and looked at the color and wrote 
down any changes.  We inspected the teeth with a dental 
instrument called an explorer.  I learned that healthy teeth 
tissue is not penetrated by the point of the instrument.  When 
the tooth breaks down due to decay the instrument penetrates 
into the tooth.  A good analogy is like trying to stick a pin 
into a jaw breaker or trying the same on a piece of caramel.  
We weighed the teeth and wrote that information down as well.  
Then we wrote down and compared the data from the start of the 
experiment to the data collected at the end of the experiment.
 
III. Analysis of Data:

Project note: I weighed the teeth and found that there was no 
measurable difference in the weight of the teeth before and 
after the experiment.  (I used a scale with grams as a unit of 
measure in 1/10th increments.)

Based on the observations I made, I found the following:

1.) The blueberry juice had the most effect in both stain and 
decay.  A large visible cavity was detected on the tooth in 
blueberry juice mixed with saliva.

2.) The milk was next with decay and deposits called tarter and 
plaque and brown staining in both milk and milk mixed with 
saliva.

3.) Lemon Juice was next with deposits called tarter and plaque 
as well as whitening of the enamel.

4.) Ginger Ale was last with the least effect.  Straight Ginger 
Ale had little or no effect.  Ginger Ale mixed with saliva had 
deposits called plaque with a cavity found by probing with the 
explorer.

IV. Summary and Conclusion:

Leaving teeth in icky stuff without brushing them makes for 
icky teeth.  I was able to decay teeth and stain them in a lab 
environment.  If people eat and drink and leave the deposits in 
their mouths, decay and staining will happen. I accepted my 
hypothesis because in my experiment, there seemed to be more 
decay present and more plaque build-up on the teeth in the 
liquids mixed with saliva.

V. Application:

My project tells me that you should brush your teeth regularly 
and go to the dentist for regular check-ups.  You shouldn't 
leave food, candy, or sugar stuck on your teeth for any length 
of time.



Title:  The Effect of Different Liquids On Plant Growth

Student Researcher:  Ben Vander Wal 
School Address:  Hillside Middle School
                 1941 Alamo
                 Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Grade:  7th
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Statement of Purpose & Hypothesis

I wanted to find out how tall five daisy seeds would grow if I 
watered each with a different liquid (water, milk, Kool-Aid, 
ammonia, and Windex).  My hypothesis stated that the plant 
watered with water would grow tallest.

II.  Methodology

First, I planted five seeds into five identical pots. Every 
day, from then on, I watered each plant with one tablespoon of 
their designated liquid.  After each day, I recorded how tall 
each plant grew.  The materials I used were: five clay pots, 
top soil, daisy seeds, water, ammonia, Windex, milk, Kool-Aid, 
a ruler, timer, and a tablespoon.

III.  Analysis of Data

There was only one seed that grew.  The seed watered with water 
grew 39 mm in thirty days.  All the other plants failed to 
grow. 

IV. Summary & Conclusion

In this experiment, I compared plants watered with different 
liquids.  I thought many seeds would grow, but only the seed 
watered with water grew.  The seeds given ammonia, Windex, milk 
and Kool-Aid did not grow at all.  Therefore, I accepted my 
hypothesis which stated that the plant watered with water would 
grow tallest.

V. Application

I learned that water is the best liquid to give to a daisy 
seed.  KooL-Aid, milk, ammonia, and Windex do not help plants 
grow.  If I were to do this experiment differently, I would try 
watering the seeds with some other liquids. Also I would grow 
the plants for a longer time.



Title:  Removal of Bacteria by Two Soaps

Student Researcher:  Anna Winskill
School Address:  Fox Lane Middle School
                 Bedford, NY 10506
Grade:  8
Teacher:  Ms Russo

I. Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis:

I wanted to find out which of the two liquid soaps, Softsoap 
Antibacterial and Ivory, would remove the most bacteria from my 
hands.  My hypothesis stated that the antibacterial soap would 
remove the bacteria the best.

II. Methodology:

From a previous experiment (found on page 6 of my research 
notebook), I decided to use my "q-tip method" to test my hands 
for bacteria.  First, I took a control sample by taking a 
sterile q-tip, wetting it with water, and then wiping it on an 
agar filled petri-dish.  Then I went outside to get my hands 
dirty.  I did this to get an ample amount of bacteria on my 
hands.  Before washing my hands with the two different soaps, I 
took a sample from both my left and right hand with a wet q-tip 
which I then spread on a petri-dish.  I needed to wash one hand 
per soap, so while washing the first one I put a latex glove on 
the other.  With a controlled amount of soap, water, and a set 
washing manner, I washed a hand, wet a q-tip, and took a 
sample, and spread it on the petri-dish.  After my first hand 
was done, I took off the glove on my other (still dirty) hand 
and repeated the above process.  I took five samples (from my 
five different fingers) from each hand.  I conducted this whole 
procedure twice.

III. Analysis of Data:

From the data that I collected, I have found that the Ivory 
soap removed more bacteria than the Softsoap.  I calculated the 
percentages of the remaining bacteria by taking the average 
number of colonies remaining after using the soap (either the 
Softsoap or the Ivory), and dividing them by the average number 
of the colonies present before using the soap.  I did this for 
each soap in each experiment.  I found that the percentage of 
bacteria remaining for the Ivory soap was 8% for experiment A 
and 7% for experiment B.  The Softsoap, however, had 12% of the 
bacteria remaining in both experiments.  These percentages 
indicate that the Ivory soap removed more bacteria, in both 
trials, than the Softsoap.  

IV. Summary and Conclusion:

I found out that the Ivory removed more bacteria, but the key 
word is removed.  Antibacterial soaps kill bacteria.  I believe 
that the Ivory washed away more bacteria into the water, but 
the Antibacterial actually killed the bacteria. There are many 
ways in which I can improve this experiment.  For instance, I 
didn't keep excellent track of how I was washing my hands.  
Based on the results of this experiment, I recommend Ivory soap 
for eliminating bacteria.  This research needs to be repeated.

V. Application:

I can make people aware of my findings and they might decide to 
switch to Ivory.  Other soaps may be better than Ivory at 
removing bacteria (and these should also be tested).  I might 
even send my results to Softsoap and see how my data compares 
with the company's.  For my next experiment, I might take the 
Softsoap and wash my hands for different time intervals.  Maybe 
antibacterial soaps kill more bacteria when you wash with them 
for a bit longer.



Title:  What Kind Of Light Makes A Plant Grow Faster, Natural 
        or Artificial?

Student Researcher:  Howard M. Robinson, II
School Address:  Hillside Middle School
                 1941 Alamo Avenue
                 Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
Grade:  Seventh 
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis: 

I wanted to know the effect of natural and artificial light on 
plant growth.  My hypothesis stated that a plant grown under 
natural light would grow taller than one grown under artificial 
light.

II.  Methodology: 

I needed a lamp, growing light bulb, potting soil, flower pots, 
collard green seeds, water, and measuring cup (1/4 cup).  I 
planted the seeds and watered the plants with 1/4 cup of water 
every two days.  I turned on the grow lamp when the sun rose 
and turned it off when the sun set.  This plant growing under 
artificial light was in a room that is normally dark.  Every 
week I checked the room temperature and measured the plants' 
height.

III. Analysis of Data: 

As I continued with my experiment, I found that natural light 
helps plants grow taller than artificial light.  The average 
height of the plants under natural light was 5.54 centimeters.  
The average height of the plants under artificial light was 
4.68 centimeters.

IV.  Summary and Conclusion: 

The type of light that made a plant grow taller was natural 
light instead of artificial light.  I accepted my hypothesis 
which stated that the plant grown under natural light would 
grow taller than one grown under artificial light.  I had no 
problems as I conducted my experiment. More seeds germinated 
under natural light than artificial light (30 plants exposed to 
the natural light and 8 plants exposed to artificial light).

V.  Application: 

What I've learned applies to people outside the classroom. For 
instance, if a greenhouse farmer or crop farmer who lived in a 
climate where it was cold in the winter wanted to start growing 
plants early, the farmers could grow them inside instead of 
outside.  The farmers would need to know what kind of light 
helps plants grow faster, natural or artificial.



Title:  Which Brand Of Paper Towels Is Most Absorbent?

Student Researcher:  Christopher Harris 
School Address:  Hillside Middle School
                 1941 Alamo
                 Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
Grade:  Seventh 
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis:

In my experiment, I wanted to know which paper towel would 
absorb the most liquid.  The brands I tested were: Sparkle 
Paper Towels, Spartan Store Brand Paper Towels, and a generic 
brand paper towel.  My hypothesis stated that the Sparkle paper 
towels will absorb the most liquid because it costs more and is 
a better known brand name.

II.  Methodology

To test my hypothesis, I used a standard liquid measuring cup 
and a sample of each of the paper towels.  First, I took one 
equal size sheet of each paper towel and eight ounces of tap 
water.  Then, starting with the brand name paper towel, I 
immersed one sheet into the measuring cup of water for 10 
seconds. This was done for the store and generic brands as 
well.  Next, I removed the paper towels from the measuring cup 
without wringing them out.  The amount of water remaining in 
the measuring cup was then subtracted from the original eight 
ounces of water to determine the amount of absorption.  Each 
result was recorded on graph paper.  Then I repeated the above 
steps for 3 more trials.

III.  Analysis of Data

The Spartan paper towels and the generic paper towels each 
absorbed at one ounce of the water in each trial.  The Sparkle 
paper towels did not absorb enough water in each of the trials 
to measure.

IV. Summary and Conclusion

In conclusion, I accepted my hypothesis which stated that the 
Sparkle paper towels will absorb the most liquid because it 
costs more and is a better known brand name. The Spartan brand 
and generic brand were the more absorbent paper towels.  The 
Sparkle brand paper towels were not absorbent at all.  These 
findings indicate that the better known product may not be the 
best product.

V. Application

This information is great for consumers who buy products based 
upon name recognition or price.  This is one of those 
situations where the highest priced item is not the best 
product.  This information could really help you save money.



Title:  Which Cheese Molds Faster?

Student Researcher:  Mindy J. Sincler
School Address:  Hillside Middle School
                 1941 Alamo
                 Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Grade:  Seventh
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis:

For my experiment, I wanted to know which cheese will mold the 
fastest.  My hypothesis stated that if I put mozzarella and 
cheddar cheese in a warm, dark, damp place, then the mozzarella 
cheese would mold faster than the cheddar.

II.  Methodology:

In my experiment, I used one chunk of each type of cheese, two 
bowls, two pieces of plastic wrap, and one ruler.  Using those 
materials, my procedure was to first put one chunk of cheddar 
cheese in one bowl, and one of Mozzarella cheese in the other.  
Next, I covered each bowl with plastic wrap and placed them 
both in a warm, dark, damp place which was in my room by a 
heater.  I left the bowls in the same spot twenty-four hours a 
day and checked to see how much mold was growing every twenty-
four hours.

III.  Analysis of Data:

It took three days for the mozzarella cheese to start growing 
mold.  It grew about .75 square millimeters each day.  By the 
sixth day, it had grown about two and a fourth square 
millimeters of mold.  It took five days for the cheddar cheese 
to begin to mold.  By the sixth day, the cheddar cheese had 
only grown one square millimeter of mold.  

IV.  Summary and Conclusion:

It took the mozzarella cheese the shortest time to mold.  I 
accepted my hypothesis which stated that mozzarella cheese 
would mold faster than the cheddar.  I also noticed that the 
cheeses stayed damp throughout the process.

V.  Application:

My experiment may help the outside world because, if someone 
likes cheese and also likes camping, then they need to know 
what cheese to bring camping with them.  My experience showed 
that it is better to take cheddar cheese camping with you and 
keep it in a cool, light, dry place.



Title:  What Color Candle Burns The Fastest?
 
Student Researcher:  Lindsay De Leeuw            
School Address:  Hillside Middle School 
                 1941 Alamo
                 Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007
Grade:  Seventh
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Statement of Purpose and Hypothesis:

My topic was about burning candles.  I wanted to find out what 
color candle would burn the fastest.  My hypothesis stated 
that, if I burned five candles, one red, one white, one yellow, 
one purple, and one blue, then the white one would burn the 
fastest. 

II.   Methodology

I tested my hypothesis by burning five candles. The materials 
that I used were a ruler, stop watch, black maker, candles, 
candle holders, and matches.  The variables that were kept the 
same were the candle's brand, when we started to burn them, the 
length and width of the candle, room temperature, and distance 
between the candles.  The only thing that was different was 
that the candles were different colors.  To carry out my 
project I first set up the candles four inches apart. Then I 
marked a line one inch down form the wick on each candle.  Then 
I lit them all at once.  Next, I started timing how long it 
took each to burn.  I stopped timing when the mark on each 
candle was gone.  Finally, I recorded my data. 

III.  Analysis of Data:

The white candle didn't burn the fastest.  The fastest burning 
candle was the yellow one which took twenty-two minutes and 
twenty seconds, then red which took twenty- four minutes and 
thirty seconds, then blue which took twenty-five minutes and 
eleven seconds, then the white candle which took twenty-five 
minutes and twenty seconds, and then the purple one which took 
twenty-six minutes and one second. 

IV.  Summary and Conclusion:

I found out that the fastest burning candle was the yellow one.   
Therefore, I reject my hypothesis which stated that the white 
one would burn the fastest.  If I could do this experiment 
again I would make a few changes.  I would make the mark on the 
candle two inches down instead of one inch down. I would also 
try other brands and colors of candles. 

V.  Application:

I learned that, if I ever wanted candles that burn fast, then I 
should get light colored candles because they burn the fastest.   
Color really has an effect on burning candles.



Title:  The Effect Of Color On The Speed Of Dyeing Flowers 

Student Researcher:  Terri Bell
School Address:  Hillside Middle School
                 1941 Alamo
                 Kalamazoo, Michigan 49007 
Grade:  Seventh
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Statement of purpose and hypothesis: 

I wondered how fast different food colorings would be absorbed?  
My hypothesis stated that, if I put three flowers in dye (red, 
blue, and yellow), then the yellow dye will be absorbed the 
fastest.

II.  Methodology: 

The material I used were: three white carnations, three glass 
jars, one for each dye color, and 100 ml of water for each 
glass jar.  I tested my hypothesis by putting three flowers in 
three separate jars which contain red, blue, and yellow dyes.  
I kept track of how long it took for the color to show up in 
the petals of the white carnations.  First, I put each white 
carnation in a glass jar with 100 ml of water.  Then put 10 
drops of red dye, blue dye in one jar, 10 drops of yellow dye 
into the next jar, and 10 drops of blue dye in the last jar.  
Everyday I checked on each flower.   

III.  Analysis of Data: 

I started my experiment at 12:00.  For the first three hours, 
the flowers stayed all white.  The flower in the blue dye 
started to change around the edges at 4:20, the flower in the 
yellow dye changed at 4:30, and then the flower in the red dye 
changed at 5:30.  

IV.  Summary and Conclusion: 

The blue dye was absorbed the fastest.  Therefore, I reject my 
hypothesis which stated that the yellow dye will be absorbed 
the fastest.  The yellow dye was absorbed in the second fastest 
time.

V. Application: 

This experiment is helpful because one can now know that when 
the dye enters the flower from the stem it will go up the xylen 
and change the color of the flower petals.  Blue dye appears to 
do the fastest.



Title:  Which Milk Spoils Fastest?

Student Researcher:  Cheslea Cunliffe
School Address:  Hillside Middle School
                 1941 Alamo
                 Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Grade:  Seventh
Teacher:  Barbara A. Minar

I.  Purpose and Hypothesis.

I wanted to find out which milk would spoil fastest if left 
out; skim, 2%, whole, or heavy cream.  My hypothesis stated 
that heavy cream would spoil the fastest because it contains 
the most fat and fat doesn't stay fresh for very long.

II.  Methodology.

When I performed my experiment I took careful measurements to 
make sure everything was accurate.  Also, the procedures I went 
through when performing my experiment were very carefully 
planned.  First, I got some skim milk, 2% milk, whole milk, and 
heavy cream milk.  Then I put 2 oz of each into four separate 
baby food jars.  I left the jars out with the tops on.  I 
observed and rated the condition of the milk in the jars once 
every 8 hours on a scale of 1-10 (1 being fresh, 10 being 
spoiled).  After all the milks curdled and the data was 
recorded, I threw away the milk.

III.  Analysis of Data.

After the milk spoiled and all the data was recorded.  I found 
that the skim milk was the first to smell bad, but the last to 
completely curdle.  The 2% was the last to smell bad and the 
third to curdle.  The whole milk was third to spoil and the 
second to curdle.  Surprisingly, the heavy cream was the last 
to smell bad; however, it was the first to curdle completely.

IV.  Summary and Conclusion.

I rejected my hypothesis which stated that heavy cream would 
spoil the fastest.  The heavy cream milk was the last to smell 
bad.  The skim milk was the first to begin to smell bad.  
 
V. Application.

My findings could be useful in the "real world" in case anyone 
ever leaves their milk out. Often times, little children leave 
their bottles out or leave their milk sitting on the table 
because they didn't want to drink it. If parents knows when 
their child's milk was first put out, then they could 
potentially save their child's life or at least prevent them 
from getting sick due to food poisoning.

© 1997 John I. Swang, Ph.D.



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