By Roxanne Bashor
For the past few months, the Ag Science class has been working on an experiment that tests the effect of primary nutrient deficiencies on tomato plants. They have been working on this experiment with the 7th-grade science classes so the Ag Science class could submit their project to the Nutrients for Life contest.
The Ag Science class consists of juniors Roxanne Bashor, Rachel Columbia, Bailey Eklund, Connor Kaufman, Julie Rowe, and Charlee Teague. The idea for this experiment came from their teacher Mr. Ernst, as part of the Ag Science curriculum is learning about the primary nutrients of plants and the effect of their deficiencies. According to Kaufman, the general purpose of the of the experiment was to gain experience and knowledge about fertilizer and nutrients to educate others on what was learned.
The experiment was designed by the Ag Science class; they had fertilizers that they made to give to each plant, so the plants could get a water only, complete nutrient, nitrogen deficient, phosphorus deficient, or potassium deficient solution. The tomato plants were planted in washed sand, so the class could have control over the nutrients that each plant had access to. “I was in charge of the plants,” said Eklund, “and I made sure that the plants received the right nutrients, so they would not die.”
Part of the contest included influencing members of the community. To accomplish this part of the contest, the ag students incorporated teaching the 7th grade about their experiment. The ag students created powerpoints, worksheets, and games to teach the 7th-graders about the importance of primary nutrients.
One participant in this experiment was Tasha Hansen. Hansen said that she gained knowledge about plants that could help her in her everyday life when planting flowers and vegetables in a garden.
Overall the students were able to see results from their experiment by looking at the improvement of the 7th-graders for their pretest and posttest scores. “I was excited to see my students learn this material,” said 7th-grade teacher Jordan Sonnenberg, “ This was a definite benefit to my students and an opportunity to enhance what we do in the middle school classroom.”
The students will receive the results of their contest at the State FFA Convention in the beginning of June.