Oh dear. I guess my job here is the help with the science, so I will give you some suggestions for the project.
First, your daughter’s teacher is correct. She does have the authority to approve the project, so if the teacher wants to stop the experiment until the other types of seeds have been taken out of the bag, then your daughter should do this. You don’t have time to do this experiment with more pinto bean seeds, however if you started some radish seeds today, you would have results by Sunday. Scientifically, the best experiment to test the effect of tea on germination would be one with a large number of one type of seed. If you can’t set up the radish seeds, then the pinto beans, with no germination in either group, would be acceptable data for a science project as well.
The science project is due next Monday, so I also recommend that your daughter write up this project as completely as possible. Here is information from the science buddies on the display board. I’m sure this teacher has also provided written instructions on writing up the project, so check those instructions and make sure all details are included. Your controlled parameter is the water, the independent variable is the tea, and the dependent variable is the percent germination (is that what your daughter was measuring). Do let me know if you need any more advice for completing the project. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... oard.shtml
I think this experience is more of a lesson in dealing with difficult people than a lesson in science, so please encourage your daughter to make the best of this situation. She is learning important skills is dealing with people. Hopefully, she will be able to focus on writing up the science project, even though it was not what she wanted to do or even planned to do, and not let the teacher’s criticism overwhelm the situation. She just needs to survive until next Monday, and I’m sure she can do a great job under difficult circumstances. This is definitely not worth quitting school over.
Your daughter’s teacher was probably trying to require a perfect experiment. Ideally, the best projects ask a question that can be answered with a controlled experiment with results that can be measured. Using a large number of one type of seed and repeating the results would also be ideal. Scientifically, I cannot explain why it was necessary to take the other types of seeds out of the bag once the experiment was started. The other varieties of seeds would add another variable, but that could be explained in the procedure, and all results could be included in the results and conclusion section.
Now for my opinion. All of your daughter’s project ideas would have made very good science projects, and controlled experiments could have been designed for the dog toy and the conductivity experiments (in another teacher’s class). At this age, it is important to encourage students to do science projects on a topic that they are interested in and try to make doing the project a positive experience. I’m glad that you are going to talk to the teacher about the effect that her teaching methods have had on your daughter. While acknowledging the teachers expertise in scientific investigations, perhaps you could suggest that she check out the teacher's forum on the Science Buddies website. We have excellent resources to support teachers and this might help if you think the problem is lack of experience. To me, it seems that the teacher knows what to do in a science project, but for some reason, was not able to explain the project well enough so that your daugther could design a well controlled experiment on her own.
I hope this helps. Good luck!