Looks like you have come up with some good ideas on your own, already. Good job! I like this project, and your dad is right (I'm sure you didn't want to hear that, right?
) about keeping your bean species to just one. By having only one variable, this will keep your project simpler, meaning that there are less chances for your results to get whacky.
Please read this before starting; make sure you follow the order, less confusion later.http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ndex.shtml
So moving on, here are some ideas on your questions:
1) Project ideas: this sounds good, no changes.
1a) To choose a bean type, grow one that has a short germination and growth period, some ideas are: Mung beans or Lima beans. I would recommend growing your own from seeds, rather then buying "starters" from a store, because this way you will have the most control over project, and less variability between plants.
1b) To speed up germination soak beans in water for about 10-12 hours, and then plant in soil according to the instructions on package. Or, what I have done is place beans between some wet paper towels (keeping them wet) until they sprout.
2) Hypothesis: your hypothesis needs to be an "Educated Guess" of what will happen. That being said, you need to look up some information about your bean type, how do they grow best based on previous research? Then come up with your "guess" based on your research such as: Beans grow best in ___ environments, therefore, I believe the best type of soil will be ____ . DO NOT USE THIS HYPOTHESIS..IT IS ONLY AN EXAMPLE.
Read more about how to form a hypothesis: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... esis.shtml
3) Your variables include types of soil (clay, acidic, maybe different mineral rich..) and different temperatures, light. These are a lot of variables. Within each category a)soil type; b)light; c)temperature, you will need variables within that group, in addition your controls. That will be a lot of variables and controls. You will need at least 1 control for every experimental (I recommend using more than 1 control in case some die).
Read this first: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... les.shtml; http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... #checklist
Your independent variable will be the item you are changing to the control
, i.e. soil type. Your dependent variable is the part you observe
, such as plant growth (like, the height of growth is DEPENDENT on soil type). It can be kind of confusing. It is recommended to only change one variable at a time. IF you want to do more than one variable, I would suggest only picking 2 maximum. For example, Soil type and Temperature.
Here is an example of what I mentioned above:
Controls: I would have about 5 plants, and have about 2-3 plants for EACH variable.
These are only examples, and to demonstrate the complexity: Variable 1: Soil type
1B) Acidic soil
1C) Water onlyVariable 2: Amount of light
2B) Incandescent light
2C) natural light
Then you must combine your 2 variables like so, to see how each affects one another: This insures a FAIR TEST: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... test.shtml
1A + 2A
1A + 2B
1A + 2C
1B + 2A
1C + 2A
2C... you get the drift.
Confusing? It can be, there will be lots of sets of data, so you need to have a really organized lab book. This is why I recommend only using 1 variable. But it is up to you.
Also, you will need to keep your water amount consistent, such as using the exact same amount for every plant (use a measuring cup).
Please let me know if any of this is confusing, it is a lot of information, but I wanted to make sure I answered all your questions before your project proposal was due. I can't wait to hear more about the progress of your project.
Cheers! Happy Friday.