Is this a good science fair project?

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Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:07 am

I have to do a science fair project, and so I am considering conducting my research on the effects of coca cola, caffinated coffee, and vitamin water on people's blood pressure - how original is this idea?
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:38 pm

Would this be a good hypothesis? "If I give people a caffeinated drink, then their blood pressure will increase, and their concentration levels will be reduced."
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby kgudger » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:48 am

Hello and welcome to the forums.

The effects of caffeine on (short term) blood pressure are well known, e.g. see http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/blood-pressure/AN00792.

This does not mean that this would not make a good science project. You want to be careful about controlling your variables. You probably want to limit the "transfer medium" to one type of beverage (e.g. coffee or cola) and vary the amount of caffeine per dose. This could get very complicated, as you would need to have access to pure caffeine to add to the beverage. (I just now searched "where to buy caffeine" and found it on Amazon :) )

Let us know what you decide!
Keith
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby heatherL » Thu Nov 08, 2012 8:01 am

Hi EnglishRose,

You have a very interesting project idea! As Keith pointed out, you'll want to control as many variables as possible, so you might not want to use the three different drinks you listed. Keith already showed you that we know the effects of caffeine (in cola and coffee) on blood pressure. You could still do a great project, in which you control the amount of caffeine so you can graph the relationship between caffeine dosage and blood pressure.

I also wanted to address your choice of Vitamin Water. One thing that affects blood pressure is the intake of water and/or electrolytes (ions dissolved in water). Drinks like Vitamin Water and Gatorade have electrolytes that could affect blood pressure. If you are interested in looking at the effects of electrolyte intake on blood pressure, you could do an experiment on that variable (instead of caffeine).

I hope this helps. Please post again if you have more questions, and let us know what you decide to do so we can continue to help!

Heather
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:56 am

heatherL wrote:
I also wanted to address your choice of Vitamin Water. One thing that affects blood pressure is the intake of water and/or electrolytes (ions dissolved in water). Drinks like Vitamin Water and Gatorade have electrolytes that could affect blood pressure. If you are interested in looking at the effects of electrolyte intake on blood pressure, you could do an experiment on that variable (instead of caffeine).


Thank you SO MUCH for your advice! My teacher made a lot of the same comments, but I was left clueless as to what to do (she was also helping everyone with theirs, and so we didn't have much time to discuss mine). BUT, I really like your idea (the electrolyte one)! Is it realistic considering I don't think I will have any access to a lab? Would my experiment be somewhat similar to the "Electrolyte Challenge: Orange Juice Vs. Sports Drink" project?
Thank you so much for your help - I welcome any advice!!! :D
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:14 am

I would love to have an original project, but....... So yeah, I am seriously considering doing something with electrolytes.... What do the judges like to see? Are they looking for the project to be as original as possible?

I am in 9th grade - would this be too simple a project? How can I make this science project interesting? I really struggle in finding science interesting.

But, I love algebra and logic, and I am looking forward to chemistry next year. Is there someway I can incorporate all this into this science experiment?
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby heatherL » Thu Nov 08, 2012 12:05 pm

Hi EnglishRose,

You can definitely modify the Electrolyte Challenge project to make it your own. The great thing about this project is that you can do it at home, and Science Buddies offers a kit that gives you all of the materials you need (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... #materials). If you wanted to combine it with your original idea, you could see how the electrolyte content of different drinks affects blood pressure. For this, you would also need to purchase a sphygmomanometer (blood pressure cuff), in addition to the electrolyte kit.

You could pick a few different drinks for your test, and use the Electrolyte Challenge procedure (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... #procedure) to determine the electrolyte content in each drink. Then you could have people drink the different drinks and look for an effect on their blood pressure.

If you like this idea, let me know, and I will help you with your experimental design. You will want to get multiple test subjects (people whose blood pressure you measure), and several bottles of the different drinks you want to test.

We'll put together something that fits your interests and will appeal to the judges. :wink:

Heather
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Thu Nov 08, 2012 4:19 pm

Yes! I think this will be my project:).

How many subjects do you think I would need? My teacher asked me that for my original project, and although I wasn't sure then, I did know I would need a fairly large number in order to analyze and have an accurate conclusion...
Am I going to need at least 100 people?
Looking at
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ants.shtml,

I know I am going to need a lot.
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby heatherL » Thu Nov 08, 2012 7:49 pm

I'm glad you like the idea! We'll make this work for you.

While it would be great for you to get 100 people for your project, that's probably not feasible and it's not totally necessary. You'll certainly want to get as many people as you can. You could try asking everyone in your class to participate, or you could ask family and friends. (Keep in mind that age, gender, and fitness level can all influence blood pressure.)

Let's say you chose 3 drinks to compare. If you had every subject in your study perform experiments with all three drinks, then your sample size would be fairly large because it would be the same for all three drinks. You would have to do a special statistical test, called a repeated measures Analysis of Variance (rmANOVA), but we can worry about the statistics once you have done your experiment.

If you have each person only experiment with one drink, then your statistics will be a bit easier but your sample size will be much smaller. So it's a trade-off.

Ideally, I would aim for about 25 people, and study 3 drinks (2 with electrolytes, and water as a control). You will want to test all of your drinks (at least 3 different bottles of each) for conductance, and calculate an average conductance for each drink - inlcuding the water.

For the experiments, you will want to take resting blood pressure prior to the drink, then ask the person to drink a set amount of liquid (which should be calculated as a fraction of their body weight, such as 10mL of liquid per kilogram of body weight). Then take their blood pressure at set intervals (say, every 30 minutes) for 2 hours after drinking the liquid. You should also have a control group that drinks no liquid, but still has blood pressure taken every 30 minutes for 2 hours.

Thus, you will have four groups: (1) no liquid, (2) water, (3) electrolyte drink #1, (4) electrolyte drink #2. In each group, you will take resting blood pressure, then have the person drink (or not), and repeat blood pressure measurements every 30 minutes for 2 hours thereafter. If you have 25 people in each group, that would give you 100 people. If you have 25 people do all four treatments (on different days), then you will still have a sample size of 100.

If you can't get that many people, try seeing how many you can get, and whether they are willing to have you measure them multiple times. You should either randomly assign people to the different groups OR do all 4 measurements on everyone. You would not want to repeat measurements on some people but not others.

Let me know if this makes sense. Do you think this experimental design will work for you? How many subjects do you think you can get to participate?

Heather
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Fri Nov 09, 2012 11:48 am

Okay, A, I think I'll only be able to find around 25 people that I can test on, so I am going to have to test all the drinks on each person. Should all my subjects be around the same age? Yes, your instructions made complete sense:) (well, other than the part about doing "a special statistical test, called a repeated measures Analysis of Variance (rmANOVA)"

So,
1.) I suppose I need to do some background research, develop a specific question, come up with a hypothesis and design a complete research and experimental plan.

2.) I should, as you already said, test the three drinks (including the water) for conductance and average each drink's conductance - would I do that with the conductor-measure thing that the Electrolyte Challenge: Orange Juice Vs. Sports Drink uses?

3.) I should sign up the 25 people that I am going to do the test on.

4.) Perform the test on my subjects

5.) And finally, compare my results and draw a conclusion.


This is my assignment that I have to hand in this upcoming Tuesday:
"Continue to work on your science fair project. Make a final decision on your experiment. Write out your research plan to share in class. The research plan is a summary document for your experiment; it includes a properly formed question, hypothesis, materials, procedures, and bibliography for your experiment. Come prepared to explain your experiment to the class. Do not begin your experiment until your research plan has been approved."

What do you think?
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby heatherL » Fri Nov 09, 2012 2:31 pm

Hi EnglishRose,

I think 25 people is fine. And, really, if it ends up being too much to ask every person to do all four treatments (no liquid, water, and two other drinks), you could put 6 people into each group and compare. It is not the ideal sample size, but it will still work.

If you are able to get 25 people to agree to do four separate trials, I will help you with the statistics once you have your data.

I do think it would be best for all of your subjects to be around the same age, since age can have an effect on blood pressure. If you are able to have everyone do all four treatments, this won't matter as much because every person will serve as his/her own control. If you have to split people into different treatment groups, make sure to mix up the ages in each group.

1.) Yes, definitely get going on your background research. You can look up the effects of drinking liquids, the effects of blood volume, and the effects of electrolyte (salt) consumption on blood pressure in humans. That should help you develop your hypothesis. You can also look at the background section for the Electrolyte Challenge project to get some background on electrolytes.

2.) Yes, you would use the conductance-measuring device described in the Electrolyte Challenge project to determine the average conductance for each drink (including water).

3.) Make sure to get the official volunteer forms provided by your school for your human subjects.

It sounds like you need to get your project approved before starting, so let's see what your teacher thinks about this plan! Let me know if any more questions come up along the way.

Heather
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 9:58 am

Hello:),

First of all, because of the logistics and timing, when my mom and I discussed it, we realized that doing this science fair project was just not possible right now:(. BUT, thanks to all you help and advice, I was able to put together a very thorough and detailed experiment - maybe I can do it in the future when I have a bigger window of time, and it doesn't coincide with the holidays:). Thank you for the time and research you spent for my experiment. I really appreciate it, and I'm sorry that I won't get to perform the experiment.

I have had to quickly come up with another one.... I decided to do something related to the left/ right brain test. Again, I am looking to do something that uses statistics; I think I might be able to get at least around 40 people to participate.. Do you have any suggestions??
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby heatherL » Sun Nov 18, 2012 3:23 pm

Hi EnglishRose,

I'm sorry you weren't able to follow through with the blood pressure project, but it's nice to have a good idea that you can develop for next year!

In the mean time, were you thinking of doing this project on right/left dominance? http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p007.shtml

If so, you can look at the Make It Your Own section (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... eityourown) for suggestions of additional factors to compare (such as age or gender). If you are interested in doing statistics, you can perform a t-test to see whether there are significant differences among groups (e.g., males vs. females) in side dominance. Once you have your data, I can help you with the stats.

Keep me posted!

Heather
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:59 am

Hello,

I have finally decided!!! I am going to go ahead with the "Now You See It, Now You Don't: Investigating Inattentional Blindness" project. Even though it is an intermediate project, I am going to research it extremely well and come up with a detailed report that will hopefully makeup for the fact that I should be doing an advanced project.
The only thing is, I'm not quite sure what I'm going to have as my hypothesis.... I am going to hopefully find 50 test subjects, the range of ages I think is going to be from 12- 18. Is that okay? Keeping that in mind, should I do the experiment geared towards results comparing age or gender, or can I do both??

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p050.shtml

I am going to use either this video, or one like it to perform my experiment.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJG698U2 ... ature=plcp

Once again, thank you SO MUCH for your help!!!
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Re: Is this a good science fair project?

Postby EnglishRose98 » Mon Nov 19, 2012 9:07 am

"At the end of the trial, observers are asked a series of questions to determine whether or not they saw the unexpected object." (http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Ina ... _blindness)

This was taken from one of the sources on inattentional project on science buddies. I had originally planned to ask them three questions. 1. How many passes did the people in white shirts make? 2. Did you notice anything unusual? 3. If so, what did you see?

Should I come up with any more questions?
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