Carbon footprint science fair project

Ask questions about projects relating to: biology, biochemistry, genomics, microbiology, molecular biology, pharmacology/toxicology, zoology, human behavior, archeology, anthropology, political science, sociology, geology, environmental science, oceanography, seismology, weather, or atmosphere.

Moderators: MelissaB, kgudger, Ray Trent, Moderators

Carbon footprint science fair project

Postby linda1234 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:56 am

I had planned to give a survey to several people and input their info into an online calculator. I was then going to compare the results to the age of the participants. I have been told that it involves too many variables. What would be a more appropriate way to analyze a carbon footprint for a project? I appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks.
linda1234
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:45 am
Occupation: Student 10th
Project Question: Environmental science project-carbon footprint
Project Due Date: 3/22/2013
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Carbon footprint science fair project

Postby jokmed » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:19 pm

Hi linda1234,

Welcome to the Ask an Expert Forum.

May I ask what online calculator you are planning on using? This might help me better understand your questions.

What specifically are you trying to examine? Carbon footprints per age group? If so, I think this sounds like a great idea and (depending on the calculator) seems like a reasonable project.

Once I understand things more clearly, we can discuss the best way to approach the project!
jokmed
Expert
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:20 pm
Occupation: Student: Senior College Biochemistry / Pre-med
Project Question: Science Buddies Ask an Expert volunteer program
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Carbon footprint science fair project

Postby linda1234 » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:46 pm

I was going to use a carbon footprint calculator at www.footprintnetwork.org. I was told that there would be too many independant variables. Would a different calculator be better? My hypothesis was going to involve which age group has a bigger carbon footprint. Thanks for your help.
linda1234
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:45 am
Occupation: Student 10th
Project Question: Environmental science project-carbon footprint
Project Due Date: 3/22/2013
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Carbon footprint science fair project

Postby jokmed » Sat Mar 09, 2013 3:14 pm

I think that your idea is awesome and very doable. Essentially, you are comparing carbon footprint vs. age/age group.

If you designed a survey that asked about age and asked all the questions required by the calculator you choose, you could input that data into the calculator and compare age to carbon footprint. The trick here is picking the right calculator. Like any scientific study, you want to be systematic. In this case, you want to have the same data for everyone, input it into the calculator in the same way, and get results you can compare. The link you posted seems like it would work; make sure to pick the "detailed" or "basic" version right away and stick with it. I would recommend the basic calculation so your survey is shorter and easier for people to complete. Be aware that this calculator doesn't give a carbon footprint, but an ecological footprint (this is fine I just want you to know that). Alternatively, http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carbo ... /index.htm seems to have a carbon footprint calculator that would work well for your study.

I hope this information helps. If you have any further question about designing your survey or dealing with the data, please post it on here and I will be happy to help! I'm interested to see how things go.
jokmed
Expert
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:20 pm
Occupation: Student: Senior College Biochemistry / Pre-med
Project Question: Science Buddies Ask an Expert volunteer program
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Carbon footprint science fair project

Postby linda1234 » Mon Mar 11, 2013 6:22 am

If I use this calculator that you suggest, do you think it would be acceptable to only use one area, like recycling and waste? I want to make the survey as simple as possible. Thanks for all your help.
linda1234
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 10:45 am
Occupation: Student 10th
Project Question: Environmental science project-carbon footprint
Project Due Date: 3/22/2013
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Carbon footprint science fair project

Postby jokmed » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:59 am

Hi again linda1234,

The calculator will give you results based on only the answers that you have filled in, meaning you can leave parts blank. There are definitely some questions that you don't need to include, but I think you should ask more than just recycling and waste since there are only 2 questions in that part of the quiz.

Here are some ideas on how to turn the quiz into a simpler survey...
-As individuals will be taking the survey, assume under "Get Started" that you have "1 person" and the quiz is "For Me Only"
-Under "Home Energy," you will probably be surveying everyone from the same state so no need to ask people to fill it in.
-Under "Home Energy," the first 3 questions (about energy star appliances and installing efficient lighting) don't apply to young people, so you might not want to ask these. The hot water question, however, is something everyone can relate to.
-Under "Driving and Flying," you don't have to include the questions about the air filter and tire pressure. Just ask about the vehicle and flying. Since some of your survey takers might not drive, you could add this to the question "Note: If you do not drive yourself, please estimate the distance that you have your parent/guardian drive you."
-All the questions under "Food and Diet" and "Recycling and Waste" would make good questions.

That would shorten your quiz down to about 7-8 questions, most of them multiple choice. I think this would be a very reasonable survey to have people take. If you would like to post the survey once you've made it, I would be happy to review it and edit it with you.

-John
jokmed
Expert
 
Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 2:20 pm
Occupation: Student: Senior College Biochemistry / Pre-med
Project Question: Science Buddies Ask an Expert volunteer program
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable


Return to Grades 9-12: Life, Earth, and Social Sciences

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 11 guests