Flight Four - March 2, 2013 - Launch Summary - Science Classrooms - Mr. Hanson 7th Grade

Here are the results from Mr. Hanson's Science classroom. Results written up by Sarah Hanson

Researcher Name: Sarah Hanson

Lab Title: High altitude effects on Tenebrio molitor (the mealworm.)

1. Question: Ask a question or describe a problem to be solved.

What are the effects of high altitudes on living organisms (mealworms)?

Hypothesis/Prediction: Suggest a possible answer to your question. Give a reason for your hypothesis. Predict what will happen in the experiment if your hypothesis is correct.

The consensus of the group was that the worms would die because of the high altitudes.

2. Testing the hypothesis (experiment):

a) Variable and control: What is the one factor being purposely changed in the experiment and Describe the "control" (To what will you compare the variable?)

We will keep mealworms in Mr. Olson's refrigerator which is at ground level, so that we can compare their condition with the mealworms in our payload.

b) Materials/Method: List the things you need to set up and carry out the experiment. Explain in detail the steps you used to carry out the experiment. Someone reading this should be able to repeat your experiment without any questions.

We put thirteen worms in each film canister (four film canisters) and attached them to a foam payload, with the foam at one inch thick. Two film canisters were on the inside, and two were on the outside, opposite from each other so that the payload would be balanced. The dimensions of the payload were 6"x6". We then sent the payload up with a helium latex balloon and it rose to an altitude of around 80,000 feet.

5. Analyze results: Reorganize your data and display as charts, graphs, tables, and / or pictures if appropriate. Look for patterns or significant features to help you write a conclusion.

There was a 100% mortality rate for all of our payload passengers. However, the worms in the refrigerator survived.

6. Conclusion: The data should either support or contradict your hypothesis. Which was it? Use your data to explain what happened in the experiment and what you learned. What changes could you make in repeating this experiment? If you have a new hypothesis, describe it. Discuss any problems (like extra variables or measurement errors) that occurred. Explain how to minimize problems in a follow up lab. Discuss any new questions the experiment raised.

We were correct in our hypothesis that the mealworms would die due to high altitudes, however, we cannot be sure of what the exact cause was, because of the many factors in the experiment. The temperature extremes, the air pressure, the radiation levels, and the oxygen levels all played a role, but we don't know which it was that resulted in the death of our worms. Future flights should make an attempt to control these variables.