Choosing a Research Topic


Name _________________________________ Date ____________________________















Cloud Callout: Will biodegradable food packages degrade faster in sunlight or in compost?
Cloud Callout: Do the dissolved oxygen and CO2 levels in a pond change from day to night?












1.      Make a list here of questions that you would be interested in investigating using Decay and Renewal protocols.

Example:  Does moisture level affect the rate of biodegradation in compost?


2.  Of these questions, which seem the most important and interesting?  Pick three:








3.  For each of the three questions you have chosen, think of how you might design an experiment.  Then fill out Table 1:


Potential Questions


Brief description of an experiment you might do to address this question

What equipment and supplies would you need? 

How long would it take to carry out this project? 

Would field work or travel to field sites be required?


Does moisture level affect the rate of biodegradation in compost?

Build 3 bioreactors and fill them with the same ingredients except for the amount of water.

Soda bottles and other bioreactor supplies, grass clippings, and wood shavings

1 period to build the bioreactors, 2 weeks for composting, then 1 period to analyze results and clean up.

No, we can bring in grass clippings from home and get other supplies at school.

Question 1:










Question 2:










Question 3:










4.  Looking over Table 1, consider whether each project would be feasible for you to carry out.  Are the equipment and supplies available?  Do you have enough time?  Will you be able to do whatever fieldwork is needed?  Eliminate any questions that do not seem feasible based on logistics such as these.



Would this project be feasible?

Why or why not?

Example Project


   Yes                No


Uses supplies we have available and grass clippings we will bring in from home.


Project 1



   Yes                No



Project 2



   Yes                No



Project 3



   Yes                No



5.  Choose a project you have decided is feasible and interesting, then continue on to the Interactive Research Planning Form #1 or #2.