August 1, 2010 (Vol. 30, No. 14)
Strong Points: Nicely organized research gallery, large community of scientists and participants
Weak Points: None
How exactly does one plant science, I wonder? I’ll have to think on that one… What I can speak to is plantingscience.org, a wonderful website on which students, teachers, and researchers can put down their roots. The idea behind this burgeoning online community is simple: connect research mentors, educators, and students so that young minds can grow into mature scientists. The website contains lesson plans and experiment ideas, but the majority of the site consists of written summaries, photos, and data files from middle school and high school plant experiments. Plantingscience.org has a sneaky way of keeping visitors engaged, clicking through experiment after experiment for hours on end. They always get you with the teaser: the scientific question. How will the amount of nutrients in the soil affect the width of sweet potato cotyledons? Does music affect the growth pattern of radishes? Do alfalfa seeds grow faster in water or Gatorade? Who knows? Better go check out the site before your curiosity drives you mad.