Monday, June 13, 2011

Spotlight on the Seventh Grade, Southeast Region, First Place Team; Lack of Oxygen

Team Name: Lack of Oxygen
Region: Southeast
Grade: 7
School: Lawton Chiles Middle Academy
City, State: Lakeland, Florida
Team Advisor: Debbie Viertel
Students: Prajakta Kulkarni, Neeshi Patel, Divya Ravinder
Mission Challenge: Environment

“Lack of Oxygen” examined the relationship between the fertilizer that farmers use and the dead zones found in nearby bodies of water. The team believes that the chemical runoff is allowing the algae to bloom, which rapidly decreases the dissolved oxygen content. Without this vital piece of the ecosystem, fish and other organisms are unable to survive. To perform its experiment the team gathered 36 samples of water that contained algae from nearby Hallam Lake. The samples were then placed in jars and kept in a garage. The team created an experimental group by adding phosphate and nitrate rich fertilizer in 24 jars. The remaining 12 jars served as the control group. Each day the samples were tested for the amount of dissolved oxygen content. The results revealed that the experimental group that contained the fertilizer reduced the dissolved oxygen content 50 percent faster than the control group. Although the students recognize that further testing is required to confirm their results, they are confident that they have discovered a main contributor to the dead zones in nearby bodies of water. “Lack of Oxygen” has started contacting state officials and will continue raising awareness of the danger that fertilizer presents.

Each student on "Lack of Oxygen" has won $3,000.00 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds, a certificate of recognition from the U.S. Army, and an expenses-paid trip to the National Judging and Educational Event in Washington D.C. in June to present their final projects and compete for an additional $5,000.00 in U.S. EE Savings Bonds.

To view the full list of the 2010-2011 eCYBERMISSION state and regional winning teams, click here.

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