Discipline: Science and Mathematics Education
Room: Park Tower 8216
A'liyah Fleeks - Harris-Stowe State University
Co-Author(s): Dr. Jayashree Balakrishna, Harris-Stowe State University, St.Louis, MO; Austin Dixon, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO; Andrew Jackson, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO; Tyler Peacock, Harris-Stowe State University, St. Louis, MO; and Mikal Smith, Harris-Stowe State University, St.Louis, MO
Ozone stress on plants using an ozone chamber is a great way to bring STEM learning to a high school classroom. The students can learn about plants, their growth stages, engineering design, and climate change. The basic design was to study the effects of ozone stress on soy plants using an ozone chamber. It was hypothesized that different concentrations of ozone result in different amounts of stress and that the stress effects depend on the stages of growth of a seedling. The project was designed to be a STEM educational tool for high school students to get hands-on real-world experience in a classroom. I discussed classroom methods with a faculty member who had high-school teaching experience and went to a high school where they conducted an ozone study with an ozone chamber of their own. The ozone chamber had to be built and assembled from parts and tested before use. Telling students about the building process would bring an engineering aspect to the classroom, a field that I plan on pursuing. The chamber was built in a way to ensure no ozone ejected into the room. Safety is a major part of laboratory learning. Soybean plants were grown in a greenhouse and were placed in the chamber at different stages of growth and ozone effects on the leaves are being studied (we exposed the plants to 4 hours of ozone a day on weekdays). Control groups were soybean seedlings grown in the greenhouse without exposure to ozone, under the same conditions of humidity and temperature as the experimental groups in the chamber. To ensure this the chamber was housed in the greenhouse. With this study we hoped to get a better understanding of how ozone affects our food supply. Pollution from cars, industry, and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight producing ozone. Ozone in the upper atmosphere protects us from the harmful UV rays but down on Earth?s surface, we do not want high levels of ozone because it has adverse effects on human and plant health. Ozone damages plants by entering leaf openings called stomata and burn plant tissue during respiration. This is also known as, necrosis. Learning which varieties of a particular plant do better when exposed to ozone, will help us learn what to grow. By looking at the leaf area showing ozone stress and the number of leaves affected by the ozone it was concluded that seedlings at an early stage of growth were more affected. Future studies would include other plants as well as seeing whether ozone effects are humidity dependent. Additionally, comparisons could be made with field ozone stress. From this study it was concluded that it doesn’t take a drastic amount of ozone for change to occur. Plant ozone studies could be used as an insight into the dangerous effects of ozone exposure. As of now, I am working on lesson plans one can have in a classroom setting to teach students about plant growth, ozone pollution, lab safety, and climate change, using an ozone chamber.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Acknowledgements: I would like to thank Dr. Freddie Wills and MOLSAMP for allowing me to partake in MoLSAMP Summer Research. I would also like to thank Dr. Jayashree Balakrishna, Dr. Ann Podleski, Professor Andrew Jackson, and Dr. Nicole Gosselin. would like to thank my group I worked on this project with: Austin Dixon, Mikal Smith, Tyler Peacock, Jeremiah Grinston and Professor Jackson. Lastly, Saint Louis University for giving us the materials for the ozone chamber.
Faculty Advisor: Jayashree Balakrishna, email@example.com
Role: My part of this research was to be a member of the team assembling the Ozone Chamber. Through this, I was able to gain valuable team working skills and also have my voice heard throughout the entire project. After the chamber was assembled and tests had been done to ensure that it was functioning properly, I also looked at ozone effects on plants and got to witness the harmful effect it has on plants. My last portion of the research was to get information and insight on how to put together a classroom teaching experience to keep students engaged and yearning to learn more in the STEM field.