Welcome!

This page will guide you through the process of creating and implementing a complete Norco Agriscience Fair Project.  The process is step by step, and the next step will be uploaded as it is introduced in class.

Agriscience fair project explained:

All agriculture students in the state of California are required to have a supervised agriculture experience project.  This is an agriculture project done outside of class hours that puts skills a student has learned in the classroom to work.  The most well-known example of this type of project is taking an animal to the fair.  But not all 400+ students have the time/means/drive to do that project!  The next common example is working for someone in the agriculture industry; Animal care, feed stores, landscaping, etc.  Yet another way to fulfill this requirement is the Agriscience Fair.  With an agriscience fair project, any student can use the science project they are already doing in their ag science course and use it to meet their SAE requirement as long as the question or problem they are attempting to answer or solve is agriculture based!

Important Details:

When are the Norco Agriscience Fair projects due? First semester finals week.
Who has to do a Agriscience Fair project? All students in Mr. Macy's Ag Science classes will complete a science fair project for their final.  Those students who do not have an SAE, must enter their project as an agriculture entry
When will I do this project? There will be class-time given for working on research and writing reports, but the actual experimentation, data collection, and presentation construction will be done outside of class.
Can I do it at school, or does it have to be done at home?  Special arrangements can be done to use agriculture department space, facilities and tools (includes science class probes, microscopes, etc).  However, this will need to be set up in advance with a proposal, detailed procedure, and teacher permission.  Work done off campus needs the approval of the individual(s) hosting the experiment.
Finally, what will need to be included in the project when it is turned in?
All items below will be detailed in the step-by-step guide

  1. Full agriscience report. Printed.
  2. Science fair display board.
  3. Complete lab journal.

How to begin
 

All scientific endeavors begin with a question or a problem. For example:

How can I use less water on my crops
What is the most efficient way to harvest carrots
Labor for growing my oranges is too expensive
What feed will be most cost-effective on my ranch
Does my Grandma's gardening "secret" really produce better tomatoes
etc

A good science project is based upon a good question, and should be something that the researcher is interested in.

For the purposes of this project, your question or problem needs to be grade level appropriate.  If you end up building a baking soda volcano, you will need to be coming back to this step to begin again!

How to start?

The best problem or question is something you are interested in.  The agriculture industry is HUGE, and many of your interests already have a home in agriculture.  Interested in sports? The head turf manager of professional stadiums easily makes over 6 figures, and there is always research in how to make a playing field more consistent and safe.  This would be a branch of the landscaping industry.  Interested in music? How sound effects living things, and if sounds can aid in production agriculture has been a point of research before.  There are a lot more.

Go to this link here, to see a website that talks about the many sectors in the ag industry.  The website is focused on careers, but each of those careers has their own unique questions and problems.

The categories below are the categories available for the Norco Agriscience Fair.


 

Animal Systems (AS)

The study of animal systems, including life processes, health, nutrition, genetics, management and processing, through the study of small animals, aquaculture, livestock, dairy, horses and/or poultry.

Examples:

  • Compare nutrient levels on animal growth
  • Research new disease control mechanisms
  • Effects of estrous synchronization on ovulation
  • Compare effects of thawing temperatures on livestock semen
  • Effects of growth hormone on meat/milk production

Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems (ENR)

The study of systems, instruments and technology used in waste management; the study of the management of soil, water, wildlife, forests and air as natural resources and their influence on the environment.

Examples:

  • Effect of agricultural chemicals on water quality
  • Effects of cropping practices on wildlife populations
  • Compare water movements through different soil typeS

Food Products and Processing Systems (FPP)

The study of product development, quality assurance, food safety, production, sales and service, regulation and compliance and food service within the food science industry.

Examples:

  • Effects of packaging techniques on food spoilage rates
  • Resistance of organic fruits to common diseases
  • Determining chemical energy stored in foods
  • Control of molds on bakery products

Plant Systems (PS)

The study of plant life cycles, classifications, functions, structures, reproduction, media and nutrients, as well as growth and cultural practices, through the study of crops, turf grass, trees and shrubs and/or ornamental plants.

Examples:

  • Determine rates of transpiration in plants
  • Effects of heavy metals such as cadmium on edible plants
  • Compare GMO and conventional seed/plant growth under various conditions
  • Effects of lunar climate and soil condition on plant growth
  • Compare plant growth of hydroponics and conventional methods

Power, Structural and Technical Systems (PST)

The study of agricultural equipment, power systems, alternative fuel sources and precision technology, as well as woodworking, metalworking, welding and project planning for agricultural structures.

Examples:

  • Develop alternate energy source engines
  • Create minimum energy use structures
  • Compare properties of various alternative insulation products
  • Investigation of light/wind/water energy sources

Now you are ready to develop your own question/problem, and submit that question using the form below.  There is the option to submit up to three questions/problems if you have multiple ideas.  One question/problem is required, but if your question/problem is not up to grade level, you may need a backup.

Submit your problem/question idea:

Go to this survey to submit your idea to Mr Macy for grading.  
 

So I have a question/problem, What's next?

Your next step is to make sure that your question/problem is substantial enough to do a high school project on.  This means that you should be able to do research on the topic.  Research includes background information about the subject, and what other experiments/studies have been done about the question/problem already.

For example, If your goal was to find out if dairy cows produce more milk when exposed to music you might research:

  1. What other studies have been done with dairy cattle and music
  2. What other studies have been done with any animals and how their production is affected by music
  3. What studies have been done about music affecting living things
  4. What is the average productin of dairy cattle.  Are there differences in breeds?
  5. What types of music have been shown to have effects on living things
  6. What is the typical environment if a dairy cow.  How can they be given music reliably in their day
  7. Are all kinds of music the same
  8. ...etc.......

Research should be about former related studies AND general background information.  You will be amazed at how much knowledge there already is about agriculture.

No, Wikipedia is not a source.  Wikipedia is amazing for everyday knowledge, and also great for inspiration about science.  BUT, it just cant be used as a source.  The best part about Wikipedia, is that if you are struggling to find sources, the citations t the bottom of the page can sometimes be GOLD when looking for a valuable resource.  

Use Google Scholar. It is a special search engine that only looks at worthy sources for a science project.  Just do a regular google search for google scholar.  Its the big boy/girl search engine!

Sites ending in .edu and .gov are generally good. 

Sites ending in .com and .net are generally bad.

What do I need to do?

You need to fill out the handout that has space for 3 research articles.  If you cant find all of the information requested, move on and try to find a better research article!  In your final report, you will ahve 5 sources of research minimum, but for now you should be able to find 3 of those 5, and they should all be super solid.

The required information from those sources is:

  1. Title
  2. Topic
  3. Who did it?
  4. Where was it done?
  5. When was it done? Not when you looked it up but when it was created
  6. Where was it published?
  7. URL:

You have been given a worksheet to fill this out onto, and it will be glued into your interactive notebook!

Agriscience Project Proposal:

This is a form filled out in a students notebook and signed off by the parents.  It addresses the following aspects of the project:

  1. The agriculture question or problem to be addressed
  2. What category will this project fall under
  3. Is this project an individual or partnership
  4. Where will this project be completed
  5. What is the hypothesis of the experiment
  6. Experiment budget
  7. Parental Unit approval

Parents/guardians (the parental unit) being involved in this step is extremely important. The money spent on this project could range from nothing to a lot more than nothing. No money is required to be spent on the project. If, in planning the project, the budget gets out of hand, now is the time to change your hypothesis or even your question!
The experimentation needs to be done by the end of Thanksgiving break.  Please think about the timeline for the project as well!

 

Write the Introduction:

Classtime will be given to write the background, need for study, experimental design, and hypothesis for this project.  What each of those entails is below:

 

Background

The background gives the reader a general history and understanding of the project and the research. After reading the background the reader should have enough technical knowledge of the subject to understand the premise of the paper.

  • ALL facts and opinions must be cited since this is ALL from research

  • Minimum acceptable number of sources is 5

Need for study

The need for study points out the usefulness or importance of the project and its relevance to agriculture.

 

Experimental Design

The experimental design is a bolded, bulleted list of the following parts of the experiment.

  • Independent Variable: The one thing that you will purposely manipulate

  • Dependent Variable: What you believe will change and will measure as a result of your independent variable.

  • Control: what you will compare your MANIPULATED independent variable to

  • Constants: what remains the same across all treatments.  be detailed and specific

  • Sample Size: how many subjects were there per treatment? Examples include: # plants,  # different soil types, # animals, etc

  • Number of Repetitions: your experiment needs to be performed AT LEAST twice for it to be considered valid.  This is how many times you will begin AGAIN at step 1

Hypothesis

A prediction of the outcome of the experiment based on the review of literature conducted.

THE HYPOTHESIS IS NOT WRitten in Quotes! Written as an If ___ Then ____ Statement.

Write the Methodology

The methodology is a step-by-step guide with all of the information necessary to complete the project including time and meterials written into each step. Anyone should be able to pick up a copy of your methodology and perform your experiment in exactly the same manner as you without having any other communication with you.

Instructions for Introduction and Methodology:

Now it is time to do the science you laid out.

Should be as easy as following the steps you wrote above!

Important: You need to keep a record of everything you do during your project in a dedicated notepad/notebook.  Each time you interact with your project, everything should be noted. If you interact with it multiple times a day, it should have multiple entries per day.  Every measurement you take should be noted.

For the 2017-2018 school year, your project needs to be done by the last day of November.

On the first day of December, you need to have a journal of your measurements/observations/data.  We will then use class time to write the report. 

See the instructions below for the requirements in presenting your findings.

This Section has 6 parts.

  1. Tables
  2. Charts
  3. Summary of Data
  4. Conclusion
  5. Recommendations
  6. References/Works Cited

Coming Week 17

This will happen on the day of your final

If you have a completed display board and a completed report on display for the judges, you cant get less than a 60%.  In other words - you cannot fail the final by doing the minimum here no mater how poor your project was

Coming Finals Week