Tuesday, May 12, 2009

involved and committed

The ideas I had for my son's seventh grade science fair project were rejected, including the one that made it as far as the teacher. I thought that a miniature body farm, using critters that had accidentally died in the pool, would go over well. It never made it out of committee. By committee, I mean my wife.

My son presented a better idea to his teacher. He wanted to soak some teeth in Coca-Cola to see if they would dissolve. When she said no teeth, I suggested that he use rib bones from a pig. We were heavily into smoking pork at the time and finding a surplus of bones would be easy. The teacher then made it clear that she would reject anything organic. My son had to do the experiment with iron nails, which had only the most minuscule change in weight during their time in the soda.

A teacher named Stephanie Chavez at Washington Union High School in Fresno would have been more receptive to my scientific method. According to the Fresno Bee, she wants to create a "chicken body farm" using store-bought chickens. My son says that she should make sure to buy the kind without preservatives.
Description of Project: The "Chicken" Body Farm: Scientists have put together an ongoing study of how bodies decompose in different scenarios. I would like to have my AP Biology class perform a similar experiment but instead of using cadavers, we would use store-bought chickens. Students place their chickens in various created scenarios such as: submerged in water, enclosed in a box, covered in clothes and wrapped in aluminum and will track the rate of decomposition. They will also observe how long it takes for insects to show up, learn the insect life cycles and how it affects the decomposition of the chicken. The grant will provide the equipment necessary to create a secure environment in which to study as well as all the equipment needed to create each "chicken" decomposition scenario.

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