Monday, November 22, 2004

From the homework files...

Excerpts of eighth grade lab reports - they designed their own experiments about bacteria growth. These were first drafts.

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Question: "Which gender's bathroom has the most bacteria?"

From one girl's Conclusions: "I think girls have more bacteria in the bathroom because some girls sit on the toilet (which I don't do) and because girl problems."

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Question: "Which type of water - bottled or school fountain - will grow the most bacteria?"

From one girl's Conclusions (and to be fair, the rest of her thinking was very clear): "I think this happened because being that bottled water is of course in a bottle and the bottles usually come in a bottle, the bottles must not be sterilized therefore making the water catch bacteria."

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Question: "Where does more bacteria grow, in a boy's bellybutton or a girl's?"

From one girl's Conclusions: "My hypothesis was wrong because I thought that boys would have more bacteria in their bellybuttons. I thought this because boys are generally more active in my grade than girls."

From her Sources of Error: "Our results might have been affected by the fact that no one watched as the bellybuttons were swabbed, therefore no one knew whether they were swabbed properly."

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Question: "Which gender's bathroom has the most bacteria?"

From one girl's Conclusions: "I hypothesized that the females would have more bacteria on their toilet seat than the males because of "lady reasons". My hypothesis was correct. Since females do have more bacteria than males on their toilet seats. I say this because femailes get this "lady thing" and some of them don't clean up after themselves."

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Question: "Does it matter the gender of a person to have more bacteria in their navel?"

From one girl's Conclusions: "My results show that the girls have more bacteria than the boys. THat was something that really shocked us. We thought that because boys sweat more than girls they would have more bacteria. At the end of the experiment we noticed that the girls were both African-Americans and the boys were both Hispanic. Maybe that changed our results a little bit."

(That prompted my comment in the margins: "Interesting observation. Do you think race affects the bacteria in people's bellybuttons?")

Her Conclusions, continued: "Our results could have changed because that same day we had gym so both the girls and boys were sweaty. The girls could have been sweatier because with a co-ed gym girls are always competitive towards the boys which caused us to sweat more. While boys who are going easy on us didn't sweat as much.

"When we looked at the bacteria under the microscope it kind of scared me. I thought is this the type of stuff growing on me. Believe it or not it was true. They looked like fuzzy, orange, feet-smelling transparent sand-grain-like bacteria. But wait that was just girl #2. GIrl #1 looked like a waxy, x-ray looking, feet-smelling bacteria."

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