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IB Field Research
Eagle Hill School

Analysis of Plant Distribution 

Eagle Hill IB students measure the impact of plant growth on light availability.

Eagle Hill School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) program engages students in research that parallels graduate school or professional work environments. One project, part of Andrew Ward's IB Biology class, involves measuring the distribution of plant species, including moss, clover, and chickweed based on the availability of light. The students gain practical experience in scientific research, data collection, and analysis by conducting this study.

To carry out their research, students meticulously mapped a grid on the school campus, encompassing areas with varying degrees of light exposure—from low to high. This grid is the foundation for their experiments, allowing them to observe how different light conditions affect the growth and health of the plant species under study.

The experiment’s design includes a transect belt, a tool that helps sample and study the gridded area. Students measure the variation of light to calculate the differences in photosynthetically active radiation at specific points along their sampling area. By tracking these changes, they aim to determine which plants thrive in bright light and which plants prefer shaded environments. 

At the end of the experiment, students will analyze their collected data using statistical methods to identify trends and draw conclusions. This will deepen their understanding of plant biology and enhance their data interpretation and scientific reporting skills.

This project is more than just a class assignment; it’s a gateway for future research endeavors. Next school year, these students will undertake Independent Investigation, a compulsory component of the IB Biology program like a collegiate dissertation. For this investigation, each student will develop their own research question, design an experiment to test variables and seek answers to their queries.
 

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