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Need some help with a science project!!!

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Wallace, Dec 13, 2011.

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  1. Wallace

    Wallace New Member

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    My 8 year old daughter has decided she would like to do her science project on different types of wood and their heating properties! Her idea!! She is way to smart for her age! So I have access to 4 different kinds of wood that grow in our region. Oak, Ponderosa pine, Alligator juniper and Shaggy bark juniper. We are really needing some ideas and parameters for her experiment.

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  2. Chettt

    Chettt Feeling the Heat

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    In addition to burn times & temperature, she could weigh the pieces freshly cut then again after 4 weeks, measure the tree rings, do a hardness test on each etc.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Send a PM to forum member Battenkiller. He will give you enough experiments to do with wood that your eyes will be rolling back in your head. :lol:
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Drying times for the different woods would also be interesting because oak will take much longer than the others. This brings up the creosote thing as burning green wood will cause lots of creosote which can cause bad chimney fires, which can cause loss of home, etc., etc.
  5. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    SCIENCE PROJECT - all the below requires adult supervision, and probably adult participation and guidance.

    NULL HYPOTHESIS: The heat obtained from burning wood is indirectly proportional to its density (read: softer wood species produces more heat than harder wood).

    METHODOLOGY:
    1. Cut 3 identical size pieces (Ex: 1/2"x1"x4") of each of your available 4 species (green).
    2. Label the 3 pieces of each green species.
    3. Accurately weigh and record each green species as a group of 3 pieces.
    4. Thoroughly dry all pieces together in a 250*F oven for 6 hours.
    5. Cool and re-weigh each group of 3.
    6. Record the dry weights. The heaviest is the most dense and so on to the lightest.
    7. Perforate the sides of an empty and clean 28 oz tomato (or other) can. This can will be the burn container.
    8. Obtain another can to contain a measured amount of cold water at the same temperature (Ex: 2 cups).
    9. Obtain or construct a non-flammable stand that the perforated can will fit under and which will also hold
    the water can above.
    10. Ignite each of the 4 species, as a group of 3 pieces arranged in a teepee, of dry wood inside the perforated
    can using 1 T. of liquid lighter fuel with the other can containing 2 cups of measured cold water above.
    11. Allow each fire to burn to completion.
    12. Take the temperature of the water after the fire flames are out and only coals are visible for 10 minutes for each wood species.
    13. Record the results.

    COMPARE RESULTS to prove or disprove your null hypothesis. If your results show that burning harder wood produces
    more heat than burning softer wood, you have shown your null hypothesis is incorrect by using the scientific method (modified).

    If the water boils in any burn group, increase the amount of water equally for each group.

    Aye,
    Marty
    Grandma used to say, "Work smarter, not harder."
  6. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Eight years old Marty. Eight.
  7. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    "Way smart for her age", Bart, "Way smart for her age" and "requires adult supervision".

    Aye,
    Marty
  8. SpeakEasy

    SpeakEasy Member

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    I'm a former elementary teacher, and I'd love to help your daughter out. I am currently a professor of education, and I spend my days teaching people how to teach other people's children. I surely hope the teacher provided some guidance on this "science project." If you can give me some of the guidance provided by the teacher, I can give you some ideas to follow up with.

    -Speak
  9. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    How do you tell the difference between an 8 year-old girl's science project and the collaborative science project of a bunch of old guys on Hearth.com?
  10. SpeakEasy

    SpeakEasy Member

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    Dan, that's why I didn't just jump in with both feet.

    -Speak
  11. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    Yes and maybe an 8 year old can figure out what he is talking about I surs cnnot. :lol:
  12. firecracker_77

    firecracker_77 Minister of Fire

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    What a cool subject for a science fair project. Keep us posted as to what she does.
  13. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    GuyZ:

    Please realize this original post is the brain child of a young girl, to do a "science project on different types of wood
    and their heating properties".

    I have 4 children. I've had lots of schoolin' and I know a bit about science and "projects". I made a suggestion,
    the only one so far.

    Either contribute by coming up with an alternative suggestion you think is better,
    rather than taking pot shots at my suggestion, or else go about your business
    somewhere else.

    Really.

    Aye,
    Marty
  14. cptoneleg

    cptoneleg Minister of Fire

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    What are you talking about???
  15. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    How about if she builds a Masonry heater, then on 4 separate occasions(one for each species), burns 4 splits of same size(on all loads), and records the temps at specific intervals from start to finish of each burn of each species.
    Oh yeah, don't forget to throw a few fancy words in there also, to help you look and feel even smarter.
  16. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    Lips are moving.
    I hear nothing.

    Aye,
    Marty
  17. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    I don't think anyone was criticizing your ideas. I think the question is, why are trying to do her project for her?
  18. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    1. is she going to compare a given volume of wood or will it be based on weight? I would stick to volume as it is easier to measure displacement without worry of water weight throwing off the project.

    2. Generally in Prescott those species can be found in relatively close proximity (don't have to worry about different climatic zones) to each other so you could cut green and weigh then oven dry and weigh to determine moisture content. If it were me I'd stick as close to the 5000 ft elevation level as that is the most common regime that all these species are likely to occur. I know that cutting green wood is illegal in AZ but I would stick to pieces 3-4" in diameter. If it concerns you cutting it, go down to the FS office and they will give you a free permit to harvest a few pieces for this.

    3. I would oven dry at 150-200 degrees for a set amount of time (maybe 4 hours at 150? just guessing on this one). Weigh the wood again and determine the moisture content removed.

    4. All these steps to now are just for her to explain the scientific process and set a hypothesis plus it will make her sound smart and dry the wood out for the experiment.

    5. I would then get a controlled situation like a cast iron pot in the garage or somewhere out of the wind. Get an IR thermogun and set them on fire one at a time measuring how long they burn and the temp they burn at. You could record temps at 1 minute intervals. I would do all this with a 3-4 " diameter piece maybe 1-2" long (just a small wafer) to make ignition easier and the project run quicker.



    Just a thought :)
  19. Martin Strand III

    Martin Strand III New Member

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    "We are really needing some ideas and parameters for her experiment."
  20. Wood Duck

    Wood Duck Minister of Fire

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    Easy - the little girl actually conducts some experiments. The old guys just talk it to death.

    This has to be very simple. She might try to determine how long and hot the stove burns with a full load of each type of wood. She could load up the stove full of wood #1, light the wood and record the stove top temperature every x minutes. Create a graph of heat over time. Repeat the next day with wood #2 and so on. At the end, she could compare the graphs to make a conclusion about the heating properties of the woods. If she wants to add a little more info, she could measure the density of the woods and compare that to their heat generating properties.

    I wouldn't worry too much about moisture content, etc. as long as all the woods are reasonably seasoned. This is first or second grade, after all.
  21. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Density is a concept that is often at least described to kids at this age. Maybe a good extension for a bright young kid and to make it a fair project would be to help her with the math a bit and find the density of 4 different species of wood. The process and tools she uses in doing that along with the simple math as a display could make for a nice project to present.

    You could leave it at that which would be more than appropriate for the age or if she really is an overachiever you could take it further and compare it to known values of the species density, actually burn stuff and share the observations, the sky and her actual interest after building something as a foundation will determine when she feels it's time to stop.

    My main suggestion is to keep it fun as you help to keep her focused. Doing one thing well and sharing that one thing well is better than doing 5 things 1/2 heartily.

    pen
  22. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Don't make me break out the ruler :mad:
  23. rwhite

    rwhite Minister of Fire

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    Just to add to this: I would walk her through the steps explaining how objects placed in water displace it and what it means. Then give an appropriate level discussion on weather and climate and whay certain trees grow where they do etc. The whole point is whatever you decide to the main emphasis is to make a teaching moment out of every step and make it fun.
  24. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Density would be pretty easy to measure by using displacement to determine the volume. I like it. She can use the densities to predict the outcome, without getting into a hairy mess of variables.

    A project that is easy to replicate, documented properly, and includes the correct protocol will be more valuable than a fabulous idea that got bogged down in the details.

    eta the goal at this stage is that the kids learn how the scientific method works, how to collect and analyze data, and how to communicate those results. The grade and/or score is based mostly on evidence of that.
  25. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    something easy would be using a moisture meter on the different stages of dried woods and recording the reading.
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