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How to design a science fair project from scratch: day 2

Posted by on October 26, 2013

Today I am figuring out the best set up to use and doing a “trial run”. Buying 12 mung bean sprouters isn’t in by budget so I made one from items I could find easily (pasta jar, cheese cloth, elastics):

Make a mung bean sprouter - you will need at least 6 (3 for controls and 3 for test)

Make a mung bean sprouter – you will need at least 6 (3 for controls and 3 for test)

This is a 12 oz mason jar that I buy Classico Alfredo Sauce in (and fortunately my kids love this stuff so it won’t take long for me to save 12 jars). I have covered it with a square of cheese cloth (bought cheesecloth at the supermarket – it’s on the “kitchen stuff” isle) held in place with a rubber band (found in my junk drawer).

Yesterday, I selected 100 mung beans so that the math (I will be calculating %) would be easier and intuitive; but once I counted out 100 beans I immediately figured out that 100 was not enough because 100 mung beans is only 1/2 Tablespoon (didn’t even cover bottom of jar). To make the math a bit easier I figured I should have 1000 mung beans in each sprouter…. The best procedure is to actually count 1000 mung beans… but that gets old fast, so I did 5 tablespoons and that turned out to be a level 1/3 of a cup of mung beans. There would now be “approximately” 1000 mung beans per sprouter.

So now I know I need 1 cup of mung beans per “treatment” and 1 cup for the control. I know I will put 1/3 of a cup into each of 3 clean jars. I also figured out the mason jar can hold 1 cup of water.

So my “procedure” so far looks like:

1. Rinse all mung beans for 3-5 minutes;
Mung bean 3

2. Add 1/3 cup of mung beans to each of 6 jars (if basic) and 12 jars (if advanced).

Mung bean 2

3. Add 1 cup of water to 3 control jars.

Of all my questions, I started with testing pH because I had some white vinegar. I know vinegar is acidic but I don’t really know how much vinegar I should use. So I picked 1/2 cup:

4. Add 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of white vinegar to 3 test jars.

That means my QUESTION is: What is the effect of pH on mung bean sprouting?

So my HYPOTHESIS is: As pH decreases (i.e. lower pH is more acidic) the percentage of mung beans that sprout will decrease because the acid will have a negative effect.

5. Soak for 8 hours.
6. Rinse morning and evening every day for 5 days (keep out of direct sunlight).
7. Observe for signs of sprouting and note the volume change in the jar (the beans will expand).

This is my trial run with 1 control (tan elastic) and 1 test (blue rubber band)
Test on left; Control on right
If you look close, the water levels are not even which means I will need to measure more carefully and I should count 1000 mung beans per jar. I don’t want little differences between my jars to obscure any results that I may record later.

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