Problem Library

An Experiment in Using Plants to Get the Lead out

Length: 3-6 hours

Discipline: Environmental Science, Research Design

Level: Intermediate (majors)

Author: Homan, Michelle

Phytoremediation is a technology for removing soil and groundwater contamination using plants. In this two-part problem students are given a brief case study to read about how phytoremediation had been successfully used to remove lead from soil at a former manufacturing site. Students are then asked to consider how the researchers may have arrived at these results and what elements went into their experimental design. The second part of the problem requires students to think through and develop alternative research questions and hypotheses related to this topic. Additionally, students are asked to develop a checklist based on the basic elements of experimental design and employ their checklist to flesh out an experimental design to test their research hypothesis. This problem is useful as a supplement to a lecture on the basic terminology and concepts of experimental design.

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