Honors biology submits data to science center


Christina Meier

Justin Crawford (9) analyzes his plant.

This year’s OHS Honors Biology students are the first group to experience an all-new project in class-and what they learn could make a difference in the world.

During the first days of school, the students were introduced to their first assignment: They would be growing and observing millet plants. Millet is a type of grass, and is used in this project as a model organism for corn. The observations made in class will be used in real plant research at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in Creve Coeur, MO.

“The millet plants are the model organism to help scientists better understand the genome growth conditions of corn,” said Honors Biology teacher Mrs. Laura Thomas. “Scientists at the plant research center are trying to better understand how to grow more crops, specifically corn, but potentially other food crops, including the millet.”

Over the summer, Mrs. Angela Zelenovich, Miss Kelsey Tunze, and Thomas had the opportunity to attend a workshop to learn how to grow the millet and submit the data that would be used for plant research.

“Ms. Zelenovich, Ms. Tunze, and myself wanted to come up with something that would increase the rigor of the Honors Biology class,” said Thomas. “We wanted something authentic.”

As the plants live through their life cycles, the students will record data such as the humidity, temperature, and light intensity of where the plants are grown and physical traits such as the number of leaves and height.

Thomas said the project will end roughly in the end of November or beginning of December, depending on the rate of plant growth.

Once the plants have completed their full life cycles, all the information the students have gathered, along with the new seeds produced by the millet plants, will be sent to the Danforth Science center. There, scientists will plant the next generation of millet with the seeds and use the information for the real world.

“I have not been a part of anything going to the real world,” said Honors Biology student Justin Crawford (9). “This actually might make a difference in life.”