An Experiment with Radiation and Wheat grass, part 1

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Ever since I stumbled upon the two little orange Fiestaware pots, I have been thinking about how I can use them in experiments with living things (from the plant kingdom).  I finally decided what I am going to do–I am going to irradiate some wheat and then I am going to grow it.

Experiment name: Will irradiated wheat kernels produce mutated and/or otherwise deformed wheat grass when germinated?

Hypothesis: Wheat berries irradiated with alpha, beta, and gamma radiation will exhibit signs of mutation and/or other visible defects when germinated into wheat grass.

Supplies needed:

  1. 84 grams hard red wheat kernels, divided
  2. Radioactive fiestaware pot
  3. Ceramic creme brulee container
  4. SE International Ranger Geiger Counter
  5. Post-it notes
  6. Sharpie
  7. Kitchen scale

Experiment Steps:
1. Collect supplies needed

Experiment supplies

2. Measure combined alpha/beta/gamma radiation from empty Fiestaware pot

54.43uSv/hr of radiation from the Fiestaware pot

3. Add 42g of Hard Red Wheat berries to Fiestaware pot and measure radiation again (not the radiation is less because the kernels are shielding some of it)

41.55 uSv/hr of radiation with wheat berries added

4. Repeat the steps for the control wheat berries using a creme brulee dish

5. Measure background radiation of counter top and of bag of wheat berries

Background radiation of counter 0.100uSv/hr
Background radiation of wheat berries 0.100uSv/hr

6.  Wait two weeks, then check weights of wheat berries and radioactivity of wheat berries both inside and outside of their respective containers, making note of any anomalies

Preview of part 2:

I will germinate both the irradiated sample, and the control sample using identical non-radioactive dishes.  Compare samples grown.  Repeat experiment with a one-month irradiation sample

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