Hermitage Schools Plant Science Competition – 2017 Update

The Hermitage Schools Plant Science Competition is on again in 2017! It runs from the start of 2017 to the end of term 2. Below is some information on the planned experiments. For more information, contact Kerrie Rubie on kerrie.rubie @daf.qld.gov.au, or register your interest online at https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/plants/field-crops-and-pastures/research/hermitage-competition/register.


Task 1 (mandatory yrs P-12):  Step by step experiment:  ‘What type of soils do plants prefer’ – hands-on experiment growing corn/radishes/beans in various different soil types (eg, sand, black, red, potting mix, etc)

Task 2 (mandatory yrs P-12):  Design your own soils experiment (based on methods used in Task 1) – ideas include:

  • Different rates of fertilizer (normal, half, double strength) and how this affects plant growth
  • Different types of fertilizers: organic (seaweed, fish emulsion) v’s inorganic (Miracle Gro etc.) and how this affects plant growth
  • Growing plants at different soil pH levels and measuring the soil pH (kits are available at hardware stores for this).
  • How do different levels of nutrients (N,P,K) affect plant growth?
  • Hydroponics v’s soil (differences in plant growth)
  • Salinity (adding different rates of salt to soils) and how this affects plant growth
  • Earthworm/soil creatures study
  • Compost studies

Task 3 (mandatory yrs 7-12, optional yrs P-6):  Design a Video, Poster, Power Point Presentation (or other Social Media presentation), suitable as an educational tool for your own year level, covering the following subjects:

  • The Global importance of soils for food security, agriculture, as well as in mitigation of climate change, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development.
  • Threats to these resources arising from population growth and development
  • Strategies to improve and manage these threats

Task 4 (optional yrs P-12):  “A Day in the Life of Soils” role-play card game (instructions & printable cards will be emailed)

Task 5 (optional yrs P-12): Create a soils mind map/web/diorama.


Art in AgRiculTure Awards :-

Task:  ‘Future Earth’ – create a 2D artwork (using soils/substrates as part of the medium) depicting the National Science Week theme for students ‘Future Earth – Australia’s Sustainability Science’.  What will agriculture look like over 200 years into the future?  Will our farms/food grow in vertical towers or even up in space, what will water storage look like, how will agricultural practices/machinery change over time, will there be enough food/water to sustain life?


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