Documentation must be submitted on the official documentation form. Documentation should be written in complete sentences with correct spelling and grammar. All information requested below must be included in the documentation in order to receive full credit. Each section of the documentation will be evaluated independently; therefore, complete responses within each section are required. Documentation will be scored as follows:
- Sending documentation on time. (5 pts)
- Seed Documentation (5 pts) – Clearly indicate the cultivar name. Describe how or where the seed was obtained. Describe what criteria were considered when selecting the seed; this could include agronomic traits, logistical considerations, or economic factors.
- Rooting Medium (18 pts) – Clearly describe the following four items:
- Where and how the medium was obtained
- The physical and chemical composition of the medium, including results of any analyses performed
- Criteria used to select the medium (i.e., why the medium was selected)
- How the choices of rooting medium affected plant growth.
- Growth Amendments (18 pts) – All growth amendments used must be completely described, including the analysis of fertilizers, the time of application, and the method of application. Contestants should describe why they choose to use (or not use) soil amendments and how their choice affected plant growth. Every effort should be made to link the specific practice or choice of amendments to a specific plant response.
- Lighting and Temperature (18 pts) - Describe the lighting and temperature environment used to grow your plant. Include such things as light intensity, daylight duration, and temperature control. Even if light and temperature were not controlled, include a description of the light duration and temperature fluctuations that occurred. Relate your lighting and temperature to the optimum conditions for soybean growth. Describe how your choices affected soybean growth.
- Water (18 pts) - Describe how often the soybean plants were watered, the amount of water applied, and the methods used to ensure accurate water application. Discuss what criteria were used in determining frequency and amount of water applied. Discuss effects of your choices on plant growth, including physiological plant responses to the imposed, or intended, moisture status.
- Scientific Method (18 pts) – The scientific method is an organized process to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments. This includes six steps. The following questions correspond to each step in the scientific method and responses to these questions should be included in the documentation.
- What questions did you consider prior to the start date that dealt with something you could measure?
- What background research did you do regarding your questions in Part 1?
- What was your hypothesis? (If ___[I do this]___, then ___[this]___ will happen.)
- How was your experiment designed to be a fair test of your hypothesis?
- How did you collect and analyze data to see if your hypothesis was true or false?
- Include a summary statement that would communicate your results to others. For a review of the scientific method, visit Science Buddies.