Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rhizotrons and Scanners!

Buried scanner showing comparison of root growth with and without fertilizer.
The word "Rhizotron" is an amazing sounding word by itself, today I stumbled across a group that have been burying mini-rhizotron scanners!

Jared Williams and Rob Mikkelsen started doing this years ago with their students and have put together a great presentation on it.

A few of his observations I found interesting:
  • Use of technology in this way is more engaging to students.
    • Students are so excited they end up sharing results on their own Facebook accounts. 
  • He covers the basic build process in a way that can easily be done inside a classroom.
    • My current implementation has been buried outside. This provides different opportunities, but comes with a number of additional obstacles / difficulties.
  • Experimenting with the affects of fertilizer on root/plant growth
    • This is awesome. Being able to watch the difference both above and below ground.

Also, unrelated to above but amazing to watch:

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