A group of Texas 4-H eighth-graders from Lake Dallas Middle School spent part of the last two months with Texas A&M AgriLife Research scientists learning to create artificial environments for plant growth.
The 15 students’ “in vitro” experiments over 60 days were part of a collaboration among AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which administers the 4-H youth development program in Texas, and Lake Dallas Independent School District.
In vitro refers to experimentation in a controlled environment, as opposed to within an organism or natural setting. The studies took place in the new laboratories of the Texas A&M AgriLife Center at Dallas.
The students learned to establish and maintain their plants. Each media included different levels of sucrose and plant hormones, and students observed effects of varying amounts of each on plant growth, development and potato tuber formation.
The projects’ goals were to demonstrate emerging technologies in plant production for an increasingly tech-savvy generation of students.
The students selected to participate in the experiments are part of an advanced math and science cluster at Lake Dallas Middle School. Their plan is to create tissue culture shelves at school and to instruct their peers in conducting similar studies, explained Randall Caldwell, the school’s principal.
Student Naomi Kitamura said the experiments satisfied some of her general curiosity with new understandings about current and advancing agricultural technologies.
Through the application of science-based knowledge, AgriLife Extension creates high-quality, relevant continuing education that encourages lasting and effective change.