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Leighton Thompson

I.A # 5
Plan and Design

Problem Statement: Your friend has an aquarium in his restaurant but notices that
the pondweed that he has growing in it is not doing well. He had rigged up special
green lights to create an atmosphere and is puzzled as to why his fish are dying.
Plan and design an experiment to convince him that he needs to alter the lighting
for his aquarium.
Hypothesis: Pondweed photosynthesize in blue light better than green light.
Aim: To Investigate the effect of different wavelength on the rate of photosynthesis
in pondweed.
Apparatus/Materials: electric lamp, colour filter, sodium bicarbonate, stopwatch,
pondweed, forceps, glass beaker, a metre rule, water bath, thermometer, razor,
boiling tube.
Method: 1. Submerge the pondweed sprig into the boiling tube with water.
2. Add a small amount of sodium carbonate to the boiling tube then place
the boiling tube in
the water bath.
3. Place the water bath 30 cm away from the light source.
4. Place the blue colour filter over the light source the leave the pondweed
to acclimatize for 3
5. The total number of bubbles per minute (for 3 consecutive minute)
should be counted.
6. Tabulate the results.
7. Repeat steps 1-6 using a green colour filter to cover the light source
instead of the blue
Independent Variable: Wavelength of light
Dependent Variable: Rate of Photosynthesis
Controlled Variable: Distance of light source from plant, light intensity, sodium
bicarbonate concentration, temperature
Expected Results:
Wavelength of

Number of bubbles evolved per minute


Minute 1

Minute 2

Minute 3


Discussion: Photosynthesis is the process by which plants use the energy from
sunlight to produce glucose from carbon dioxide and water in the presence of
chlorophyll. Photosynthesis occurs in the chloroplasts. Photosynthetic rate can be
affected by light intensity, carbon dioxide concentration ad temperature.
Chlorophyll in chloroplasts is responsible for absorbing the different wavelength of
Chlorophyll absorbs some wavelengths of light better than some. Blue wavelength
is the most absorbed while green is mostly reflected. As a result plants in the
presence of blue light respires at a faster rate than plants in green light and this can
be observed by the number of bubbles produced.

Data Analysis: If the number of bubbles produced is more in blue light than green
light then the hypothesis is correct. However if the number of bubbles produced in
blue light is less than green light the hypothesis is rejected.

Precautions: The pondweed sprig should be cut underwater. Sodium bicarbonate

should be added to the boiling tube to prevent carbon dioxide from becoming a
limiting factor.
Limitations: Human reaction time when timing the bubbles evolved could affect the
time.The size of the oxygen bubbles could differ, hence affecting the results. Also
the experiment is not carried out in a completely dark room so ambient light could
affect the rate of photosynthesis.