Capstone Showcase

Explore a showcase of our best student productions

Thomas, Grade 9

Beijing, China 

Title: Superworms and the Future

An investigation of superworms and their potential use for breaking down plastic to help the environment.

The consumption and use of plastics has dramatically increased with the world population at an alarming rate. In fact, there are approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic waste estimated to be in our oceans, weighing around 269,000 tons.1 The most abundant types of plastics are polyethylene (PE) and polystyrene (PS), which makes up 90% of the trash in the oceans. Currently, there’s no common practice being implemented to tackle the growing plastic waste production that pollutes nature, ultimately creating an abundance of non-biodegradable waste that wrecks havoc on the Earth’s ecosystem.

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My objective was to identify a solution to the increasingly worrying plastic waste buildup in landfills and oceans. In addition, I wanted to evaluate the superworms’ ability to break down different materials like PE and apples. I chose apples because 20% of all the trash in landfills is food, and apples represents the food section of the trash.

William, Grade 9

Beijing, China

Title: The Relationship Between Heat and the Activity of Lizards

Experiments on how changes in temperature affect

The lizard, Diploderma splendidum (丽纹龙蜥), also known as banana split mountain lizard, is usually found in southwestern China. Sex can be identified by observing the stripe on its back. If the stripe is a long stripe without spots on it, it’s a male lizard. Instead, if there are spots between the stripe, it is a female lizard.

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Lizards are ectotherms that rely on energy from the outside R231). (for example, the sunlight) to maintain body temperature. Endotherms such as mammals can maintain body temperature by themselves. Ectotherms do not need to produce their own energy, so their metabolic rates are much lower than endotherms. Due to their low metabolic needs, ectotherms have a significant advantage during the winter months as they can undergo long periods of inactivity.

Metabolism is the process of processing food into usable energy. Glucose is a kind of substance that provides energy to organisms. In an environment with no oxygen, glucose changes into lactate. In an environment with oxygen, the glucose changes into acetyl-CoA, and eventually into carbon dioxide. In lizards, previous papers have found that as the temperature increases, the glucose turnover increases significantly and the lactate turnover decreases insignificantly. The low lactate turnover can benefit the lizards because they need to hibernate in the winter. I predict the lizards would eat more in a warmer environment, and they would eat less food in a cooler environment.