Phipps’ EcoFamilies Share Their Research!
Oct 10

Phipps’ EcoFamilies Share Their Research!

By Dr. Maria Wheeler-Dubas, Research and Science Education Outreach Coordinator

“And look—we made less trash!”

The six year old eagerly pointed to a graph on his poster, noting his family’s decline in their weekly amount of trash produced.

“So what does that mean?” the visitor to his poster asked.

“It means the cloth diapers work!”

Six year old Charlie and his family were part of Phipps’ pilot run of the program EcoFamilies, and yesterday, they presented their research projects at a science fair in Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes classroom. EcoFamilies is one of the newest Phipps classes from the Research and Science Education Department, and it is unique in that it was designed for the participation of the whole family. Each class of the four-part course focuses on a different stage of the scientific research process, and throughout the duration of the course, the families put their new skills to work by conducting a research project at home.  Yesterday’s science fair showed the fruits of their labor!

For this science fair, the families in the course all presented a poster of the research projects they had worked on over the past four weeks. Charlie’s family project focused on weighing out their weekly household trash and recycling amounts and monitoring the change once they switched from disposable diapers to reusable cloth diapers. Charlie’s hypothesis had been that the weekly weight of trash would go down, and by the end of the course, he could say that his hypothesis was supported by their data. Yesterday at the science fair, as Phipps staff, other families, and visitors checked out his poster, he could tell each new person about his project—and his presentation style grew more animated every time!

Other projects at the science fair included monitoring weather for the month of September, testing out plant growth in varying sunlight, and early results from beginning to compost at home. At each poster, the young researchers, ranging in age from six to ten years old, stood at the ready to share their results with each new person who walked by. All of them had rehearsed their presentations, and were proud of their excellent projects! Check out their work below:

If you missed this first round of EcoFamilies, be sure to keep a look out for it in the spring! The class will be offered for whole families with children ages 8 and up. If you have any questions, email Maria Wheeler-Dubas at