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					SCIENCE MENTORSHIP PROGRAMMES (SMPs) 2010
PROJECT PROPOSAL BY STUDENTS
Project No. SPP-10rgs11 ___________________________________________________________________________

To Be Filled in by Student Applicant
NAMES OF APPLICANT(S) Name Group Leader Member 2 Member 3 Andrea Koo Wanqi Dawne Lim Wan Yi Evangelyn Koh Sihui Class 213 213 205 Email akoowq@hotmail.com dawne_lim@hotmail.com evangelyn_koh@hotmail.com HP No. 9195 1217 9007 1711 9147 5797

Pupil Application Forms Submitted: Yes SCHOOL Raffles Girls’ School (Secondary) TITLE OF PROJECT How effective is your hand sanitizer?

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SUMMARY OF PROJECT Problem/Question

With the emphasis on personal hygiene, it is inevitable for the use of hand sanitizers, as it is not only effective but also convenient, when the option of the use of water and soap to wash our hands is not available. Also, it is known that hand sanitizers are less damaging to the skin as they contain built in emollients. However, with the large variety of brands to choose from in the market, how do we decide on the best one? Well, one of the factors that influence our choice would definitely be the effectiveness of the hand sanitizer; how many germs it kills. This study will determine the most effective brand of hand sanitizer in terms of germs killed, as different brands use different concentrations of alcohol. From prior research, we know that hand sanitizers work by disrupting the bacteria’s cell-membrane with the use of alcohol. The effectiveness of the hand sanitizer would be based on the percentage of isopropanol alcohol in the hand sanitizer. Though isopropanol alcohol is the ingredient that kills microbial cells, it does not necessarily mean that 100% concentration of it is the most effective. If water is added into the hand sanitizer, it will improve penetration. Knowing this, what is the ideal alcohol concentration? According to an article in The New York Times, health officials deem 60% alcohol concentration in hand sanitizers as the bare minimum required to kill most harmful bacteria and viruses. Sanitizing products containing less than 60% alcohol are not effective, as they do not contain enough alcohol to kill germs. Also, the ideal concentration is said to range from 60-95%. (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/21/health/21cons.html?_r=1) Knowing this, is 60%-95% the ideal range of alcohol concentration in hand sanitizers? Are hand sanitizers with less than 60% alcohol concentration not effective? The option of using hand soap and water to wash our hands is also said to be more effective than hand sanitizers, and we will test out this saying as well. The results of this study will affect many groups of people. Consumers will be affected as to their choice of hand sanitizer to purchase; hand sanitizer producers will know where their product stands in the market. The authorities would also be influenced in their choice of sanitizing products for public areas. Thus, the results of this study are quite influential. Moreover, this study can be extended to find out whether hand sanitizer is effective in killing 99.9% of the bacteria. We believe that though most hand sanitizing companies advertise themselves for killing 99.9% of the bacteria, there is a hidden message behind the asterisk, in the small print. This study will look into each brand of hand sanitizer, comparing between them and finding the most effective one.

Hypothesis/Engineering Goals

At least 60% of alcohol is required in the hand sanitizer to be effective to kill germs.
Methodology 1. Background research

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Use of related books, internet sources and research papers previously done by recognized parties to understand the differences between different kinds of hand sanitizer and which is more effective in killing germs - Find out how hand sanitizers work and the factors which affect the effectiveness of the hand sanitizer LIMITATION: Sources may have a certain amount of biasness and may not be reliable. HOW TO OVERCOME IT: We can overcome it by approaching a wide variety of sources to increase the level of reliability. Also, we can use sources which are not meant to promote products, but instead provide information.
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2. Experiment We would want to collect data from experiments performed on the effect of hand sanitizer on bacteria. The following experiment will provide data on the ideal concentration of alcohol in hand sanitizers to effectively kill bacteria. a. Prepare six agar plates of growth medium of the same size (length and area) b. Place both hands on two agar plates after rubbing hands with hand sanitizer with 60%-95% of alcohol. c. Place both hands on two agar plates after rubbing hands with hand sanitizer with less than 60% of alcohol. d. Place both hands on two agar plates after washing hands with water and hand soap for 1 minute using the
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same technique and strength. Keep the agar plates in the same conditions (temperature, humidity) Let the bacteria multiply and observe the difference in the amount of the bacteria on the agar plates if any. If the agar plates in part b. have more bacteria than that in part c., it would mean that a range of 60%-95% of alcohol concentration in hand sanitizer is not more effective than a concentration of below 60% to kill bacteria on hands. h. If the agar plates in part c. have more bacteria than that in part b., it would mean that a range of 60%-95% of alcohol concentration in hand sanitizer is more effective than a concentration of below 60% to kill bacteria on hands. i. If the agar plates in part d. have less bacteria than that in parts b. and c., it would mean that the use of water and hand soap is more effective in killing bacteria on hands than hand sanitizer. j. If the agar plates in part d. have more bacteria than that in parts b. and c., it would mean that the use of water and hand soap is less effective in killing bacteria on hands than hand sanitizer. k. Repeat steps a. to f. 2 times to ensure that the results obtained after steps g. to j. are reliable. e. f. g.
CATEGORY
(Tick appropriate category)

Chemistry Biochemistry Botany Microbiology Zoology

Environmental Science Medicine & Health DNA Science Space Science

Computer Science Physics Mathematics Engineering:

Total No. of Projects Applied: 1

Date Submitted: 13 December 2009

This project is ranked 1 in my/our order of preference (“1” being highest).

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To Be Filled in by Mentor
NAME(S) OF MENTOR(S): Asst Prof / Assoc Prof/ Prof / Ms / Mdm / Mrs / Mr (Please include name(s) of postgraduate student(s) if they will be the direct supervisor of the SMP pupils) DEPARTMENT: TELEPHONE: E-MAIL: CATEGORY
(Tick appropriate category)

Chemistry Biochemistry Botany Microbiology Zoology

Environmental Science Medicine & Health DNA Science Space Science

Computer Science Physics Mathematics Engineering:

This Project Involves*: Non-human Vertebrate Animals Controlled/Hazardous Substances Pathogens Recombinant DNA Animal Tissue *Approval granted by my institution’s Review Board/Committee: Yes

AVAILABLE TIME FOR CONSULTATION/MEETING WITH STUDENTS
(If possible, indicate the day of the week for which they can work in the lab)

Attachment period for students: Jan – May (3 hours per week); 1st 2 weeks of June (full time)

REMARKS

Is this the first time you are participating in this mentorship programme? Yes No Would you like the successful pupil participants to contact you during the Nov/Dec break? Yes No

Note:
1. Kindly avoid projects involving human subjects, as the pupil participants are not ready for such projects. 2. *For projects involving non-human vertebrate animals, controlled substances, pathogens, recombinant DNA and animal tissue, approval by your institution’s Review Board/Committee is required. Please consult your SMP Co-ordinator regarding guidelines for approval. (URL for details: http://www.societyforscience.org/isef/document/completerules2010.pdf) 3. For Defence Science Programme – Pupil participants must hold Singapore citizenship.

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4. Workplan for 2009/2010:  Oct - Nov 2009 : Submission of Project Proposals  Nov - Dec 2009: Selection and Allocation of Projects  Dec 2009/Jan 2010 : First meeting with mentee(s)  Jan 2010 – May 2010 : Pupil attachment (3 hours per week)  First 2 weeks of June : Pupil attachment (full time)  July 2010: Vetting pupils’ research paper  23 July 2010 : Submission of research paper to respective institutional coordinators  7 Sep 2010: SMP Poster Judging for SMP projects  18 Sep 2010: 16th Youth Science Conference 5. (Engineering Project) Proposed Criteria:  Does the project have a clear objective?  Is the objective relevant to the potential user’s needs?  Is the solution workable, acceptable to the potential user, economically feasible?  Could the solution be utilized successfully in design or construction of an end product?  Is the solution a significant improvement over previous alternatives?  Has the solution been tested for performance under the conditions of use?

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