Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Claire: The Pulse of the Planet daily radio program offers free legal online mp3 downloads, exploring the world of sound in nature, culture and science, with audio adventures, world music, extraordinary sound portraits, science diaries, and nature ring-tones; an amazing sonic experience.

Airdate: Jun 09, 2009
Scientist: Claire Dworsky

Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Claire

Kids' Science Challenge: Winners - Claire
Does artificial turf pollute more than a grass field during a rainstorm? Only one way to find out!


music; ambience Claire playing soccer

“Get it Claire; get it, get it!”

JM: Claire Dworsky started playing soccer when she was 3 years old. Now she’s in the 3rd grade, and her experiences on the soccer field led her to enter the Kids’ Science Challenge. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. In Claire’s California neighborhood, there’s been a shift from grass fields to artificial turf, and when the rain hit the turf, it got Claire thinking.

CD: “And I look down, and I see that there’s water, this turf water compared to grass water, looks different, and so that’s why I’m trying to figure out what’s going on.”

JM: Claire proposed testing water runoff from both grass and artificial turf, to see if there’s a difference. Her idea took top honors in the Kids’ Science Challenge water category, and she’ll meet with oceanographer Adina Paytan to test dozens of samples from different fields. Until then, Claire has made a few observations.

JM: “How does it look different; how would you describe the difference, Claire?”
CD: “Well, I the grass field is a little more whiter. And the turf field is a little bit more darker.
JM: “Any idea what you think it could be?”
CD: “I think inside the turf water there’s rubber. And in the grass water there’s probably a little bit of germs. Does the turf field pollute more than the grass field?”
JM: “And what do you think? Do you think it does or not?”
CD: “I, personally I don’t think so.”

JM: To find out if turf fields pollute more than grass fields, log on to and follow Claire as she and Adina Paytan analyze water samples to come up with some answers.

Pulse of the Planet’s Kids’ Science Challenge is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.