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By the end of the two-week trip, the car was packed with tap-water samples from more than two dozen cities, stored in airtight, leak-proof containers. As a growing amount of trunk space was sacrificed to the collection, Nashila’s father began to wonder what was going to become of all this water. What he might not have guessed was that Nashila planned to throw a buttercrunch lettuce seed into each of the samples, then watch what happened.
“It was actually a fun experiment,” she says. “Lettuce seeds are a good indicator of the quality of water. If there are any pollutants in the water, the roots will be smaller.”