Experiment – Learn, Fail, Repeat!
Why are science fairs important? What makes the science fair process valuable?
Well, Science Fairs are a good way to ignite curiosity about this time-honored tradition. First and foremost, WHY do we ask our students to work on a science fair project year after year? The answer, in a nutshell, is to help them learn how to think like scientists. Scientists find answers to questions that interest them. In other words, students simply need to ask themselves, what do I want to know more about?
The key to a successful project is for the student to choose a topic that is meaningful to him or her. It shouldn’t be a flat, academic exploration — it should connect to the student’s own life interests. Perhaps the topic might be related to cooking, sports, or even advertising. For instance, have you ever see a commercial and wondered if the claims are really true? How permanent are permanent ink markers? Does the absence of a basketball net affect free throw accuracy? Finding answers to questions like these can motivate thinking like a scientist from a young age.
Now, the most obvious question that comes to one’s mind is What should I do for my science fair project? We’ve opted to share some uncommon ideas in the hopes that they’ll spark even greater curiosity in students. Spend some time reviewing the cues on this page. You’re sure to find some amazing new ideas.
Uncommon Ideas for a Science Fair Project
Students can use these ideas as a starting point for coming up with their own projects:
- In what ways do different types of fertilizers affect plant growth?
- How does soil pH affect the pH of water that touches the soil?
- Does soil type change how well crops grow?
- What happens to the way plants grow if there are no microorganisms in the soil?
There’s an enormous list of chemistry science fair project ideas. some examples:
Acids, Bases & pH – There are chemistry projects relating to acidity and alkalinity, which can be presented even at primary levels.
Crystals – Crystals can be considered geology, physical science, or chemistry. Topics range in level from play grade school to college.
General Chemistry – There is a broad collection of different types of science fair projects relating to chemistry.
Green Chemistry – Green chemistry seeks to minimize the environmental impact of chemistry. It’s a good topic for pre – primary and middle school students.
Plant & Soil Chemistry – Plant and soil science projects often require a bit more time than other projects, but all students have access to the materials.
Science Projects in Energy – There’s a heap of energy science activity ideas available on the internet.
Renewable Energy Science Projects – Science ideas in renewable energy and energy conservation are other good topics that never go out of context.
Fire, Candles & Combustion – Explore combustion science. Because fire is involved, these projects are best for middle school and higher grade levels. Although, some safe, pre-primary level projects can be set up with parental monitoring.
Undoubtedly, one of the most popular topics for science project presentations! Environmental science projects cover ecology, assessing environmental health, and finding ways to solve problems. Some cues:
- Can you use gray water (water that has been used for bathing or washing) to water your plants? Does it matter what type of soap you used for your cleaning? Are some plants more tolerant of gray water than others?
- How does the presence of soap or detergent in water affect seed germination and plant growth?
- What effect does the presence of phosphates have, if any, on the oxygen level of water in a pond?
- Does the pH of rain or other precipitation (snow) vary according to season?
- Is the pH of rain the same as the pH of soil?
- What organisms can you use as indicator organisms to alert you to a dangerous environmental condition in the environment?
- How does an oil spill affect marine life?
- Are carbon filters as effective with chlorinated or fluoridated water as they are with water that does not contain chlorine or fluoride?
Believe it or not, food—and cooking—involves a great deal of science! Plus, it’s a topic that many students can appreciate even if they’re not interested in the usual scientific fields. Researching products and understanding how people select them is an interesting science fair topic for students who might not ordinarily enjoy science.
You can use these questions to help trigger more food-related science fair ideas:
- Does eating hot or spicy food change your body temperature?
- Can chewing mint gum or using mouthwash really chill your mouth?
- Will chilling an onion before cutting it keep you from crying?
- If you shake up different kinds or brands of soft drinks (e.g., carbonated), will they all spew the same amount?
- Salt & Sugar – Salt and Sugar are two ingredients anyone should be able to find. Which of them increases the conductivity of tap water best? What happens if you change the concentration of the solution?
- Do the same types of mold grow on all types of bread?
- Does light affect the rate at which food spoils?
- Will foods containing preservatives stay fresh longer than foods without them?
- How does time or season of harvest affect the chemistry and nutritional content of food?
- Does exposure to light affect the amount of vitamin C in juice?
- Can you use a household water filter to remove flavor or color from other liquids?
- Does the power of a microwave affect how well it makes popcorn?
- The Salt and Sugar test – The two most commonly used household ingredients that look similar but taste different.
- Experiments with everyday objects to tickle the Five Senses
Materials science involves physical science and engineering. Science fair projects can invent new materials, improve existing materials, test the properties of materials, or compare the suitability of different materials for a specific purpose. Here’s a look at some science fair project ideas in this field of research.
- Which material is best at resisting corrosion?
- Compare the strengths of various types of paper towels.
- Which type of fabric survives repeated machine washing the best?
- Compare the effectiveness of different types of sunscreen products.
- Which chemicals produce the most corrosion on a particular material?
- What processes can increase the strength of metals?
- Which type of wood burns the most slowly? Which produces the most heat when burned?
- Is one type of glue the strongest?
- Magnets and Magnetism – Explore magnetism and compare different types of magnets with these project ideas.
- Plastics & Polymers – Plastics and polymers aren’t as complicated and confusing as you might think. These projects may be considered a branch of chemistry or material science.
Science Fairs or projects have a clear motive of instilling the values of creativity, perseverance, and consistency in the children. Encourage participation in Science Fairs wherein young scientific minds can get hands-on and present their creative projects. Let children explore, discover and learn new concepts of science.
If you are in Hyderabad, check out Sciencibition – a Science Fair for children.