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Science Project Ideas
By Dr. Michael
Director of the
South Central South Dakota Science and Engineering Fair
page is for busy teachers to hand out to their students.
Its ideas should excite kids from grades 6-12.
Many commercial devices, kits, and instruments are included; one can
order nearly everything on-line for less than $20.00.
I selected the websites and the merchandise based on quality and
of the planets and lots more with
Build a low-power scope from Edmund
for $12.95 or do
it yourself (with video).
Build a sundial by again going to 3-D
paper models. Then test it.
Given the distance to the Sun, calculate its size here
or here or
Is a harvest moon really super-large?
Take pictures and explain the moon
trails and .
into a hubcap!
Show how Native
American constellations relate to the European ones.
Are band members more interested in mathematics than non-musicians? Begin
Can you tell the sex of a person from looking at pictures of their bare
Do people notice shape
or color first on “non-standard” playing cards?
Does aging reduce your night
vision? If you wish to read an
in-depth article go here.
How does age affect your reflexes, in particular the time to dribble
a ping-pong ball?
Investigate the Stroop
Effect. Reading “red” in
blue ink is slower than “red” in red ink.
do the police arrest more frequently for speeding?
is more likely to run a stop sign? Contact
us for a full report.
Which state collects the most
lottery money per resident? How
can you explain that data?
Buy a Tickle
Me Plant from Edmund
Scientific for $4.95 and explain its weird activities.
Milton’s Ant Farm for $13.99 and record
their behavior. Go here
Buy Triops Dinosaur Shrimp for $3.99
and report on their life cycle. Experiments
Can an ultraviolet
light bulb be used to prevent
Catch spiders and study them with a $14.95 Spider
Catcher from Edmund
Catch, photograph, and catalog all insects in a square meter of soil with
chicken’s heartbeat while it is still within its eggshell.
Contact us for the full report.
loads of fossil
shark teeth you can buy for
$13.95 or find free in nearby river beds.
Is it true that moths
prefer an ultraviolet
light bulb to bulbs of other colors?
Study Butterflies with a Live Butterfly Garden
Switch birdseed color in this easy $10.00 feeder
and see which color birds prefer.
promote plant growth? Buy
Does the soil from anthills
act as a fertilizer? Do plants grow
better next to them?
Find a tree stump and analyze its
rings. Here’s another good
tree ring site.
Grow plants in a rock
tumbler or clinostat to
simulate zero gravity. You might try
How close can another plant grow to a sweet
potato (which poisons the soil)?
Is seed weight related to plant weight?
It seems to work for peaches.
See us for more.
Is the growth rate of radish
seeds affected by temperature?
What factors cause orange juice to loose Vitamin
C? Here’s another
way to make the test.
What happens to a plant as you cover up its leaf area?
(Use many plants.)
What percent of
various fruits is water? More
Why and how do trees differ?
How many types are in your area? Use
Will plants grow better in plain water or in water leached many times
through rich soil?
Can you paint a picture using only Native
American pigments? Here’s
Find the pH of household liquids with “Cabbage
Juice” for $9.95. Or make
Grow colorful Rock
Candy Crystals for $9.95. Model
the sugar crystal. Or grow salt.
How does the dissolving rate of Alka-Seltzer
depend on warmth (and other experiments)?
Separate colors in marker pens or colored drinks with chromatography.
Use $9.95 goldenrod
paper to classify household products as acidic or basic.
Weigh water as it evaporates. How
does adding salt affect the evaporation
composites stronger than solid wood?
Build a $6.95
Seltzer-Powered Rocket and make it
fly higher it with hot
water, and so on.
Build a hovercraft but first look through all
the possible plans here. Look
at this one!
Build a pantograph.
Learn more here.
Build a solar oven and cook a whole day’s worth of meals in it.
Explore this site.
Build a Stringless
Wonder, Fantastic Rubber Powered Kite for $9.95 and evaluate it.
Build an Ultra-Capacitor
Car from a kit for $11.83.
Buy an Electric
Plane Launcher for $15.99 and test paper
light show the stresses
in an airplane windows?
Can the famous drinking
bird be made to turn a wheel? Here
is how it works.
baseball bats cause the ball to travel farther?
How can you build an electric
magnet? For a great one, click
here. Video is here.
How does the output of a solar cell change with sun angle?
What are the costs of running a small engine on ethanol
and other fuels?
Which bridge type is
stronger: arch, truss, spanning? Popsicle
Which common building materials are best to insulate
a house? How good are they?
an electric motor kit for $4.95. Build
it yourself. Then make better motors.
and identify commercial fabrics with a $ 7.75 Multifiber
Compare fingerprints with 50 real FBI Fingerprint
Cards for $13.25.
Identify minerals in Florescent
Rocks Grab Bag for $7.95 with $17.50 UV
light. Then go on.
Locate earthquakes on a map or a globe. Explain them.
Use the USGS
Locate local river
contamination sites by using Google Earth.
all 4 volcano types:
cinder-cone, shield, composite, and lava domes.
Decipher the Babylonian number system.
Use it to read a clay tablet here
Describe the number patterns in Pascal’s
How often will two
dice roll a particular combination?
Make a non-round
wheel and find a use for it. More
here and lots
Make your own magic squares and explain how they work.
or here, or here.
Multiply number by the clever rods called Napier’s Bones either here
or here or
What methods did Native tribes use for counting?
Did they differ between tribes?
Will spinning a penny rather than tossing it change the odds?
Apparently it is
Build a cloud
chamber and photograph subatomic particles.
See the movie here.
Build each one of the six
simple machines. Also look here
or here or here.
a permanent magnet diminish its strength?
Can this project be improved?
Does the period of a pendulum
depend on weight, amplitude, or length?
Does the shape of a clay object affect its speed through a tube
Explain why a disk
rolls downhill faster than a ring. Commercial
products are here
Find the density of small objects with Archimedes
Balance for $13.95.
Find the speed of sound with a starter
pistol and a stopwatch.
For a catapult
what is the relationship between weight tossed and distance?
paper ($9.95) to record crystal growth, magnetic fields, etc..
Weigh water (or some other liquid). How
area affect its evaporation rate?
Which colored water heats up faster in the sun?
For a rapid thermometer,
this seems best.
How does the bounce
in golf balls translate into distance?
Build a tornado
in a box. How does water
temperature affect its performance?
Buy a $10.99 Globe
Barometer Glass and use it to predict the weather.
Buy a hygrometer
and use it to predict the weather. (Also
Does the drinking
bird act as a hygrometer? A deep
explanation is here.
Measure rainfall with a $14.95 Professional
Rain Gauge. Use with
Measure snowfall with a $12.95 Snow
Gauge. Use with barometer,
Photograph snowflakes; it is tough. Here’s
way. Here’s a cheaper
Photograph the clouds in the sky and identify them on a chart.
Here or here
Which of these ancient
weather proverbs may be true?