Is your child interested in doing a science fair project this year? I think the hardest part might be coming up with an idea. I have some suggestions to get you started. I also have a list of resources that may be helpful to you.
Science Fair Project Ideas
The goal of a science fair project to let students experience how science is done in a hands-on way over time. Often the experiments we do in classrooms are short-lived. They need to be completed within the class period or we just don’t have the space to hold everyone’s long term project. Science fair project entries usually require a format that mimics how science can be done. They often utilize the scientific method to have student’s organize their project. They allow students to be creative and in control. The project ideas I’m suggesting are experiments that we have done with kids. They are ideas to get you started. You’ll want to expand on them and follow the entry rules for your science fair to complete the project.
Banana Experiment – Which will ripen first? Place the banana with different fruits and investigate. You could also test other conditions. What causes bananas to ripen? What speeds up the process?
Which Plant Will Grow the Best? – We tested different soil types to see which plant would grow the tallest. There are a ton of options for plant experiments. What conditions do you want to test? Try one of these ideas – soil type, amount or type of water, amount or type of fertilizer, amount of sunlight, type or color of light, temperature of growing environment, additives (what happens when you add caffeine or sugar or something else to the plant’s soil or water?).
Earthworm Science Experiment – Set up an experiment to test the preferences of an earthworm. Do earthworms prefer wet or dry conditions? Dark or light? What color of light? Do earthworms prefer different surface types? Surface ideas: paper towel, cloth, soil, sandpaper, grass, rocks, etc. Do earthworms prefer certain soil/food types?
Yeast Experiments – Baker’s yeast is an easy organism to work with. Here are some questions to consider when designing a yeast experiment. How does the amount of sugar or yeast affect the amount of carbon dioxide produced? Does the temperature of the water affect the yeast?
Baking Soda and Vinegar – Favorite ingredients of ours. What things react with baking soda? Or you could try vinegar. Can you quantify the reaction? What combination of baking soda and vinegar will produce the greatest amount of carbon dioxide? Are their additives (like soap) that will make the volume of the reaction greater? How can you measure this?
Effect of Temperature – We’ve done this one a couple ways. How does temperature affect how fast candy hearts dissolve? Compare how fast candy canes dissolve in different temperatures of water. What other things could you dissolve?
Pop Rocks – We made a volcano, but you could test what liquids will cause pop rocks to work. Or keep the same liquid and change the amount of pop rocks. Use a balloon and bottle to trap the carbon dioxide produced from the reaction.
Diet Coke and Mentos Soda Geyser Experiment – Another perennial favorite. There are lots of ways to make this classic science experiment your own. We even made rainbow geysers using different colors of soda.
Cars and Blocks Measuring Experiment – Use hot wheels cars and tracks to determine how far the cars can push blocks. Lots of variables to work with here. Change the car type/weight, the number of blocks, or the track itself.
Build a Lemon Battery – Create a simple circuit and explore what fruits will work to conduct electricity.
Egg Drop Experiment – Egg drop experiments are pretty popular and they may be a bit overdone so maybe not the best choice for winning a science fair. They are, however, a great introduction to science experimental design and engineering for kids. This post has lots of suggestions for how to design the experiment.
Melting Ice Experiment – Which surfaces conduct/transfer heat more easily? We compared metal, plastic, glass, and paper to see which makes a better conductor of heat.
Color and Temperature Experiment – Investigate how how different colors affect heat absorption. This one is easy enough for preschoolers to set up, but you can expand the experiment and explain the underlying physics concepts with older students.
Three Bears Porridge Experiment. Why is baby bear’s bowl of porridge “just right” when it’s in the smallest bowl? Set up an experiment to find out.
Science Fair Project Resources
Steve Spangler Science
*affiliate links are included below for Steve Spangler Science*
Steve Spangler Science has a ton of science fair project supplies, kits, and ideas. Visit Steve Spangler Science today. You can download a free copy of Steve’s Helpful Science Fair Projects Guide. He walks you through how to design and conduct a project using his favorite Diet Coke and Mentos experiment. There are also tips for creating the display board and preparing for the presentation.
Steve Spangler Science recommends their science project kits and experiments for up to 8th grade but you could modify them for more advanced grades. Take the ideas and make them your own.
Here are a few sample kits you might be interested in:
Oil Spill Polymer Kit – Design a project to investigate the polymer powder environmental scientists rely on to absorb oil spills.
Growing Bacteria Kit – This is their most popular all-inclusive Science Fair Experiment using easy-to-make nutrient agar.
Geyser Rocket Car – Make a soda powered car with this cool kit.
I like how Science Buddies has organized their science fair project ideas. They have a topic selection wizard where you can enter your timeline and grade. Then, take a science interest survey to help you choose a topic. You can also take a look at all of the 1150+ project ideas organized by science area and topic plus they too have some projects with kits already made.
What are your favorite resources for science fair projects? Is your child participating in a science fair this year?
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