Kids & Parenting

Science fair project ideas

By Mark Winter
Info Guru,

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Consider these ideas when you need a winning science fair project.
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There are so many choices for science fair projects.

Science fairs are a tradition at many schools. The goal is to get kids thinking in new ways and not just have mom and dad put something together for them. By picking a project that is within the child's capabilities, the whole family can have a great experience.

Projects are usually shown off at the science fair with some kind of display or poster. Sometimes the display is the whole project, while other times it shows the result of an actual experiment. Review the rules of your fair to determine which type of project to do.

Display project ideas

Here are some science fair project ideas that are mostly just displays. Creativity can still be shown in the way the display looks.

- how doorbells work - shells and the animals that live in them - what type of fuel runs these devices - how heat can produce electricity - staying safe from fire - how the utility company makes electricity - cloud types and what they mean - a map of last year's hurricanes and tropical storms - how to weave and sew - how electromagnetism works - how deep is the ocean - how digital cameras work - looking at outer space - glass and its uses - model airplanes or cars - how traffic signals work and why it takes so long for them to change - what lives inside a cave - how tin cans are made - parts of an electric motor - rocks and minerals - a home weather station - the solar system - the phases of the moon - how to grow sweet corn - causes and prevention of soil erosion - how to take fingerprints

Experimental project ideas

These science fair project ideas are for more advanced students. They require actually conducting an experiment and then making a display to show the process as well as the results. In doing any experiment be sure to follow good safety practices, especially if you are working with fire or chemicals.

When doing projects like these, it is important to keep careful records of what you did all along the way as well as what the results were. At some fairs you will be graded partly on those records. Some advanced science fair project ideas are:

- how electric current is affected by the material conducting it - how do fluorescent lights compare with standard bulbs in providing light and in their cost for the same illumination - how do metals compare in conducting heat or in density and buoyancy - how does the amount of oxygen affect how fast different substances burn? - how do airplanes fly? What is the best wing shape? What other factors are involved? - how do magnets work? How are they made? - how does a candle change as it burns? - how does salt change the freezing and boiling points of water and other liquids? - as day length changes, what effect does it have on plants and pets? - is there a difference in temperature in the air on the floor and near the ceiling of your house? Does the temperature vary from one room to another? - how does temperature change throughout the day outdoors? What time of day is the warmest? Does that change from one day to the next? What factors are involved? - how does a rain gauge work? Build your own rain gauge and measure the rainfall over a period of time. Are your results the same as with the local weather report? Why might they be different? - grow seeds of the same type under different conditions. Expose some to music, others to TV and some to nothing as a control. What was the difference in how they grew? - observe wildlife in your yard. How are they affected by weather changes? - build a working volcano

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