The middle school years are a great time to get excited about science. Now you can start doing in-depth thinking on your own as you develop a science project about a topic that interests you.
All projects should use experimentation to answer a testable question. In other words, use the scientific method. But don't worry—it's not as hard as it sounds!
- For in-depth info on choosing a topic, performing your experiment, and presenting your project, see our free science fair guide (.pdf).
- Browse the Science Fair Supplies category for more project ideas and easy-to-use kits.
Life Science Ideas
- Compare the germination of monocot seeds and dicot seeds. Experiment with different factors, like sunlight, fertilizer or water, that affect germination (seed sprouting) speeds.
- Experiment with how the pH of soil affects plant growth. (Use a soil analyzer.) Develop an experiment that tests the importance of CO2 to plant health.
- Do plants grow differently under different wavelengths of light (like ultraviolet and fluorescent)?
- Design an experiment to discover the effects of abnormal radiation on plant growth, using irradiated seeds that are treated at different radiation levels.
- Use a microscope to study protozoa. (Find them in a local pond, or grow them yourself. To experiment with specific species, purchase a live culture.) How do heat, light, and water pH affect them? You could also do a pond water study to determine the various effects of pollutants on pond life.
- Experiment with the use of antibiotics and common household cleaners to fight bacteria growth. (To grow your own bacteria samples, use agar & petri dishes. For a sample step-by-step procedure and more project ideas, check out our bacteria science project guide. )
- Do bees recognize patterns? Can this help them find their food sources?
- How do ants lead each other to a food source using scent (pheremones)? And what effect does temperature have on ant movement?
- Experiment with Glo Germ gel to develop methods to stop the spread of germs.
- Find more ideas on the biology science projects page.
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Earth Science Ideas
- Experiment with the effects of erosion (by wind, water, ice, or gravity) on different rock or soil types. Does vegetation in the soil slow erosion? See our rock experiments for more erosion ideas.
- Perform an acid test to discover if local minerals contain carbonate compounds, and consider how this might relate to the surrounding plant and animal life.
- Find out how temperature, wind, or humidity affects the rate of evaporation. Does that have any impact on precipitation? (Compare hot and humid to hot and windy or hot and cloudy environments.)
- Sink holes are formed when the rock below the soil is dissolved by ground water. What kind of rock would present the most risk of a sink hole? How might acid rain or chemical waste affect this?
- Experiment with a black light to test for fluorescent minerals. Do minerals fluoresce differently under longwave and shortwave ultraviolet light?
- Find more ideas on the earth science projects page.
Physical Science Ideas
- Use a quantitative spectroscope to analyze the light spectra produced by burning different elements. Do you expect compounds that contain some of the same elements to have similar spectra?
- Build your own light bulb, and then experiment with what materials make the longest-lasting or brightest filament.
- What kind of substance (metal, ceramic) conducts heat the best? Do a thermal conductivity study to discover which substance works best for a pot handle and which works best for a teapot.
- Find out how increased mass affects velocity and acceleration by doing a project with dynamic carts. You can also experiment with the resulting velocities after a collision between a moving object and unmoving one, or between two objects moving in opposite directions.
- Build a wind turbine and experiment to find out how blade design, wind speed, and other factors affect power production.
- Experiment with the best way to build a solar oven to cook your own food.
- Build magnetic tracks to levitate different objects, using a a kit like Magnetic Levitation. What effects do more powerful magnets have? Test neodymium and ceramic magnets.
- Experiment with the best design and method of propulsion for a rocket car, mouse trap car, and solar car.
- Make your own electromagnets and find out what kind of battery, solenoid, etc. can produce the strongest magnetic force.
- Find more ideas on the physics science projects page.
- Try distilling drinkable water from salt water using the sun. What materials can you use to speed up the rate of evaporation?
- Make your own ink using different substances and compare how each withstands the effects of heat, light, or moisture. For example, does one type fade faster than another when they are heated or when exposed to strong light? What chemical reactions might cause this?
- Use pennies to copper-plate an iron nail. See if pennies minted before 1982 (when they were 95% copper) make a thicker coating than newer pennies do (they only have 2.5% copper). How does the number of pennies you use affect the time it takes to plate the nail?
- Use a semi-permeable membrane to experiment with osmosis. What kinds of substances pass through the membrane, and what substances don't? What is a common property that prevents substances from passing through the membrane?
- Which retains heat longer, salt water or fresh water? Design an experiment to find out.
- Experiment with the chemistry of food, including testing for vitamin C, glucose, starch, protein, and lipids (fats). Does cooking, canning or freezing change the nutritional value of certain foods?
- How do crystals form? Does the rate at which they form affect their size and shape? Can you make crystals with household chemicals?
- Find more ideas on the chemistry science projects page.