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<<Science Fair Supplies
Science Fair Projects for Elementary
Science fairs aren't just for older kids!
If you're an elementary student, you can learn a lot
and have a great time doing your own project. For grades K-3, a demonstration
of scientific principles is usually okay, although many fairs require real
experiments. For 4th-5th graders, a complete experiment that answers a question
using the scientific
method is usually required.
Before you start the experimenting part of your project, do some
research about your topic and then use
questions like the ones below to develop your own
hypothesis - what you think will happen in your
experiment, based on what you know (or want to find out) about
science. It's okay if your experiment doesn't turn out like you predicted -
that's part of the scientific method too!
Life Science Ideas: Plants and Animals
- Have you noticed
how the seeds in different kinds of fruit (like an apple and an orange) look
very different from each other? Try growing seeds from different fruit or
you've eaten, soaking them in water for one night and then planting them in a
cup of dirt. Which seeds do you expect to grow best? After doing the experiment, which
seeds really grow best? (Which seed turns into the tallest plant after a
month?) Why do you think that might be?
- Lots of factors
plant growth. Try experimenting with soil type, light, temperature,
water, and more. See if using water crystal beads in the soil affects watering and growth. Or grow two of the same plant—one in soil and one in water. Use a root viewer to experiment with root vegetables.
- Does calcium really make our
What would happen if we didn't get enough calcium?
- What's the best way to
hands to keep us safe from germs? Use lotion and glitter or
Glo Germ gel to simulate germs. Experiment to find out if warm or
cold water works better, which kinds of soap work best, and how much
time you should spend washing.
- Have you ever
watched ants carrying bits of food? What food from your kitchen do you think
an ant or other insect would like best? What "bait" will probably attract the
greatest number of different insect species? Can you
test the effect of temperature
- Can bees recognize pictures? Perform a simple honeybee memory experiment to find out. Do bees remember patterns? What about location? Or do they find "nectar" a different way altogether?
- Do a
project to find out if temperature affects
brine shrimp. Do ones in a warmer environment develop faster than ones in
a colder place? Is tap water, spring water, or distilled water better for hatching the
Chemistry Ideas: Crystals, pH, Slime, and Glue
- Design a science
fair project comparing and contrasting how long it takes ice to melt at room
temperature compared to a warm stovetop or the refrigerator. Try thawing
frozen fruit at the same time. Does it longer or the same amount of time to
warm up as the ice? What if you
salt to the ice?
- Your kitchen offers
lots of chemistry ideas. How does cola or another soft drink compare in
acidity with other common drinks or food? You can test acidity using
pH paper. You can also use
indophenol to test which fruits have the most vitamin C.
- Water is sometimes
called "the Universal Solvent'' because it dissolves other substances so well.
How well does water dissolve salt or sugar compared to other liquids (like oil,
corn syrup, or vinegar)?
- Experiment with surface tension by
bubbles. Can you make them in different shapes? Can you poke scissors
through them without popping them?
Make crystals from sugar, salt, and baking soda. How do their crystal
shapes compare? Does the rate of evaporation of the crystal growing medium (water, vinegar) affect the size of the crystals? Does the rate of how fast the crystals cool down affect the size of the crystals? Do impurities (such as iodized salt versus salt that is not iodized) affect the growth of the crystals?
What happens when
saltwater from the ocean evaporates?
- Chemical energy can
produce power! Try
making a battery from food items. Which type of citrus fruit works best?
What about vinegar? A potato?
- Experiment with
polymers by using milk proteins to make
homemade glue. How does homemade glue compare with glue from the store?
Can you develop a way to make homemade glue stronger?
- You can also make
homemade slime. Does more or less of an ingredient make the slime more
stretchy? What about slippery or gooey?
- Why do apple slices
turn brown? Can you stop this from happening by using lemon juice? What else
could you use?
Earth Science Ideas: Weather and Dirt
- The sun causes
water to evaporate into the air, where it forms clouds and comes back down as
rain or snow. Can wind speed, humidity, or temperature have an effect on the rate of evaporation?
(Do one of these
weather experiments to find out more.)
- How good is soil at
breaking things down? What can you find that is biodegradable? How can you
test to see whether something is or not?
- What holds more
water, sand or soil? How does this affect what kinds of plants can grow in
- Can you learn to
predict the weather from the clouds? Try using a
cloud chart to make your own forecast every day for a few weeks. How accurate
was the cloud-forecast method?
- How does a
thermometer work? What kind of liquid works best to show changes in
Ideas: Force and Energy
- Can you use a
magnet to find traces of iron in food, dollar bills, and other household
materials? Are some magnets stronger
- What type of
flooring creates the most or the least friction? Try carpet, wood, tile,
linoleum, etc. Younger kids might test this by rolling a ball or toy truck
over different surfaces. (Or use a spring
scale to measure the force of friction.) Use this to decide what kind of flooring is safest
(least slippery) for someone wearing socks.
- Why does a
stick to the wall after you rub it against your hair? Experiment with
static electricity to find out how positive and negative charges in
household items interact. What causes static electricity to increase? What are some ways to decrease static electricity, and which
ways work best?
- The sun gives off
energy that can be used like a battery to power things. Connect a
motor to a
solar cell and figure out what conditions it runs best under. Do different types of artificial light (such as fluorescent
and incandescent) power a solar cell better than others? What happens on a
- Can salt conduct
electricity? What about sugar? Do a project to test the conductivity
of different materials using a battery and a light bulb or a buzzer.
- Use a
spectroscope to compare the spectra (which looks like a rainbow) of
different types of light. Do different light sources contain different colors?
How does daylight compare with a fluorescent light bulb? (Note: Never look
directly at the sun!) Research to find more about the different elements that
are in each light source.
- Do an experiment with density of different liquids. Which is denser, oil, corn syrup, or water? If
you add all three to the same glass, which liquid will float on top of the
others? Compare how well some objects (e.g., raisin, paper clip) float in each
of the three substances. You can also experiment with colored water (e.g.,
red for hot, blue for cold) to find out whether different temperatures affect