This is a great science project. I’m happy to hear that your son has already formulated his hypothesis as this demonstrates that he is thinking about what will happen. However, since this is a science project, there are some other things to consider, so here are some suggestions for making this a really good project: Measuring the time that is takes different types of cheese to mold is a good experiment. The type of cheese is the independent variable and the time of appearance of the mold is the dependent variable. All other parameters in the experiment should be kept controlled, including the air, temperature and the light. The only thing that can vary is the type of cheese. The appearance of the mold should be meticulously documented, with observations made once or twice a day. Results should be recorded as they happen in a lab notebook. Surprisingly, doing three samples of the cheese in different conditions is not a better experiment because the number of variables is too high. It would be better to do three samples of each type of cheese, or do two samples of each type of cheese and repeat the experiment twice. Adding in different types of cheese, such as the cottage cheese would be a good addition to this experiment, but using just two cheeses is OK too.
Now, for the hypothesis. It seems that your son has just guessed at what will happen, and this is not the best way to do a science project. If he can give you a reason for his hypothesis that seems reasonable, then that’s OK. But if he can’t give you a reason that is based on science, then he needs to do more background reading.
First, he needs to know what a mold is. The Wikipedia article on mold contains some general information about the biology of molds. Perhaps you can help your son understand what a mold or fungus is and explain a little about the biology of this group of organisms:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mold
Here's a website that describes the requirements for mold growth. This website is for buildings, but the information would also apply to cheese mold. You can review the requirements, (presence of mold spores, suitable food, appropriate temperature, sufficient humidity, air that is not moving) with your son to determine the optimum conditions for the experiment. Does your son know what the optimum temperature for mold growth is? Since the project deadline is coming soon, it will be important to know this so he will get results as quickly as possible. http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/bui ... growth.htm
Here is some information from the Centers for Disease Control that includes some additional information on the significance of mold:http://www.cdc.gov/mold/faqs.htm
Since the only difference in the results on this project will be the composition of the cheese, you son needs to try to find out what the moisture content of the cheeses are, and he needs to read the labels to find out if preservatives have been used, which will inhibit the mold growth. The holes in Swiss cheese would make a difference in the amount of air available. Molds do require oxygen for growth, and the holes in the Swiss cheese would provide more air and more surface area, which would be an advantage. Is there anything else about the difference in composition between the two cheeses that would make a difference in the growth rate of mold? Perhaps you could help with a Google search to find information that would show a difference in the cheeses and a scientific reason for saying that the Swiss cheese will mold first.
Please refer to the Science Buddies Science Fair Project guide for the details in doing a science project. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... l?From=Tab
Good luck. Please let me know if you have any questions.