Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

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Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

Postby jfatto » Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:32 pm

This is our first time doing a science project for our school fair and the topic we have chosen is "What is the effect of non-detergents (i.e. vinegar, lemon, seltzer) on a stain?" I need a little help as to how to go about this. We originally choose what is the effect of detergents on a stain, but the teacher felt it had been done so much that she asked if we could change it up. Like I said this is our first time so I am not sure where to start, should I be testing the same stain with different "non-detergents" or several stains with different "non-detergents". Thanks for your help. :)
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Project Question: The effect of non-detergents (i.e. vinegar, lemon, seltzer) on a stain?
Project Due Date: January 31, 2011
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

Postby agm » Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:38 am

Hi,

I moved your question to the physical sciences forum -- getting ready for the science fair is more about communicating your results after the experiment is done, so more experts will see your question here.

It will probably help you to read some discussion of similar experiments as well as the project guide, particularly the parts about variables:

http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... ndex.shtml
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p039.shtml
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... =26&t=2086

In short, it's only fair to compare different stain removers on the same kind of stain (and with all other conditions/variables kept constant, for example the kind of fabric used, amount of stain applied and time allowed to set, and method of application of the stain remover). So if you only did 3 tests, it would be better to try removing stain X with vinegar, then X with lemon, then X with seltzer. You wouldn't be able to draw any conclusions if you tried to remove X with vinegar, Y with lemon, and Z with seltzer, because you'd have changed more than one variable. You might consider repeating each of the three tests a few times (multiple "trials") to see how much variation there is.

If you have more time, it could be interesting to repeat all of the above with different kinds of stains. So if you had stains X, Y, and Z and 3 different stain removers, there would be 9 experiments times a few trials of each. Due to the chemistry involved, some stain removers would probably work better or worse on different kinds of stains. However, that level of explanation/investigation might be a bit much if your child is in elementary school -- it's more important to have fun and get some really basic experience with the scientific method.

Best wishes,
Amanda
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Re: Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

Postby jfatto » Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:02 pm

Thank you so much for your advice, it gives us something to start with. I tried looking up this project and could only find those using detergents. Do you recommend using a a white cotton cloth or should I be looking for something else another type of fabric? Also, what type of stain would you recomment using that would best suit this project. I thank you again for your input, since this is our first year I want to make sure we are doing everthing we need to be doing.

Regards,
JF
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Project Question: The effect of non-detergents (i.e. vinegar, lemon, seltzer) on a stain?
Project Due Date: January 31, 2011
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

Postby audreyln » Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:14 am

Hi JF,

This sounds like a really great project! I don't think you should worry about what type of fabric to use so long as you have enough of one type of fabric to complete your whole experiment (if you switched mid way that would be another variable). White cotton might work best as it's easy to obtain, cheap, and the white will show the stains well.

I think Amanda's suggestion for using a few different types of stains is great if you have the time. As she stated, the chemistry behind which stain remover (vinegar, lemon, seltzar) works the best for which stain is probably not an elementary school topic. Maybe start with some common household items and see where it takes you. Off the top of my head I'm thinking things like ketchup, mustard, and coffee would be interesting.

Most importantly though, have fun!

Audrey
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Re: Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

Postby jfatto » Fri Nov 19, 2010 6:28 pm

Thank you Audrey.

It is great to have somewhere to go to ask these questions. Like I said, this is our first time doing a science fair project and we bascially got a letter home explaining the procedures, but I would have liked a more hands on approach, like a demonstration for first time parents.

I think this is an interesting experiment because it is something different from what everyone else has done, which is why the teacher asked us to change it from detergents to "non-detergents".

I hope to start this soon and will probably be looking for more help, so again I thank you for easing some of my stress and will definetly try to have some fun with this. :D

Bye,
JF
jfatto
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:26 pm
Occupation: Stay at home mom
Project Question: The effect of non-detergents (i.e. vinegar, lemon, seltzer) on a stain?
Project Due Date: January 31, 2011
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Trying to get ready for our first science fair.

Postby jfatto » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:57 pm

We are now thinking of changing our science fair project to "Home Sweet Biome: How Do Plants Grow in Different Environments?" and I wanted to make sure I had enough of time to do so. Our project is due 1/31/11 will I have enought time?

Thanks for your help.

JF
jfatto
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Nov 17, 2010 2:26 pm
Occupation: Stay at home mom
Project Question: The effect of non-detergents (i.e. vinegar, lemon, seltzer) on a stain?
Project Due Date: January 31, 2011
Project Status: I am just starting


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