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Zoology Project Ideas

Project Idea
thumbnail The human body has an impressive ability to heal itself after injury, but humans have nothing on planaria. Planaria have an amazing ability to regenerate. An entire animal can regenerate from just a fraction of the body! This project investigates the effect of magnetic field intensity on planarian regeneration. Read more
Zoo_p018
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- Less Details
Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use strong magnets with care! See safety notes below.
Project Idea
How do you figure out how to get places? Do you ask for directions, look at a map, or consult a compass? There are many ways for people to figure out how to travel from one place to another, but how do other animals do it? In this science fair project, you'll use real data, collected by biologists, to figure out how migratory birds manage to navigate more than 2,000 miles from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. Read more
Zoo_p053
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science fair project requires the use of a computer with Internet access to download data-analysis software.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Do you like skeletons? One of the more interesting jobs at a natural history museum is the creation and care of the skeletons and bones. How do the curators clean and put together the skeletons? Many curators use the carrion beetle, Dermestes vulpinus, to quickly clean off the dead animal tissue from a corpse to reveal the skeleton. These insects do such a good job that sometimes the skeleton remains intact! Another method is to slow cook the carcass until the meat falls off. You can use… Read more
Zoo_p038
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- Less Details
Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Use only food-grade animals for this project. Do not use roadkill or other dead animals from unknown sources, as such animals might have died from diseases. Wear gloves and safety goggles, and use caution when handling bleach and other chemicals. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Can a simple organism that lives off of dead trees and that grows as a mass of protoplasm actually have intelligence? The goal of this science fair project is to test the ability of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to solve the problem of finding the shortest path through a maze. Read more
Zoo_p060
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a Physarum polycephalum culture kit. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use caution when working with sharp blades and when working with hot solutions.
Project Idea
thumbnail We rely heavily on our senses to tell us about our environment. But in addition to the senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, and sight, some animals are able to sense Earth's magnetic field. Migratory turtles and birds use this sense to guide them on long journeys. Homing pigeons use it to find their way home. New research suggests that large mammals, such as cows and deer, may also have the ability to sense the direction of magnetic north. In this animal behavior science project, you will… Read more
Zoo_p058
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Experience with Microsoft® PowerPoint® would be helpful. You will also need a computer that can run Google EarthTM and that has Internet access.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered why geese fly in a V-formation? In this science fair project, you will build a wind tunnel to test how the formation of birds in flight actually affects their flight efficiency. Read more
Zoo_p057
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- Less Details
Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This is an advanced project that will require substantial initiative to design, build, and test. The experimental procedure gives outlines for how to proceed, and includes pictures; but precise details for the setup have to be worked out independently. Also, to perform the analysis, it is recommended that you first read the scientific papers that are listed in the Bibliography.
Material Availability You will need a web camera and a computer for this science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
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