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Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen moths buzzing around bright lights at night? What about animals that always crawl into dark places, under rocks or furniture? This type of behavior is called phototaxis — movement toward (or away from) a light source. In this project you will build your own biologically inspired robot critter that mimics this behavior. Basing your design on the popular and simple BristleBot robot, you will make a robot with two light sensors for "eyes" and two motors that help it steer… Read more
Robotics_p012
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some familiarity with electronic circuits and using breadboards will be very helpful, though not required, for this project. Using a soldering iron is also helpful but a work-around is offered in the Procedure.
Material Availability This project requires certain parts from an electronics store or online retailer. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety If you use a soldering iron for this project remember that soldering irons get extremely hot and can cause burns if they touch your skin. They can also become a fire hazard if left unattended. Science Buddies recommends using lead-free solder, especially in homes with pets or small children.
Project Idea
thumbnail Strike a key on the piano, and you hear the string vibrating. Just about any object vibrates when it's knocked, but how much and how fast? What properties of the material affect the way it vibrates? This project helps you find out. You'll build a simple light-sensing circuit for measuring the frequency of vibrating springs. Read more
ApMech_p015
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Windows/PC
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail "Waste not, want not" is a common saying. These four words sum up an important principle: if you "waste" an important resource, you might find you don't have enough of it when you "want" it. One of the most important resources we have is clean water. In many parts of the world, including the western part of the United States, water shortages pose serious problems. In this science project, you will build an electronic circuit that can 1) detect when it is raining and 2) shut off power, such as… Read more
Elec_p066
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some experience with electronics would be helpful. If you are new to electronics, plan to spend some time learning about the subject prior to making the circuit. The workbook included with the kit has introductory information.
Material Availability The procedure calls for an electronics kit that can be purchased online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Wouldn't it be nice to avoid those nasty electric shocks you get after you've walked around on carpet and then shake a friend's hand, or all those crazy flyaways you get after brushing your hair? These are caused by static electricity. In this science fair project, you will build a super-sensitive charge detector to investigate the positive and negative electric fields created by static electricity. The detector can sense invisible electric fields, so try this science fair project to avoid the… Read more
Elec_p050
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with the concepts of atoms, electrons, and voltage. Familiarity with building circuits with a breadboard is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Generating power from mud sounds like science fiction, but it is actually real science, and a promising source of alternative energy. Topsoil is packed with bacteria that generate electricity when placed in a microbial fuel cell. Because such bacteria-laden soil is found almost everywhere on Earth, microbial fuel cells can make clean, renewable electricity nearly anyplace around the globe. They are an up-and-coming technology that scientists and engineers are working on making even more… Read more
Elec_p071
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Having used a voltmeter/multimeter before is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The microbial fuel cell needs to be special ordered from Science Buddies. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Be sure to wear the gloves supplied with the kit when handling the microbial fuel cell's electrodes (its cathode and anode). The electrodes are made of a conductive material called graphite fiber and should not be placed near electronics, power plugs, or have their fibers dispersed in the air. The fibers will cause electrical shortages when in contact with electronics.
Project Idea
thumbnail From traffic safety lights to neon signs, lights have a way of getting peoples’ attention. So it makes sense that if a person wants to get attention, wearing clothing with built-in lights might help. These types of clothing, called electronic textiles (or e-textiles for short) already exist. Instead of using hard surfaces for circuits (like inside your computer or cell phone), e-textiles weave electrical parts like batteries, wires, and lights directly into wearable clothing so it can do… Read more
Elec_p076
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with basic electronics concepts like positive and negative terminals as well as open and closed circuits will be helpful for this science project. Students with no experience building circuits may want to try the simpler but thematically simlar project: [# ProjectIdea Name="Elec_p077" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Material Availability This science project requires special LEDs designed for use with e-textiles, and it will be much easier to do with a soldering iron. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Soldering irons can get extremely hot and burn your skin if you touch them accidentally. They can also cause fires if left unattended. Adult supervision is required when using a soldering iron, especially if you are not familiar with using one. Science Buddies recommends using lead-free solder, especially in homes with pets and small children.
Project Idea
thumbnail Objects that glow in the dark hold a special place in the imagination of both children and adults. The lights go out at night, but these odd things refuse to disappear. Where does the light come from? Do they work in any climate? In this science fair project, you will build an electronic device that measures the light given off by luminescent materials. The device will be used to study how temperature affects luminescence. Read more
Chem_p072
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A familiarity with basic chemistry is required. Also, some experience with electronics would be helpful. Although the circuit is fairly straightforward, especially if you use the kit, this is a DIY ("do-it-yourself") project that will call for some creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability Any phosphorescent material will work for this project. If you want to use super-bright phosphorescent paints, they are available online. See the Materials & Equipment list for more information.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Use caution when using the drill or knife. Wear safety goggles when using the drill.
Project Idea
Solar cells provide a clean way of making electricity directly from sunlight. In this project you will build a simple circuit and experimental setup to investigate whether the power output of a solar cell changes with ambient temperature. Read more
Energy_p012
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must know or must learn how to use a voltmeter or multimeter.
Material Availability Specialty item: digital thermometer with probe
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like making things with play dough or modeling clay? Wouldn't it be cool if you could add a bunch of lights to your creations? In this science project, you will make play dough that conducts electricity, and we will introduce you to some new types of circuits so you can add more lights to your artistic creations. This science project is the second in a three-part series on "squishy circuits," which can all be done with the same materials. We recommend doing the science projects in order. Read more
Elec_p074
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should understand the Introduction material in Make Your Play Dough Light Up, Buzz, & Move!—the first science project in the "Electric Play Dough" series—before doing this science project.
Material Availability This science project requires a Squishy Circuits Kit and ingredients to make conductive and insulating play dough. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Ask for an adult's help when using the stove to make the conductive play dough. Never connect the battery pack's terminals directly to each other; this is called a short circuit and can make the batteries and wires get very hot. Do not connect the LEDs directly to the battery pack without using play dough; this will burn out the LEDs.
Project Idea
thumbnail Want to know how electrical engineers "trap" the energy in a circuit to make your favorite electrical appliance? Video games, computers, phones, and many other electrical devices use "resistors" in different ways to control the electricity in a circuit. In this experiment, you can make your own resistors out of pencils, and test the effect a resistor has on a circuit. Read more
Elec_p013
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Requires adult supervision
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