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Others Like “Are There Dangerous Levels of Lead in Local Soil?”

Project Idea
Lead is a very hazardous element. Even very small amounts can cause health problems, especially in babies and young children. One way to determine if a household item, such as a toy or a piece of jewelry, contains lead is to soak the item in a solution, and then test the solution for lead that might have leached out of the item. The goal of this chemistry science fair project is to determine how varying the pH of the test solution affects its ability to dissolve lead, which is a critical step… Read more
Chem_p080
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Some chemistry knowledge will be helpful.
Material Availability Specialty items: You will need a lead test kit, which can be ordered online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision is required. The chemicals used in this science fair project are potentially hazardous. The test solutions contain lead and should not come into contact with skin or any part of your body. It also contains chemicals that produce a strong "rotten egg" smell, so the procedure should be carried out in a well-ventilated area.
Project Idea
thumbnail Electronic devices can be designed to detect dangerous fumes or other hazards, such as smoke or carbon monoxide. In this electronics project, you will build another potentially life-saving detector—a radon detector. Radon gas is radioactive and can pose a hazard to your health if you live in an area where it leaks from the ground. In this electronics science project, you will learn how to collect radon with an ordinary dusting cloth mounted on the intake of a fan, and then measure its… Read more
Elec_p064
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Since the goal of this science project is to measure radon gas, you should have access to an area that has previously tested positive for radon with a commercial radon detection system. See the Experimental Procedure section for details. This is an advanced science project that will require creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability While most of the parts for this science project are readily available, you might need to be creative about finding or making some of the parts.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles when drilling and soldering. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you know what is living in your backyard? How about at the playground, or in your compost pile? Nematodes, also called roundworms, are the most abundant animal on Earth and they might be living in any of these places. In this science project you'll isolate nematodes from several soil samples to discover the best nematode habitats. Read more
Zoo_p045
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The E. coli culture and the agar plates are specialty items. They can be ordered online (see Materials and Equipment for more details), but you will need to plan ahead.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety This science project involves the use of the bacterium E. coli. Standard microbiology and bacterial safety guidelines should be followed.
Project Idea
thumbnail Every day farmers around the world apply commercial fertilizer to their fruits and vegetables to improve plant health and yield. But applying commercial fertilizer is expensive and not economically possible for some farmers in developing countries. What if they could find a way to fertilize plants cheaply? It turns out that human urine is rich in the nutrients that plants need to grow. Could urine serve as a fertilizer substitute? Find out for yourself in this plant growth science project. Read more
PlantBio_p046
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability To do this project, you will need dirt without any added fertilizer. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Use caution when handling human urine. Wear gloves when working with human urine. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail What covers less than 10% of the Earth's surface, yet is a vital natural resource for terrestrial life? What filters ground water and supports most of our food production, not to mention the production of building materials and paper? The answer, often overlooked, is: soil. With this project you can get all the dirt on soil formation, soil horizons, and the composition of different soils. Read more
EnvSci_p011
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury possible
Project Idea
thumbnail Every day, we produce a lot of sewage (wastewater full of feces and urine). In fact, it adds up to 6.4 trillion liters of urine alone produced worldwide each year! The sewage is collected and then treated or disposed of. But what if, along the way, there were a way to make that sewage do something useful? It turns out that human urine is rich in nutrients, and some bacteria actually thrive on eating those nutrients. There are also devices called microbial fuel cells that can generate electrical… Read more
EnvSci_p061
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Previous experience using a voltmeter/multimeter is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The microbial fuel cell needs to be special ordered from [# Link Name="Elec_p071.7" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. See the Materials and Equipment list 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 or power plugs, or have their fibers dispersed in the air. The fibers will cause electrical shortages when they come in contact with electronics. Use caution when handling human urine. Wear gloves when working with human urine. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
Did you know that soils can be alkaline, neutral, or acidic? Most plants grow best in soil near neutral pH, but some plants prefer slightly acidic and others slightly alkaline soil. What is the pH of the soil in your garden? What happens to the pH of water that comes in contact with soil? In this science project you will get to find out. Read more
EnvSci_p013
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Do you know what plants need to grow? Sure, they need soil, water, and sunshine. Everyone knows that. But here's a secret: they also need nitrogen. Plants use nitrogen to make DNA in their cells and the proteins that lead to healthy stems and leaves. The problem is, although the Earth's atmosphere is made up of 78% nitrogen, the form of nitrogen found in the atmosphere cannot be used by plants. So how do plants get their nitrogen? Either through nitrogen deposits in the soil, or through… Read more
PlantBio_p010
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items (can easily be purchased online through Carolina Biological Supply Company)
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Requires adult supervision during use of nitrogen fertilizer
Project Idea
thumbnail If you have a garden, you probably know about snails (or their shell-less relatives, slugs). You may even be looking for a good way to keep them from getting into your garden and eating up the results of all your hard work. In this science project, you will take a scientific look at one method of discouraging this garden pest. Read more
Zoo_p019
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You should only do this science project if you live in an area where you routinely see land snails or slugs. Land snails and slugs are most likely to be out and active when it is damp out (such as in the early morning or after it has rained), or you may find them hiding under plant leaves.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
You might not know it, but a lake without algae would be a very dull place. If there were no algae, there would be no small animals feeding on the algae, and there wouldn't be any fish eating the small animals that eat the algae. You might conclude that since some algae is good, more algae is even better, but algae growth has a down side. If there is too much algae, they can deplete the oxygen in the water, killing off other species in the water. What is one culprit that leads to algal growth?… Read more
EnvSci_p054
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Material Availability You will need access to a pond or a lake from which to collect water. Students who do not have access to a pond or a lake might want to look at some of the variations, at the end of the project, which use purchased algae cultures.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended.
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