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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail One way to test for the presence of toxic compounds in a water sample is a bioassay. In a bioassay, a living organism serves as a detector for toxins—the same way canaries were used in coal mines to detect invisible toxic gases. In this project, water fleas (Daphnia magna), a freshwater crustacean, are used in a bioassay to monitor water quality. Many variations of this experiment are possible. Read more
EnvSci_p043
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision required when collecting sediment samples from parking lot.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In this project, water fleas (Daphnia magna), a semi-transparent freshwater crustacean, are used to study the effects of caffeine on heart rate. Don't worry about having to learn how to take a crustacean's pulse: you can actually see the heart beating under a microscope. Many variations of this experiment are possible. Read more
Zoo_p048
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You will need a microscope for observing Daphnia closely enough to monitor heart rate. Either a dissecting microscope or a compound microscope with low-power objective and a depression slide could be used.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever heard the expression "a canary in a coal mine"? In the 1900's and earlier, coal miners brought canaries with them into the mines to act as early warning signals. The canaries were very sensitive to low levels of dangerous gases, so if the birds stopped singing, or got sick, then the miners knew to leave immediately, even if they felt fine. As it turns out, our froggy friends are also very helpful at signaling problems, not in mines, but in and around bodies of water. Try this… Read more
EnvSci_p048
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Students must have access to a pond, lake, or marsh with abundant frogs.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Never explore natural bodies of water alone. Never pick up brightly colored frogs. Adult supervision is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Chemicals from Earth's atmosphere are making their way down to the planet! Not in spaceships, but in rain. The acid rain can infiltrate ground water, lakes, and streams. How does acid rain affect aquatic ecosystems? Read more
EnvSci_p016
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Items will need to be special ordered. See the Materials and Equipment section for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No hazards.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Did you know that when you use fertilizer in your garden, it can eventually reach a lake, stream, or pond? There are many different chemicals present in fertilizers. How will they affect the aquatic organisms in the ecosystem? In this science project you will get to find out! Read more
EnvSci_p017
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This project will require approval from the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ScientificReviewCommitteeSRC" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] if you use fish or any other vertebrate animal in your experiment.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety This project requires adult supervision when handling and measuring liquid fertilizer.
Science Fair Project Idea
Caffeine is a type of chemical called a stimulant. When you drink a caffeinated beverage, the caffeine enters into your blood stream dilating the capillaries and causing blood to flow more quickly. This gives your body a feeling of speeding up which can cause the jitters and wakefulness. How does caffeine affect the physiology of other animals? You can use over-the-counter caffeine supplements, like Vivarin, to test the effects of caffeine on animals. Try dissolving the caffeine in… Read more
Zoo_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Drosophila, daphnia, and other small invertebrate animals can be ordered from [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ApprovedSuppliers" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="online vendors" #].
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
During metabolism, organisms experience physical and chemical changes. All animals need some way to exchange chemical waste generated during metabolism for fresh nutrients. One way that these metabolic chemicals are exchanged is during respiration, the process by which used carbon dioxide gas is exchanged with fresh oxygen and circulated throughout the body. How do organisms living underwater respirate? They use gills, which filter oxygen from the water and pass the oxygen into the… Read more
Zoo_p031
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair 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.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you wish that you had duck feet? Aside from being a fun Dr. Seuss story, there is a lot you can learn about hydrodynamics by looking at the feet of birds. How are the feet of birds that swim unique? Find out in this experiment. Read more
Aero_p014
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required for swim tests.
Science Fair Project Idea
You might know that lead can be toxic, and that you can get lead poisoning from eating or inhaling old paint dust. Lead is called a heavy metal, and there are other sources of heavy metals that can be toxic, too. Silver, copper, mercury, nickel, cadmium, arsenic, and chromium are all heavy metals that can be toxic in certain environments. In this experiment, find out if one common heavy metal, copper, can be toxic to an aquatic environment. Read more
EnvSci_p018
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites The copper sulfate pentahydrate used in this project requires special disposal. Create a disposal plan before starting this project. See the end of the Procedure for more details.
Material Availability Items will need to be special ordered. See the Materials & Equipment section for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety This project requires adult supervision when handling and measuring copper sulfate granules. Wear gloves and safety goggles when measuring. Dispose of the copper sulfate pentahydrate solutions and leftover granules according to local pesticide disposal regulations.
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