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Others Like “The Receding Night: The Effect of Artificial Light on the Migration Pattern of Daphnia”

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.
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
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.
Project Idea
thumbnail Extinct might be a word you associate with animals that lived long ago, like the dinosaurs, but did you know that over 18,000 species are classified as "threatened" (susceptible to extinction) today? Scientists involved in wildlife conservation have a tough job; they're in charge of determining what needs to be done to prevent a species from becoming extinct. Habitat, food supply, and impacts of local human populations are just a few of the factors these scientists take into account. It's a lot… Read more
EnvSci_p057
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability This science project requires a computer you can use to download and save data sets, and install Google Earth, a free mapping program. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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 Scientific Review Committee (SRC) 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.
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.
Project Idea
thumbnail Everything on our planet is connected together, linked by a giant recycling system called the biogeochemical cycle. It is an amazing process. You can actually investigate how our planet recycles and reuses everything needed to support life by making a small model of the biosphere. What will be important to include in your miniature system so that it can support different types of life? Read more
Geo_p038
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need access to a muddy stream, lake, pond, or march in order to collect mud.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Always wash your hands with warm water and soap after handling soil that may contain microorganisms. Use caution if you use a knife. Adult assistance may be needed.
Project Idea
thumbnail Mice, rats, and other rodents are typically nocturnal animals; that is, their activity level is highest at night. For this science fair project, you will build a device that records your pet's activity by monitoring movement of its exercise wheel to see how it varies during the day and night. You can also experiment with various ways of changing your pet's cycle of activity; for example, by playing with it during the day when it's normally resting. Read more
MamBio_p023
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You should already own a mouse, a rat, a guinea pig, or a hamster, and know how to take care of it. Or you can study a pet rodent at your school.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety You should only try this project with a pet rodent that you are already familiar with. Don't use wild rodents or any animal that you are not sure is safe to work with.
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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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
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you know someone who has an autoimmune disease? Autoimmune diseases are fairly common, affecting more than 23.5 million people in the United States, which is about 1 in 13 people! You may have heard of some of them, such as diabetes (type 1), rheumatoid arthritis, and celiac disease. Many autoimmune diseases are poorly understood, but they all have one thing in common: they happen because a person's immune system (which normally fights off germs to keep the person healthy) attacks the… Read more
BioMed_p017
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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