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Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen a product labeled "biodegradable" or "compostable" and wondered just how well it decomposes? A lot of different products claim to be biodegradable or compostable, such as food containers, bags, packaging materials, and spoons and forks. Not only do they clearly come in different shapes and sizes, but they are made of different materials as well. Do they decompose differently, and, if so, which decomposes the fastest? In this science project, you will make your own indoor… Read more
EnvSci_p058
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use caution when using the drill and the scissors. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever dreamed of a world where you could take the scraps from last night's dinner and toss them into your car's fuel tank and make gas? Well, we're not quite in "Back to the Future" yet, but in this energy science fair project, you'll discover that food scraps, dead plants, sawdust, and other decaying organic matter, called biomass are a rich source of energy. You can get energy out of biomass by burning it, turning it into a liquid, or by turning it into a gas called biogas. You've… Read more
Energy_p027
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This science fair project requires access to a well-ventilated area, away from open flame or electrical sparks.
Material Availability A small quantity of fresh cow manure is required.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety This science fair project produces a small amount of a flammable gas, so it must be conducted in a well-ventilated area, away from any source of open flame or source of electrical sparks. Use caution and have an adult's help when using the bleach, as it can cause chemical burns.
Project Idea
thumbnail Earth, the Sun, wind, and water are all sources of renewable and sustainable energy—and sources you probably already know about. But did you know that you can get energy from such things as banana peels, coffee grounds, and newspaper? In a process called composting, you can transform kitchen and other solid wastes into a product that is beneficial for your garden: homemade fertilizer. As the waste decomposes, it also creates heat. Can this naturally created heat be put to use? In this… Read more
Energy_p035
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Making a compost pile can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on the method and bin you use. In this energy and power science fair project, you will spend a few days creating a compost pile. You will have to account for the time as you are planning your science fair project. You will also need to be home for several hours at a time on many specific days throughout this project. Read through the Experimental Procedure for more details.
Material Availability You (and friends, if possible) will have to start collecting potato peelings or grass clippings a few weeks in advance to accumulate enough, so keep this in mind when budgeting time for your science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles and use caution when working with all tools. Be sure to wear disposable gloves when handling animal waste and to clean all of the work surfaces thoroughly with a bleach solution. Read the Science Buddies Microorganism Safety Guide to learn how to experiment safely.
Project Idea
thumbnail If you're interested in arts and crafts, you might like this project. It uses several alternative, renewable sources of fiber to make paper, and compares the resulting papers for strength and writing quality. Read more
EnvEng_p014
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Producing pulp from plant material requires that the plants be boiled in a caustic soda solution. Adult supervision is required, and proper precautions must be observed for handling the strong base.
  • Wear protective clothing and eyewear.
  • Use adequate ventilation.
  • Always add the soda ash (a strong base) to water, not water to soda ash.
  • Use stainless steel or enamel cooking vessel, not aluminum.
Project Idea
Visit your local landfill to collect dumping statistics by watching the types of trash people bring to the dump. Identify problem areas and types of waste that are commonly brought to the dump. Propose new uses for common landfill problems like tires, construction materials, plastics, appliances, and computer parts. Measure packaging materials of some common products. Invent ways to reduce the amount of packaging and increase the use of recyclable materials like popcorn or corn-based packing… Read more
EnvSci_p036
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail If you made a pile of all the electronic devices (cell phones, computers, stereos, televisions, MP3 players, video game systems, remote-control toys, etc.) that your family has gotten rid of since you were a baby, how big would that pile be? Would it be taller than you? Would it fit better in a wheelbarrow or in a pickup truck? And did they just throw it in the trash? In this science project, you'll explore what people in your community do with electronic waste, commonly called e-waste, and… Read more
EnvSci_p056
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Mowing the lawn is hard work, especially on a warm day. Not only do you have to mow the grass, but you also have to dispose of the clippings. Some people add the clippings to a compost pile in their yard, which is a great idea. But did you know that some grasses can be used as a source of energy? In this energy science fair project, you will learn more about a type of energy called biomass energy. You will grow different kinds of grasses and see which type of grass gives you the most biomass,… Read more
Energy_p034
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety If making your own flower pots out of cartons, use caution when using the scissors to cut the cartons in half. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail What happens to the food leftovers in your home? Do they go in the trash? Down the garbage disposal? Or get gobbled up by the family dog? Food leftovers are a type of organic waste, a waste that comes from a plant or animal. Organic waste, like table scraps, agricultural waste, and human and animal waste, is biodegradable. This means, if oxygen is present, it can be broken down by various microorganisms through a process called composting. If oxygen is not present, it can be broken down using… Read more
EnvSci_p055
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Composting worms will need to be ordered online. A worm farm can be constructed or purchased.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail It's hard to believe that the same water that you use every day to quench your thirst, cook with, bathe in, swim in, and wash your clothes and dishes, is capable of another trick—it can make electricity! Electricity can be generated through the flow or through the fall of water. A big, fast-flowing river, for instance, contains a lot of moving energy that provides enough pressure to turn the blades of a turbine and run an electric generator. This same pressure can also be created though… Read more
Energy_p029
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites Access to a bathtub or other area suitable for testing with water.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Use caution when poking holes with the nail.
Project Idea
This project is a great way to "bring home" the concept of energy use. All you need to get started is a good-sized sample of monthly electric bills from households in your area. Building from this simple beginning, you can ask questions that can take you in many different directions. For example: How much electricity does the "average" person in your area use per month? How much does electricity use vary among different families? Read more
Energy_p017
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites To do this project you will have to collect sample monthly electric bills from at least 30 different households, along with the number of people living in the household.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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