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Others Like “How Old Is That Rock? Roll the Dice & Use Radiometric Dating to Find Out”

Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever wondered how it's possible to so accurately date ancient artifacts? Geologists, paleontologists, archeologists, and anthropologists use a statistical process like radioactive isotope decay to date objects through a method called radioactive dating (also known as radiometric dating). To learn more about that method, check out the geology science project . In that particular Project Idea, radioactive decay of isotopes is modeled by rolling dice. While that procedure is a great way… Read more
CompSci_p045
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with a programming language and basic programming algorithms
Material Availability Readily available
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Are you fascinated by radioactivity and the emission of particles caused by the disintegration of an atom? This science project enables you to observe safely a spectacular display of radioactive decay. Following the instructions in the Procedure, you will be able to isolate a safe radioactive source and build a cloud chamber to watch the radioactive decay. Then you will use your cloud chamber to discover if a plastic lid can shield you from this type of radioactive decay particles. Read more
Phys_p086
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of, or willingness to study independently, the atomic model and what radiation is.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. See the Materials tab for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety

You will be working with radioactive material in this science project; it is completely safe as long as the simple safety instructions in the Procedure are followed.

This project uses isopropyl alcohol, a flammable product. Do not use it near an open flame or anything hot.

Dry ice is colder than regular ice and can damage your skin. Wear insulating gloves when handling it.

If you choose to take apart a smoke detector, be very careful when cutting through metal or plastic. Cut edges might be sharp. Adult help and supervision is required. Minor injury is possible.

Science Fair 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.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you have ever prepared a cup of coffee or tea with sugar, you have probably seen that the grains of sugar quickly dissolve and completely disappear in hot water. But sugar is not the only type of solid that can readily dissolve in a liquid. In fact, there are some types of rocks that can be dissolved by common liquids. It might be hard to imagine large, hard rocks being eaten away by some ordinary fluids, right? But it actually happens all the time! In this geology science project, you will… Read more
Geo_p047
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Small limestone rocks are needed to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Note: The listed time required to do this science project includes shipping time.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair 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.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever planted a garden? It is a real pleasure to see a garden where all of the plants lie in neat rows and are healthy and thriving. Plants need sunlight and nutritious soil to grow and be healthy, right? Not always! Hydroponics is the science of growing plants in nutrient-rich water. Does it work? Try this project and see for yourself! Read more
PlantBio_p045
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A hydroponics terrarium is required and, for your convenience, can be purchased at the [# Link Name="PlantBio_p045.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use gloves and safety goggles when handling chemicals. Adult supervision is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In physics class, you have probably rolled your eyes at some point after being assigned a "projectile motion" homework problem where you use equations to predict how a ball will move through the air. This experiment will show you just how fun that problem can be by using a real catapult to launch a ball and videotaping it as it flies along its path. Then, you will analyze the video and compare it to what the equations predicted. If you have ever wondered if those equations in your physics… Read more
Phys_p089
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This project requires a basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry (sine and cosine functions), and physics (kinematics—two-dimensional projectile motion), or the willingness to learn about these subjects on your own.
Material Availability This project requires access to a video camera (not included in the cost estimate) and the purchase of a catapult kit. (See the Materials and Equipment list for details.)
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Minor injury possible. Never aim the catapult at anyone, and keep your hands and fingers clear of the moving catapult arm when launching the catapult.
Science Fair Project Idea
Plants need nitrogen to build proteins and nucleic acids to grow healthy stems and leaves. Though the Earth's atmosphere is made up of 79% nitrogen, the form of nitrogen found in the atmosphere cannot be used by plants. In this experiment, you will compare plants grown without nitrogen fertilizer to plants grown with nitrogen fertilizer. Read more
PlantBio_p012
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision recommended during preparation of nitrogen fertilizer solution
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Everyone knows electricity can create heat, especially because our electrical appliances tend to warm up when turned on. But wouldn't it be cool to do the reverse — generate electricity from heat? In this science project, you will study why it happens, measure the effect, and then use the phenomenon to build your own device, a thermocouple thermometer, that will enable you to convert heat into electrical energy. Read more
Elec_p072
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Understanding of or willingness to look into the concepts of temperature, heat, electrical current, electrical potential, and different theories of modeling electric conductors.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues.
Science Fair Project Idea
Often, when we think of something that is solid we think about rocks. But in reality, rocks have tiny holes of air inside them. This is called porosity. In this science project you can find out what it means to be "solid as a rock!" Read more
Geo_p012
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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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