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

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
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 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.

Project Idea
Music boxes, bicycles, and clocks all have one thing in common: GEARS! You might say that gears make the world turn, since they are in so many mechanical instruments. How do they work and how do you know which gears to use? Find out in this simple experiment. Read more
ApMech_p016
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail You may have heard the expression, "You can't get blood from a stone." But what about oil? Can you get petroleum oil from a stone? In this geology science fair project, you'll find out what kinds of stones make the best storage rocks for oil. You'll see which ones can soak up oil like a sponge, and which ones cannot soak up oil or let it pass through, but can act as a “cap” to contain the oil in secret underground traps. Can a hard rock really act like a soft sponge…maybe SpongeBob SquarePants… Read more
Geo_p041
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Sedimentary rocks must be purchased from a science supply store.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you realize that you are constantly bombarded by particles? You do not feel them, you cannot see, hear, or smell them, but they are always there! These particles — collectively called background radiation — might even travel through you without ever interacting with the molecules in your body. In this science project, you will build your own cloud chamber to prove the existence of background radiation. You will then use your cloud chamber to determine if the background… Read more
Phys_p087
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites This project requires patience and the ability to sit still and make small scale observations for 20 minutes.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Do not use isopropyl alcohol near an open flame or anything hot.

Dry ice is cold and can damage your skin. Wear protective gloves when handling it.
Project Idea
Have you ever bought or tried something new, just because of the way it looked, or the nice box that it came in? On your birthday, which present do you pick to open first? The one that looks big and colorful and exciting or the one that is wrapped in old tissue paper? The way that something is packaged and wrapped often advertises what is inside. But can attractive, exciting packaging convince you to try something that might not be very exciting, but is, perhaps, something that is good for you?… Read more
HumBeh_p048
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites You will need access to 1st graders, before their lunchtime. See the Materials and Equipment list for more information
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety You will be handling fresh food and food that has human saliva on it. Use disposable gloves as you handle the food. Always wash your hands with soap and warm water prior to and after handling food.
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you live someplace where you get to experience the full glory of all four seasons? If so, you know well the heady blossoms and dramatic skies of spring; the long, sun-drenched days of summer; the trees shaking in crimson and gold in fall; and the sparkling, brittle snows of winter. But you might not know why we have these seasons, over and over again, in a cycle as predictable as the rising and setting of the Sun. The reasons for the seasons are surprising and have to do with Earth's tilt… Read more
Astro_p033
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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
Project Idea
thumbnail What are some of the ways we keep track of time? We have alarm clocks, wristwatches, and cell-phone clocks, to name a few. Just a few hundred years ago, our ancestors did not have any of these conveniences, yet they found ways to tell time. How? By using devices such as water clocks. In this science project, you will follow in the footsteps of early engineers and build a water clock that tracks time for three hours. Read more
ApMech_p047
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to purchase a ring stand or build a stand to hold the water clock. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Use caution when using tools like hacksaws and hammers. Adult supervision is required.
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