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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered how X-rays affect living organisms? You have probably had X-rays taken at the dentist's or doctor's office. These X-rays are considered to be relatively safe, but every X-ray exposes a person to some radiation, specifically electromagnetic radiation. Radiation is energy that travels through space as either waves or high speed particles. Watch this video to learn more about electromagnetic radiation. Watch this video which gives an introduction to… Read more
MicroBio_p030
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Basic understanding of what radiation, DNA, and mutations are.
Material Availability See How to Build an X-ray Machine for a detailed list of materials that will need to be ordered.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety See Introduction to Radiation & Radiation Safety for safety information.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail When you have your X-rays taken at the dentist's or doctor's office, do you ever wonder how the X-ray machine works? Or better yet, how you could make one yourself to use for experiments? This how-to guide provides detailed instructions for high school students and adult do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts to construct and use a homemade X-ray machine safely. Read more
Phys_p083
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A basic understanding of radiation and radiation safety is necessary before starting this science project.
Material Availability Many of the items for this science project, including the x-ray tube, need to be specially ordered. See the Materials & Equipment section for more details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety A good understanding of radiation safety, proper radiation shielding materials, and supervision by an adult are required for this science project. The X-ray machine must be operated in a properly shielded place away from passersby. The X-ray machine requires a high voltage power supply; the output from the voltage supply can be deadly if mishandled.
Science Fair Project Idea
DNA is the "instruction manual" for the successful growth of a living thing, from a single cell to a mature adult. When the DNA of an organism is somehow damaged, it can have an impact on the organism's development over time. In this plant science fair project, you will track how irradiation (exposure to radiation) of radish seeds affects germination (sprouting of a seedling from a seed). Read more
PlantBio_p039
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a specialty item, Irradiated "Rapid Radish" seeds, for this science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever seen amazing, colored images of objects in space, like stars or even entire galaxies? Some of these images were originally taken with forms of radiation that the human eye cannot actually see, like x-rays. In order to create the beautiful pictures you see in the news or online, scientists have to use an image-editing program to add color to them. In this astronomy science project, you will use raw x-ray data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory telescope to create amazing… Read more
Astro_p040
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires a computer with internet access.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Did you know that you can measure the speed of light using a microwave oven, some egg white, and a ruler? Find out how with this cool kitchen science project thanks to Mr. Nick Hood, a science teacher in Fife, Scotland. Read more
Phys_p056
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites You'll need a microwave oven to do this project. You'll get the most out of this project if you've taken (or are currently taking) a course in high school physics.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision recommended
Science Fair 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.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail We encounter an amazing array of colors every day, from the greens of plants and the many colors of their flowers, to the pinkish blue of a sunset, to the artificial coloring in beverages. How do we perceive all of these colors? When light hits an object, some of that light is absorbed by the object, and the light that is not absorbed is what we see. In this science project, you will build a simple spectrophotometer from a cell phone and use it to investigate how visible light is absorbed by… Read more
Chem_p100
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to special-order some items. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. A cell phone with a functional camera is required. A computer that can run Windows® software is required.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Why is it more comfortable to wear light-colored clothes on a hot summer day? Why wear a dark-colored jacket for early-morning fishing on a cold lake? How much difference can it make? Here's a project where you can quantify how much difference color makes for absorbing heat. Read more
Phys_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision required for drilling jar lids.
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
thumbnail Imagine you are on a trip and see something interesting that you want to share with your friends. What do you do? You take a picture with your cell phone and e-mail it to them, of course. But did you realize that the same technology can be used to save lives? Using their cell phones modified as inexpensive microscopes, medical personnel can look at blood smears to help diagnose diseases like malaria and cholera. In this photography science project you will build a simple and inexpensive cell… Read more
Photo_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need access to a cell phone that enables you at least to zoom manually in and out. You will need a 1-millimeter (mm) optical ball lens to magnify the sample. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety To prevent eye damage, never look directly into the light source.
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