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Project Idea
If you've ever been on a long hike, you probably already know how hungry all that walking can make you. But if you're going a long distance, the last thing you want is a heavy pack of snacks on your back. So what can you bring along for a healthy, hunger-satisfying, lightweight snack? How about dried foods, like banana chips or beef jerky? Many foods have high water content. The drying process removes much of the water from the food, leaving behind a lighter, but equally nutritious snack. Just… Read more
FoodSci_p015
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety This project may require the use of a sharp knife and the oven. Adult supervision is required.
Project Idea
Caramelization is the name of the cooking process that occurs as sugar is heated and the molecules begin to break apart. But what happens to the sugar as it breaks apart? And what do the physical changes mean for the flavor of the sugar? Using the Internet or cookbooks, read up on the chemistry of caramelization, then head to the kitchen with an adult to caramelize your own batch of sugar. With an adult's help, dissolve 1 1/3 cups of sugar in 2/3 cup of water. Heat the mixture in a pan over… Read more
FoodSci_p018
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Use caution when making the caramel, it is extremely hot and can burn severely if it gets on your skin. Adult supervision is required.
Project Idea
You can model this with an ice cube sliding down a plank: how high do you need to lift the end of the plank before the ice cube starts to slide? Try this with one side plain wood and the flip side waxed wood (use paraffin wax, candle wax or ski wax). Make sure both sides are equally smooth to start with. Do at least three trials. More advanced: using what you know about the forces acting on the ice cube, derive equations to calculate the coefficient of friction for each case. Variation:… Read more
Sports_p042
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
How does ski wax affect the sliding friction of skis? You can model this with an ice cube sliding down a plank: how high do you need to lift the end of the plank before the ice cube starts to slide? Try this with one side plain wood and the flip side waxed wood (use paraffin wax, candle wax or ski wax). Make sure both sides are equally smooth to start with. Do at least three trials. More advanced: using what you know about the forces acting on the ice cube, derive equations to calculate the… Read more
ApMech_p031
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
Did you know that you can make a simple hygrometer (a device for measuring the relative humidity of the air) with hair? This type of hygrometer is easy to build (for instructions, see: http://www.fi.edu/weather/todo/hygrometer.html). Does the type of hair used in the hygrometer affect the accuracy of the results? Do some types of hair respond faster than others? Do some types of hair give a larger (or smaller) response? You could get hair samples from classmates, or a local beauty shop. Use… Read more
MatlSci_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
Have you ever bitten into a beautiful golden-brown cookie only to realize in dismay that the bottom is burned and black? What causes that uneven baking? Can it be prevented? You can discover the answer by conducting a science fair project to determine whether different types of cookie sheets result in noticeably different cookies. First you'll need to do some background research to figure out what kinds of baking sheets you can buy. For example, there are aluminum, steel, insulated, and… Read more
FoodSci_p023
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended when baking the cookies.
Project Idea
There are three different kinds of polymers used for kitchen plastic wrap: low density polyethylene (LDPE) (e.g., Handiwrap or Glad Wrap), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (e.g., Reynolds PVC Foodservice Wrap or Boardwalk PVC Food Wrap Film) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC)(e.g., Saran Wrap, which is almost 90% polyvinylidene chloride). Which of these materials is least permeable to oxygen? When you slice an apple, the surface of the slice turns brown as the apple is oxidized. Can plastic wrap seal… Read more
Chem_p033
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Material Availability Some types of plastic wraps may need to be specially ordered. Various PVC wraps are available through Amazon.
Project Idea
The different species of wood used in construction offer a variety of challenges based on density, porosity, oils in the wood, flexibility, elasticity, etc. The intended use, e.g., structural or cosmetic, presents different challenges as well. The glue must be compatible with the wood, the use, and the climate, so many experiments are possible. For example, you could design an experiment to test the durability of different adhesives using the same wood. Or, you could try different wood… Read more
MatlSci_p027
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
Many sports skills require quick reaction times: think of hitting a 95-mph fastball, returning a 100-mph tennis serve, or blocking a slapshot at the net in hockey. (The Experimental Procedure section below has one way to measure reaction time.) Is your right hand faster than your left? Can you improve your reaction time with practice? Do both hands improve if you only practice with one hand? Try relating your reaction time to real situations in your favorite sport. For example, calculate… Read more
HumBio_p005
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
A solution consists of a solute dissolved in a solvent. A solution is saturated when no additional solute will dissolve in it. You'll need a gram balance, a 100 ml graduated cylinder, three beakers or glass jars, three saucers, water, 50 g non-iodized salt (NaCl), 50 g Epsom salts (MgSO4) and 250 g sugar (sucrose). Method 1: Measure 100 ml water and pour into an empty beaker or jar. Weigh out the suggested amount of the solute to be tested. Add a small amount of the solute to the water and… Read more
Chem_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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