Animals respond to chemical cues in different ways. If an animal turns away from a chemical cue, then that chemical is a repellent. If an animal turns toward a chemical cue, then that chemical is an attractant. Attractants and repellents can be airborne chemicals, chemicals found in food, or chemicals that diffuse through water. One example of an airborne chemical is a pheromone, a chemical signal that is released by one individual to attract another. Moths release pheromones to attract…
Predict how tall you can build a tower using only two sheets of newspaper as building material. You can't use tape, glue, staples, or anything else, just two sheets of newspaper. You can tear, bend, cut, or fold the newspaper. Try it out and see how close you can come to your prediction. Can you beat your prediction? As you're building, you may come up with ideas to make a better tower. Try them out! (It's not like the materials are expensive!) Here are some variations you might want to…
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: ). 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 hair samples of equal length to construct…
How do you turn a 2-dimensional piece of paper into a 3-dimensional work of art? Origami, the classical art of Japanese paper folding, is loaded with mathematical themes and concepts. What are the common folds in origami, and how do they combine to create 3-dimensional structure? Can you classify different types of origami into classes based upon the types of folds they use? Can you show Kawasaki's Theorem, that if you add up the angle measurements of every other angle around a point, the sum…
In this cooking and food science fair project, you will explore the role of proteins as emulsifying agents. Emulsifying agents are substances that are soluble in both fat and water and enable fat to be uniformly dispersed in water as an emulsion. Foods that consist of such emulsions include butter, margarine, salad dressings, mayonnaise, and ice cream. Emulsifying agents are also used in baking to aid the smooth incorporation of fat into the dough and to keep the baked goods tender. Natural…
Most of the energy and fuel that we use in the United States is derived from burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are the remains of plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Examples of fossil fuels include coal, petroleum oil, and natural gas. Burning coal releases 21.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide— a greenhouse gas that may be responsible for global warming and climate change—into the air in one year. About half of this amount is absorbed by natural processes…
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Long (2-4 weeks)
This science fair project must be performed in a well-ventilated area; a fume hood is recommended. You must also have a teacher who can help you order the necessary chemicals.
Specialty items are required. You will need methanol, and either potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide. See the for more information.
High ($100 - $150)
Minor injury is possible. You must wear safety goggles and gloves when dealing with chemicals. Do not breathe in fumes from the chemicals. Read and follow the suggestions in the .
Try different wind turbine/propeller (chord length, pitch) designs by making models from balsa wood. Connect the spinning axle to a DC motor and measure the voltage produced across a resistor to measure power output. Use fan as wind source. (Judge, 2004)
A solution consists of a solute dissolved in a solvent. A solution is saturated when no additional solute will dissolve in it. Can a saturated solution of sodium chloride dissolve any Epsom salts? Can a saturated solution of Epsom salts dissolve any sodium chloride? How does solubility vary with temperature? How does solubility vary with the surface area of the solute? Design experiments to find out! (Gardner, 1999, 16-17, Stretton, 2004)
No one can deny the devastating consequences of an oil spill on the local wildlife. Oil affects all levels of the ecosystem, from plants to fish and birds. What happens to water plants if you add motor oil to their pot? What is the effect of motor oil on the health of a goldfish, or water insects? What happens to the barbs of a bird feather if they are dipped in oil? Can you test different types of environmentally-friendly detergents for cleaning the bird feathers? Can you test different…
When the punter is trying to hit the "coffin corner" (within the opposing team's 10-yard line), out of bounds, what is the best angle to kick the ball for correct distance and maximum "hang time?" (For more information on the physics involved, see: Gay, 2004, Chapters 4 and 5.)
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