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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In this biology science fair project, you will observe how the Physarum polycephalum (P. polycephalum) organism responds to various amounts of glucose. P. polycephalum is easy to grow in a petri dish and responds in complex ways to its environment. Will it grow toward the chemical as it looks for a meal, or will it flee, trying to avoid further contact? Try this science fair project to learn more about chemotaxis in the fascinating Physarum polycephalum. Read more
MicroBio_p028
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites An introductory course in chemistry would be useful.
Material Availability You will need to order the "Chemotaxis in Physarum" kit online; see the Materials and Equipment list for details. This item may have to be ordered by your teacher.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Be careful working with sharp blades. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
Though the Sun provides heat and light, which are essential for life on Earth, ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight can cause damage to DNA. In this science fair project, you will experiment with a strain of yeast that is super-sensitive to UV light. This project will demonstrate the lethal effects of UV light when DNA damage is not repaired. Read more
BioChem_p036
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to order a UV-sensitive yeast kit online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Note: You might have to have the yeast delivered to a school if the company does not deliver to residential addresses.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Pouring hot agar plates should be done with caution.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail How does your family thaw and cook meat? Have you ever wondered if it is the safest way? In this practical science project, you can find out and shed light on safe practices in the kitchen by investigating how many viable bacteria are present in samples of meat that have been thawed or cooked using different methods. Read more
MicroBio_p015
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need access to a laboratory with facilities for culturing bacteria. You should be familiar with sterile technique and proper handling of bacterial cultures.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Standard precautions for handling bacterial cultures and bleach.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Do you know what is living in your backyard? How about at the playground, or in your compost pile? Nematodes, also called roundworms, are the most abundant animal on Earth and they might be living in any of these places. In this science project you'll isolate nematodes from several soil samples to discover the best nematode habitats. Read more
Zoo_p045
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The E. coli culture and the agar plates are specialty items. They can be ordered online (see Materials and Equipment for more details), but you will need to plan ahead.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety This science project involves the use of the bacterium E. coli. Standard microbiology and bacterial safety guidelines should be followed.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever wondered if a piece of jewelry is real gold or if it's just some ordinary metal alloy? It turns out that some metals have a unique property; even in small amounts, they can be toxic to some organisms, including algae, molds, fungi, and bacteria, although it often takes many hours to see an effect. Can this phenomena, called the oligodynamic effect be used to tell whether or not the gold or silver in a piece of jewelry is real? Do bacteria react differently to pure, plated, and… Read more
MicroBio_p026
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science fair project requires access to some laboratory equipment, such as a 37°C incubator, a Bunsen burner, as well as some specialty reagents, which can be ordered online. It also requires several pieces of jewelry, including at least one 14-karat gold piece. See the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety This science fair project involves the use of the bacterium E. coli. Standard microbiology and bacterial safety guidelines should be followed. See the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] for more details. Projects using bacteria may require pre-approval from your science fair's [# Link Name="MicroBio_p026.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. To maintain a sterile environment, you will be working near a lighted Bunsen burner. Keep all flammables, including hair and clothing, away from the flame.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Earth, the Sun, wind, and water are all sources of renewable and sustainable energy—and sources you probably already know about. But did you know that you can get energy from such things as banana peels, coffee grounds, and newspaper? In a process called composting, you can transform kitchen and other solid wastes into a product that is beneficial for your garden: homemade fertilizer. As the waste decomposes, it also creates heat. Can this naturally created heat be put to use? In this… Read more
Energy_p035
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Making a compost pile can take anywhere from a couple of days to a few weeks, depending on the method and bin you use. In this energy and power science fair project, you will spend a few days creating a compost pile. You will have to account for the time as you are planning your science fair project. You will also need to be home for several hours at a time on many specific days throughout this project. Read through the Experimental Procedure for more details.
Material Availability You (and friends, if possible) will have to start collecting potato peelings or grass clippings a few weeks in advance to accumulate enough, so keep this in mind when budgeting time for your science fair project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles and use caution when working with all tools. Be sure to wear disposable gloves when handling animal waste and to clean all of the work surfaces thoroughly with a bleach solution. Read the Science Buddies Microorganism Safety Guide to learn how to experiment safely.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Ultraviolet light can damage DNA molecules. If a cell's DNA repair mechanisms can't keep up with the damage, mutations are the result. As harmful mutations accumulate, the cell eventually dies. How much ultraviolet light is too much for a bacterial cell? Read more
MicroBio_p017
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need access to a laboratory with facilities for culturing bacteria. You should be familiar with sterile technique and proper handling of bacterial cultures.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required. Read and follow the safety note below on ultraviolet light. Follow standard precautions for handling bacterial cultures.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you heard that garlic powder is supposed to inhibit the growth of bacteria? Which do you think would make a better disinfectant: a solution of garlic powder or a solution of bleach? This project shows you a straightforward way to compare the effectiveness of different disinfectants (or other antimicrobial agents), by measuring zones of inhibition on a culture plate. Read more
MicroBio_p014
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need access to a laboratory with facilities for culturing bacteria. You should be familiar with sterile technique and proper handling of bacterial cultures.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Standard precautions for handling bacterial cultures and bleach.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever thought about how fortunate you are to have safe and clean water coming out of your faucet? Many people in undeveloped nations don't have this luxury. But does that mean they can't have clean water at all? Is there an inexpensive way they could use to make their own clean water? In this microbiology science fair project, you will investigate whether or not sunlight can disinfect contaminated water. Read more
MicroBio_p025
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites You should have access to a local stream or creek.
Material Availability Specialty items are required. You will need to purchase tryptic soy agar plates, droppers, and glass rods for streaking. See the Materials and Equipment section, below, for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety This science fair project deals with potentially dangerous pathogens. Wear gloves when conducting the experiment. Read and follow the instructions in the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #]. Do not drink any of the water that results from the SODIS process. See the Experimental Procedure for more information. You should always exercise caution when obtaining a water sample from a creek or a stream.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever dreamed of a world where you could take the scraps from last night's dinner and toss them into your car's fuel tank and make gas? Well, we're not quite in "Back to the Future" yet, but in this energy science fair project, you'll discover that food scraps, dead plants, sawdust, and other decaying organic matter, called biomass are a rich source of energy. You can get energy out of biomass by burning it, turning it into a liquid, or by turning it into a gas called biogas. You've… Read more
Energy_p027
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This science fair project requires access to a well-ventilated area, away from open flame or electrical sparks.
Material Availability A small quantity of fresh cow manure is required.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety This science fair project produces a small amount of a flammable gas, so it must be conducted in a well-ventilated area, away from any source of open flame or source of electrical sparks. Use caution and have an adult's help when using the bleach, as it can cause chemical burns.
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