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Others Like “Slimey Likes It! Studying Chemotaxis in Physarum Polycephalum

Project Idea
thumbnail Can a simple organism that lives off of dead trees and that grows as a mass of protoplasm actually have intelligence? The goal of this science fair project is to test the ability of the slime mold Physarum polycephalum to solve the problem of finding the shortest path through a maze. Read more
Zoo_p060
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need a Physarum polycephalum culture kit. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use caution when working with sharp blades and when working with hot solutions.
Project Idea
thumbnail You know that sugar makes food sweet. But did you know that there are different kinds of sugar? Sucrose is the granulated sugar that you usually use for baking. Another kind of sugar, which is found in honey and in many fruits, is glucose. In this science fair project, you will measure the concentration of glucose in a variety of foods. You will use special strips that change color in response to glucose, to measure the glucose concentration in different foods. Read more
FoodSci_p049
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever heard that nanoparticles can kill bacteria? You may have even seen some consumer products advertise that they contain antibacterial nanoparticles. A nanometer is one billionth of a meter long. Nanoparticles are usually just a few nanometers in diameter — really, really tiny! So how can something that small kill bacteria which are approximately 700 - 1400 nanometers across? Are they really effective? In this science project you will grow some E. coli bacteria and… Read more
MicroBio_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should be familiar with sterile technique and proper handling of bacterial cultures. If you have questions or need a refresher plese consult the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicrobiologyTechniquesampTroubleshooting" Value="HtmlAnchor" #] guide
Material Availability Some materials need to be special ordered; see the Materials and Equipment list for details
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety You must follow general safety precautions for handling microorganisms. See the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] for details.
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.
Project Idea
thumbnail Most people are not aware that the soil around them is a battle scene. The combatants are very small—bacteria on one side and bacteriophage on the other. The bacteriophage (or phage for short) try to pierce the outer coats of the bacteria and inject them with phage DNA. If successful, the DNA will take over the inner machinery of the bacterial cells and force them to make many copies of the phage. After the copies are made, the bacterial cells break apart, releasing new phage that start… Read more
MicroBio_p029
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This is an advanced science project that requires access to a laboratory with a water bath and 37°C incubator. The kit you will use has enough supplies to perform the procedure one time. To repeat the procedure, you should order additional supplies (listed in the Materials and Equipment section), or make your own media and agar plates. Working with a science teacher or other mentor who is familiar with growing bacteria and titering phage would be helpful.
Material Availability You will need to order the bacteria, the phage, and the supplies from an online science supply store. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety The bacteria (E. coli B) and the phage (T4r) are not dangerous, but you should follow common-sense safety guidelines and wear gloves and safety goggles when working in the lab. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
You might not know it, but a lake without algae would be a very dull place. If there were no algae, there would be no small animals feeding on the algae, and there wouldn't be any fish eating the small animals that eat the algae. You might conclude that since some algae is good, more algae is even better, but algae growth has a down side. If there is too much algae, they can deplete the oxygen in the water, killing off other species in the water. What is one culprit that leads to algal growth?… Read more
EnvSci_p054
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Material Availability You will need access to a pond or a lake from which to collect water. Students who do not have access to a pond or a lake might want to look at some of the variations, at the end of the project, which use purchased algae cultures.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Maple syrup on pancakes, ripe bananas, and soft drinks are all foods that are tasty to us because of the sugar in them. But did you know there are different kinds of sugar? One food can have multiple kinds of sugar in it, and our bodies actually process the different types of sugars differently. In this science project, you will measure the concentration of two sugars, glucose and sucrose, in different foods and investigate how sucrose is converted into glucose with the help of an… Read more
HumBio_p035
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The invertase for this science project needs to be specially ordered. See the Materials and Equipment section for more details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail What do pizza, milk shakes, and ice cream sundaes have in common, besides being delicious and loaded with calories? You might be surprised to learn that these foods, because they contain dairy products, cannot be eaten by the majority of people around the world. Dairy products contain the sugar molecule lactose, and the majority of people on the planet slowly begin to lose the ability to digest lactose after the age of 2. In this human biology and health science fair project, you will… Read more
BioChem_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability If lactase drops are not available in your local drug store or grocery store you will need to order them online. See the Materials & Equipment section for more details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Quick, what is your favorite color of M&Ms® candy? Do you want to know what dyes were used to make that color? Check out this science project to find out how you can do some scientific detective work to find out for yourself. Read more
FoodSci_p006
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A few specialty items are needed; see the Materials tab.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed that most yogurt containers say they contain "live cultures"? What does that mean? The label is suggesting that the yogurt has living bacteria in it! While some types of bacteria can make you sick, some are actually important to keep you healthy. But individual bacteria are so tiny that you cannot see one with the naked eye, so how can you tell if bacteria are really living in your yogurt? In this science fair project, you will investigate whether yogurt actually… Read more
FoodSci_p072
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- Less Details
Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to special order the agar plates. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety The bacteria in the yogurt is not harmful; however, it is possible for other bacteria to grow on the agar plates. For that reason, make sure to follow all the safety guidelines in the Experimental Procedure. Be sure to dispose properly any plates with bacteria when the experiment is over. Adult help is required to light a candle.
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