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Others Like “Particles in the Mist: See Radioactive Particles Decay with Your Own Cloud Chamber!”

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.
Project Idea
thumbnail Electronic devices can be designed to detect dangerous fumes or other hazards, such as smoke or carbon monoxide. In this electronics project, you will build another potentially life-saving detector—a radon detector. Radon gas is radioactive and can pose a hazard to your health if you live in an area where it leaks from the ground. In this electronics science project, you will learn how to collect radon with an ordinary dusting cloth mounted on the intake of a fan, and then measure its… Read more
Elec_p064
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Since the goal of this science project is to measure radon gas, you should have access to an area that has previously tested positive for radon with a commercial radon detection system. See the Experimental Procedure section for details. This is an advanced science project that will require creative problem solving on your part.
Material Availability While most of the parts for this science project are readily available, you might need to be creative about finding or making some of the parts.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Wear safety goggles when drilling and soldering. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail What do rocks and clocks have in common? Both keep track of time. Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away. Geologists use those radioactive isotopes to date volcanic ash or granite formations like the giant Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. Does this sound abstract… Read more
Geo_p044
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues.
Project Idea
thumbnail Chromatography is a method used to separate mixtures of compounds and to identify each compound in the mixture. You may have separated the different inks in a black marker by using a strip of paper and water. There are many different types of chromatography: paper, thin-layer, high-performance thin-layer, gas, and more. You will be using paper or thin-layer chromatography to analyze the compounds from different plants. Chromatography is used by analytical chemists, organic chemists, and many… Read more
Chem_p010
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Filter paper can be purchased from the [# Link Name="PlantBio_p035.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Alcohol is flammable and toxic
Project Idea
thumbnail Astronomers can determine the atomic composition of distant stars by measuring the spectrum of light emitted by the star. In this project you can do something similar by observing the color of flames when various chemicals are burned. Read more
Phys_p058
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Requires specific chemicals; see Materials for more details. For your convenience, a kit is available for purchase at the [# Link Name="Phys_p058.5" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision required. This science fair project involves creating small controlled fires. Make sure you follow all the safety guidelines in the Experimental Procedure.
Project Idea
thumbnail "Gross! What is that in the toilet?" But maybe it's not just gross. Did you know there are bacteria that digest organic waste and create electrons? What if there was a way to collect those electrons to power a circuit? In this science fair project, you will make a microbial fuel cell to collect the electrons that the bacteria—anaerobic bacteria—create...only, you'll be using mud, which is much safer to handle than wastewater. If you would like to learn how to reuse and recycle an… Read more
Energy_p026
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You will need to be familiar with the procedures for handling biologically hazardous material. Read the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] from the Science Buddies Project Guide to learn more about handling biologically hazardous materials. You also need to have access to a lower-order stream of water or a creek. See the Introduction for an explanation of this type of stream. Try to avoid streams in which the bed is rocky. The benthic mud sample should be from an area that has a thick, rich mud bed.
Material Availability Specialty items required
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. Be careful when using a hot stove and a drill. Remember to always wear safety goggles when drilling. Exercise caution when working near a stream or creek. Water currents can be stronger than they look.
Project Idea
thumbnail Does your skin get dry? Or do you know someone with dry skin? Dry skin can be a real medical problem for some people. You may have seen many kinds of lotions, creams, and ointments advertised as restorative for dry skin, especially dry hands. But how well do they work? And which ingredients are most important in making them work? In this science project, you will create a model of human skin using JELL-O® and test how well skin moisturizing products with different ingredients keep the… Read more
BioMed_p015
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to purchase petri dishes online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended for using the stove.
Project Idea
thumbnail Physicists sometimes study matter under extreme conditions. For example, think of the emptiness of interstellar space vs. the unimaginable crush of pressure at the center of a neutron star, or an object dipped in liquid nitrogen vs. the tiles on the space shuttle during re-entry. Here's an experiment on permanent magnets in "extreme kitchen" conditions that you can try at home. Read more
Phys_p025
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision highly recommended. Use tongs to hold magnets immersed in boiling water, ice, and dry ice. Use proper caution when transfering magnets at extreme temperatures.
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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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.
Project Idea
thumbnail When biologists want to separate different pieces of DNA, RNA, or proteins they use a technique called gel electrophoresis. In this science project you'll build a gel electrophoresis chamber and use it to discover how many components are in different colors of food coloring dye. Read more
BioChem_p028
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
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