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Project Idea
Plant stems grow through a process of elongation due to cell divisions within the stem. Does the entire length of the stem elongate evenly? Or do certain regions along the plant stem grow more or less than others? Regions that are involved in active growth are called vegetative. You can conduct an experiment to show which regions of a bean seedling are involved in vegetative growth. Use a marker to mark one inch sections along the main stem of a young bean seedling. Number the regions 1-6… Read more
PlantBio_p023
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Soil may look like a bunch of dirt, but good quality soil is actually a complex mixture of dirt, nutrients, microorganisms, insects and worms. What type of benefit do these microorganisms offer a growing plant? You can test this by baking soil in the oven to sterilize and kill the microorganisms. Do plants grown in sterile soil do better than plants in unsterilized soil? What about adding worms to one plant, but not to the other. Will the plant with worms grow better? Some insects are bad… Read more
PlantBio_p031
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision is required when using the oven. Use caution when handling and disposing of mold. Treat molds according to the same safety rules as outlined for bacteria in the Microorganisms Safety Guide.
Project Idea
Many organisms have ways of orienting toward or away from an environmental stimulus. Some of these behaviors are instinctive, meaning they are behaviors with built in instructions that do not need to be learned. The instinctive response to a stimulus is called a taxis, and there are several types of cues: electricity (galvanotaxis), gravity (geotaxis), light (phototaxis), heat (thermotaxis), touch (thigmotaxis) or a chemical (chemotaxis). You can design experiments to test whether organisms… Read more
Zoo_p043
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project can be done with insects you catch in your own backyard or order from [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ApprovedSuppliers" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="online vendors" #] such as [# Link Name="Advanced.ApprovedSuppliers.2" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Carolina Biological Supply Company" #]
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety If you choose to try this science project with small animals (rather than with insects), use caution when handling the animals and always have an adult present. The use of small animals may require [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ScientificReviewCommitteeSRC" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="SRC approval" #].
Project Idea
During metabolism, organisms experience physical and chemical changes. All animals need some way to exchange chemical waste generated during metabolism for fresh nutrients. One way that these metabolic chemicals are exchanged is during respiration, the process by which used carbon dioxide gas is exchanged with fresh oxygen and circulated throughout the body. How do organisms living underwater respirate? They use gills, which filter oxygen from the water and pass the oxygen into the… Read more
Zoo_p031
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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 We all know that plants need sunlight and water to grow big and tall. But did you know that inside seeds are baby plants, and that the fragile baby plant inside the seed needs to be protected? If you've ever had a sunburn, you also know that the sun gives off harmful radiation and heat. How much radiation and heat can a seed handle? Find out using some radish seeds, an oven, and your microwave! Read more
PlantBio_p008
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Requires adult supervision
Project Idea
Leaves grow in a different pattern than stems and shoots. They do not elongate along one axis, but instead spread out over time. Do all regions of the leaf grow equally? You can use markings on different regions of a growing leaf to see if the whole surface grows, or if growth is focused in a particular region, like the veins or edges of the leaf. If you look along a leafy stem, you may notice that leaves at different positions along the stem are different sizes. You can do an experiment to… Read more
PlantBio_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Fruit is a strategy some plants use to attract animals to disperse seeds. The animals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds through the digestive system. To attract animals, fruit needs to ripen and develop an odor that acts as an attractant. How much more successful are ripe fruits at attracting animals? Try setting out an over and under ripe piece of fruit, and compare how many many insects are attracted to each fruit. How does ripening occur? You can do an experiment using a very ripe… Read more
PlantBio_p021
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Do not eat any fruit to which you have added chemicals. Use caution when using sharp knives or other kitchen equipment; adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
Chlorophyll is a natural pigment found in green plants. It is the primary pigment that absorbs light energy from the sun for photosynthesis. This energy is then used by the plant to synthesize glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Chlorophyll in the leaves of plants can be extracted and separated using chromatography. A good source of chlorophyll for an extraction is a dark green leafy vegetable like spinach. Rub a fresh spinach leaf on the bottom of a strip of filter paper. You can get a… Read more
PlantBio_p020
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The page on Paper Chromatography Resources lists the best papers and solvents for chromatography. The paper needs to be specially ordered and is available from the Science Buddies Store.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety The solvents, like acetone or alcohol, for paper chromatography should be used in well-ventilated areas. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
Our metabolism changes as we get older, a sad fact of life that we cannot change. Old age affects our bodies in many ways. Changes in musculature, bone strength, energy, diet and breathing are some of the many ways we change as we age. You might notice that people often get out of breath when they are older and doing a physical activity. Why do some people feel out of breath, while others do not? Does this change correlate with age? Could this reflect a difference in lung capacity between… Read more
HumBio_p003
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Bromothymol blue is a specialty chemical which can be ordered from an online vendor.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended. If using bromothymol blue, be careful not to ingest it. Any volunteer who feels light-headed after exhaling should stop immediately and not repeat the experiment.
Project Idea
Some laundry detergents have added enzymes that break down proteins, helping to remove them from the cloth fibers, and thus remove stains. You can perform a scientific test of these enzymes' stain-fighting ability. Do background research on the enzyme(s) in the detergent, and on the substances you choose for making the stains. Try to predict for which substances the enzymes will be effective. Cut a piece of light-colored cotton cloth into identical 10-cm squares. Choose different types of… Read more
Chem_p039
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
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