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Project Idea
Plastics are made of polymers, chemical structures containing many repeated subunits. How does the polymer type of a plastic affect the biodegradability of the plastic? Do research on how plastic is made and what types of polymers are used for making different plastics. Can you learn to make your own plastic? What materials can you use for making plastic that is biodegradable? Test biodegradability by burying plastic samples for different lengths of time. (Kadar, 2004) Reducing solid waste… Read more
MatlSci_p034
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
Maybe this has happened to you: you're going shopping with one of your parents and the parking lot is really crowded. You're helping out, scouting for an empty space. You see someone heading toward their car, taking their keys out, and you point them out. At last, you're going to get a spot. You wait for the person to pull out so you can park. Does it take them longer because you're waiting? Do they move out faster? Or does it just seem that they do? For information on people's… Read more
Soc_p019
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Almost all of the games we play are based on math in some way or another. Card games, board games, and computer games are designed using statistics, probabilities, and algorithms. Begin by reading about games and game theory. Then you can choose your favorite game and investigate the mathematical principles behind how it works. Can combinatorial game theory help you to win two-player games of perfect knowledge such as go, chess, or checkers? (Weisstein, 2006; Watkins, 2004) In a multi-player… Read more
Math_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Many industries rely on scale models to develop new products and designs. Architects, industrial designers, artists, clothing designers, and car manufacturers all use scale models. Each model is built to a scale that relates the actual object to the model through a ratio. Can you determine a formula for constructing a scale model? You can use your formula to make a model of your house, school, neighborhood, or town (CUBE, 2002). You can make scale models of the Wright Brothers aircraft… Read more
Math_p028
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Does listening to classical music help or hinder concentration and performance on cognitive tasks? You'll need help from a teacher to design two short, age-appropriate worksheet tests for this experiment. The tests should be of equal difficulty. You'll also need the cooperation of several additional classroom teachers in order to test enough students (at least 50–100, see the Science Buddies resource: How Many Participants Do I Need?). Half the students will take test A while listening to… Read more
Music_p003
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
There are three different kinds of polymers used for kitchen plastic wrap: low density polyethylene (LDPE) (e.g., Handiwrap or Glad Wrap), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (e.g., Reynolds PVC Foodservice Wrap or Boardwalk PVC Food Wrap Film) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC)(e.g., Saran Wrap, which is almost 90% polyvinylidene chloride). Which of these materials is least permeable to oxygen? When you slice an apple, the surface of the slice turns brown as the apple is oxidized. Can plastic wrap seal… Read more
Chem_p033
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Material Availability Some types of plastic wraps may need to be specially ordered. Various PVC wraps are available through Amazon.
Project Idea
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) Read more
Chem_p038
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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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: http://www.fi.edu/weather/todo/hygrometer.html). 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… Read more
MatlSci_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Project Idea
Is there a correlation between birth order and grade point average? Design a survey study to find out. How many completed surveys do you need for a representative sample of your school? If you limit your survey to one school, would you expect it to be representative of a larger population (such as your county or state?) How do you control for potential effects of parental age at birth? (In other words, younger siblings will have a higher probability of being born to older parents. If there… Read more
Soc_p018
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
Did you know that a scientific study has shown that chewing Big Red Gum reduces mouth microbes? (ScienceDaily contributors, 2004) The cinnamon oil in the gum is a natural defense against mouth bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath. Conduct an experiment to compare products with cinnamon essence in gum, candy, toothpaste, and mouthwash to see if they can decrease mouth germs. Do a before and after swab of the mouth with a Q-tip. Which treatments work the best? Can you find another… Read more
MicroBio_p023
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites A basic knowledge of how to work with bacteria is needed to complete this science fair project. Consult the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicrobiologyTechniquesampTroubleshooting" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="Microbiology Techniques and Troubleshooting" #] guide for information on how to conduct microbiology experiments.
Material Availability Specialty items, like the media to grow bacteria on, can be ordered 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 Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Use sterile technique. Read the [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #] before starting any experiments. [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ScientificReviewCommitteeSRC" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="SRC approval" #] may be necessary. Adult supervision is recommended.
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