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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In this project, water fleas (Daphnia magna), a semi-transparent freshwater crustacean, are used to study the effects of caffeine on heart rate. Don't worry about having to learn how to take a crustacean's pulse: you can actually see the heart beating under a microscope. Many variations of this experiment are possible. Read more
Zoo_p048
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You will need a microscope for observing Daphnia closely enough to monitor heart rate. Either a dissecting microscope or a compound microscope with low-power objective and a depression slide could be used.
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Changes in the environment, or stimuli, affect your behavior and movement over the course of a day: When you get cold, for instance, you might get up and put on a sweater. Or if it is sunny and warm, you might go outside to play sports or go for a walk. Different stimuli, including light, affect the movement of other organisms as well. But how does the type of light influence their movement? Do they respond differently to different kinds of light, depending on other factors in their… Read more
EnvSci_p006
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items, like a Daphnia magna culture kit, can be ordered from [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.ApprovedSuppliers" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="online vendors" #] such as [# Link Name="EnvSci_p006.1" Value="HtmlAnchor" #]. Alternatively, you could purchase Daphnia possibly from a local tropical fish store.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail One way to test for the presence of toxic compounds in a water sample is a bioassay. In a bioassay, a living organism serves as a detector for toxins—the same way canaries were used in coal mines to detect invisible toxic gases. In this project, water fleas (Daphnia magna), a freshwater crustacean, are used in a bioassay to monitor water quality. Many variations of this experiment are possible. Read more
EnvSci_p043
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Adult supervision required when collecting sediment samples from parking lot.
Science Fair Project Idea
Make your own fertile soil using kitchen scraps, manure, leaves, grass clippings, and other compostable materials. Which materials make the best compost? How does the amount of nitrogen change the rate at which the compost forms? How does traditional composting compare to worm composting, or vermiculture? How does the temperature of the compost pile change? Read more
Geo_p036
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
Many people routinely use fertilizer for crops, gardens, and lawns. What people don't know is that each time they apply fertilizer, the fertilizer seeps through the soil into the water table. This can eventually lead to the contamination of a local water source, like a stream, pond, lake, bay, or ocean. This is an especially big problem for agricultural practices that frequently use large amounts of fertilizer on fields that are connected by irrigation channels. The run-off of fertilizer… Read more
EnvSci_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
No one can deny the devastating consequences of an oil spill on the local wildlife. Oil affects all levels of the ecosystem, from plants to fish and birds. What happens to water plants if you add motor oil to their pot? What is the effect of motor oil on the health of a goldfish, or water insects? What happens to the barbs of a bird feather if they are dipped in oil? Can you test different types of environmentally-friendly detergents for cleaning the bird feathers? Can you test different… Read more
EnvSci_p032
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
A solution consists of a solute dissolved in a solvent. A solution is saturated when no additional solute will dissolve in it. You'll need a gram balance, a 100 ml graduated cylinder, three beakers or glass jars, three saucers, water, 50 g non-iodized salt (NaCl), 50 g Epsom salts (MgSO4) and 250 g sugar (sucrose). Method 1: Measure 100 ml water and pour into an empty beaker or jar. Weigh out the suggested amount of the solute to be tested. Add a small amount of… Read more
Chem_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair 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 [# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.MicroorganismsSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlShortTitle="true" #].
Science Fair Project Idea
If you're interested in analyzing how things break, check out the Science Buddies project . Read more
MatlSci_p032
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair 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
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