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Science Fair Project Idea
Generating power from mud sounds like science fiction, but it is actually real science, and a promising source of alternative energy. Topsoil is packed with bacteria that generate electricity when placed in a microbial fuel cell. Because such bacteria-laden soil is found almost everywhere on Earth, microbial fuel cells can make clean, renewable electricity nearly anyplace around the globe. They are an up-and-coming technology that scientists and engineers are working to make even more… Read more
Elec_p071
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites We recommended that you have a basic knowledge in physics of electricity and familiarity with the concepts of conductivity, electric current, resistance and electrical power. Having used a multimeter before is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability The microbial fuel cell kit needs to be special-ordered from the
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Be sure to wear the gloves supplied with the kit when handling the microbial fuel cell's electrodes (its cathode and anode). The electrodes are made of a conductive material called graphite fiber and should not be placed near electronics, power plugs, or have their fibers dispersed in the air. The fibers will cause electrical shortages when in contact with electronics.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever wondered how fast a seismic wave from an earthquake travels? In this geology science project you can figure this out using historical seismograph data that you can collect from the comfort of your own computer. You will use a web interface to a network of seismometers run by the Northern California Earthquake Data Center, at the University of California, Berkeley. From the seismograms you make, you will be able to measure the time it took for the seismic waves to travel from the… Read more
Geo_p016
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Computer with Internet access and printer
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
When an earthquake occurs, seismic shock waves travel out through the earth from the source of the event. The shock waves travel through the earth or along the Earth's surface, and can be recorded at remote monitoring stations. Some of the waves that travel through the earth are blocked or refracted by the Earth's liquid core, which means that monitoring stations located certain distances from the earthquake do not detect these waves. This creates a "seismic shadow" that you can use to… Read more
Geo_p022
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This project uses the Global Earthquake Explorer program to download and analyze data from a global seismic network. In order to do this project you will need to be comfortable installing and working with a new program on your computer. This project requires a computer with high speed Internet access. You will also need to understand some basic trigonometry. You should be comfortable with determining the lengths of the sides of right triangles when given an angle and the length of one side. Experience looking at seismograms is useful but not required.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever dreamed of a world where you could take the scraps from last night's dinner and toss them into your car's fuel tank and make gas? Well, we're not quite in "Back to the Future" yet, but in this energy science fair project, you'll discover that food scraps, dead plants, sawdust, and other decaying organic matter, called biomass are a rich source of energy. You can get energy out of biomass by burning it, turning it into a liquid, or by turning it into a gas called biogas. You've… Read more
Energy_p027
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites This science fair project requires access to a well-ventilated area, away from open flame or electrical sparks.
Material Availability A small quantity of fresh cow manure is required.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety This science fair project produces a small amount of a flammable gas, so it must be conducted in a well-ventilated area, away from any source of open flame or source of electrical sparks. Use caution and have an adult's help when using the bleach, as it can cause chemical burns.
Science Fair Project Idea
We've all heard that hurricanes draw their immense power from warm ocean waters. Of course, many factors contribute to the formation and growth of a hurricane, but can we expect to find that the warmer the water, the stronger the hurricane will be? This project shows you how to use online data archives to investigate this question. Read more
OceanSci_p005
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Familiarity with computers and web browser is helpful for this project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever played paintball with your friends? Wonder how you can improve your game? Paintball guns use compressed gas to shoot paint-filled pellets at high speed, and with good accuracy. The flight path of the ball is determined by its speed and the angle at which it is shot, relative to the ground. In this sports science fair project, you will explore the ballistics of paintballs, focusing on how drag and other factors affect the results. Read more
Sports_p054
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should have access to a paintball gun, be familiar with how to shoot it safely, and have access to an open area where you can shoot it. This project has a fairly involved procedure, since you are measuring several parameters (velocity, time of flight, distance) and also comparing these measurements to what you would expect based on calculations. Feel free to customize the procedure based on your interests.
Material Availability Specialty items: You will need access to a paintball gun and accessories, including safety gear for you and for three helpers, as well as an instrument to measure velocity of the paintballs. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury is possible, so wear eye protection. Adult supervision is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
The Sun is the ultimate source of the energy that powers weather systems on Earth. Geomagnetic storms are sun-powered storms in the upper atmosphere, arising from energized particles that are periodically ejected by the Sun. Among other effects, geomagnetic storms can wreak havoc with earth-orbiting satellites, and disrupt satellite communications. The global positioning system (GPS) is a network of 24 earth-orbiting satellites that constantly sends radio signals through the earth's… Read more
Weather_p009
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites You will need access to a WAAS-capable GPS receiver for this project. You will need to understand how to operate the GPS receiver. Note that WAAS signals are only available in North America.
Material Availability You will need a WAAS-capable GPS receiver to do this project. Note that WAAS signals are only available in North America.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Some molecules can be either left- or right-"handed." The left- and right-handed molecules have the same number and type of atoms, and their chemical structures look identical, but they are actually mirror images of each other. Many naturally occurring molecules have this property, called chirality. Chiral molecules can interact with polarized light in an interesting way—they rotate the plane of polarization. This chemistry science fair project describes how to make a homemade polarimeter… Read more
Chem_p073
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This is a "do-it-yourself" kind of science fair project. It may present challenges that will require some technical creativity. Some experience working with digital pictures and videos on a computer will be useful.
Material Availability To do this science fair project, you should already have the following materials and equipment: a laptop computer or other device with a flat-panel screen and a digital camera that takes short videos.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Use caution when working with glass panes, as they can cut if they are broken.
Science Fair Project Idea
Do you ever wonder how pirates sailed the seven seas? The two most important things a pirate could have (besides a parrot and big hat) were a compass and an accurate watch. Ancient navigators didn't know about compasses, so how did they know where they were going? Could they have used the stars to know which way to go? Read more
Astro_p008
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No hazards
Science Fair Project Idea
If you've ever played or watched basketball, you might already know that your chances of successfully banking a shot on the backboard are higher in certain positions on the basketball court, even when keeping the distance from the hoop the same. Ever wondered what would account for this? Do you think you could actually explain this using geometry? This science project will put your knowledge of geometry and algebra to good use. You will calculate and quantify how much more difficult it is to… Read more
Sports_p064
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should have a familiarity with basic algebra.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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