You can investigate how the geography of an area makes it prone to severe flash floods. Some areas, typically gullies or canyons, can flood extremely rapidly making it impossible to escape a flash flood. Compare the topography, or geographical shape, or these areas. What makes them prone to flash floods? Can you do an experiment showing how the flow of water increases as a channel narrows? Can you use topological maps of your region to identify areas at risk for flash floods? (NCAR, 2006;…
The ozone layer is important for blocking most of the harmful radiation that comes from the sun. You can find maps of the ozone layer and compare different regions of the globe for ozone coverage. Where are the problem areas? Is there a difference in ozone coverage between different hemispheres? Between populated and un-populated areas? In atmospheric regions over land masses or over bodies of water? Some scientists think that aerosols in the air are breaking down the ozone layer. You can do…
Our forests are a very important natural resource that need to be managed wisely. We use wood products for many different purposes: building materials, paper, cardboard, furniture, fuel, etc. How can we use wood products in a sustainable manner? You can do experiments that examine the growth time of different tree species to see which are good candidates for tree farming. Which types of lumber are most sustainable? You can also compare the effects of clear cutting vs. thinning a forested…
When you go to the beach, you may not know if the beach is natural or man-made. The popularity of sandy beaches prompted developers in the past to bring in sand to cover rocky shorelines and turn them into more popular sandy beaches. However, the actions of the tides, currents and waves carried the extra sand out into the reef, endangering the reef and the creatures living on it. You can use a water table to conduct experiments with sand movements and reefs. How is sand moved by water? How…
The conversion of forested to unforested areas has been occurring since humans began to impact and change their environments during the agricultural revolution. Recently deforestation has become a global problem, particularly for developing industrial countries and countries with very large populations. You can use satellite mapping resources to investigate the connection between urbanization, population growth and deforestation. You can also investigate the connection between deforestation…
The sustainability of our planet's resources ultimately depends upon our actions as citizens. How much we drive, what we eat, whether we have pets, and whether we recycle are all individual actions that affect the sustainability of the Earth's resources. Learn how ecological footprinting works and figure out how big your footprint is. How big is your family's footprint? Your school? A local business? Can you propose ways to increase or decrease the size of your ecological footprint? Develop…
Disinfectants are products that kill harmful bacteria that inhabit surfaces. Disinfectants can be in household and personal cleaning products. Which products work best? Compare different household cleaning products, like bleach or Lysol, to see which ones kill the most bacteria. Compare different brands of antibacterial hand soap or dish soap to see which brand is the most effective. How do hand sanitizers work? Compare rub-on hand sanitizers to see if they work better than alcohol, or compare…
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Average (6-10 days)
Knowledge about growing and testing bacteria
Specialty items, like bacteria and the media to grow them on, can be ordered from such as .
Low ($20 - $50)
Follow all safety warnings printed on the cleaning solutions you are using. Read the before starting any experiments. Adult supervision is recommended. may be necessary.
It is important to ensure that we all have good clean water to drink that is not contaminated by heavy metals or chemicals. One common pollutant in a water supply is lead in old pipes or paints that can leach into the water and cause lead poisoning. There are different kits available for testing the presence of lead and other contaminants in water. Test your water supply, and also the water in some local ponds, lakes or streams. The same contaminants that can harm you can also harm wildlife. …
If you live in a humid environment, then you know that summer is not only hot, it is downright muggy. You can test the effect of humidity on temperature by measuring the temperature and humidity in your bathroom while running the shower. You can also use historical weather data to compare average seasonal temperatures in humid (e.g., Florida) and dry (e.g., Arizona) regions. How does humidity relate to temperature? Pressure? Why do humid environments tend to be coastal or tropical? How does…
Wind can make a cold day colder, or a hot day more pleasant. Use weather data to test the effect of wind on the temperature. How much of a change on the perceived temperature can the wind make? How is wind shear calculated? How can a wind barrier, like a wind breaker, keep you warm even if there is no insulating material? Build an instrument to measure wind speed or direction. (FI, 2006; GLOBE, 2006; NCAR, 2006; NOAA, 2006; Unisys, 2006; Weather Underground, 2006; WMO, 2006)
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