Archives for September 2010

Dirty Laundry Lessons

Science at Home:  Dirty Laundry Lessons, Part 1

It shouldn’t have come as a shock to my family that I went to college and majored in a scientific field.  After all, I showed an early proclivity for experimentation, long before the days of chemistry class or science fair projects.  At the ripe age of 9, I conducted an “experiment” to see what types of materials burn faster.  (NOTE:  Do NOT try this at home, or at least not without extreme adult supervision!!)  All went well until I tested a Kleenex…which I promptly had to drop into the metal trash can…filled with Kleenex…well, you get the picture.  A few seconds later and after a mad fire stomp by several members of my family (Metal trash cans get hot when engulfed in flame and cannot be carried out of the house; that was my mom’s take home lesson), my first science lab was finished.  As was the carpet.  Not a stellar start to my science career, but it didn’t slow me down.  Much. 

However, I would like to suggest some fun and SAFER “science-y” things to do at home.  These ideas can be used as a simple introduction to the scientific method, or you can take it further and use it as a starting board for a full-blown science project.  First off, we’ll start in the laundry room, since I seem to spend a large portion of my life there! 

1)  What are the effects of hard/soft water on detergents?  Or, what are the effects of certain salts on detergents?  To do this experiment, create a universal stain on several cloth strips(all made of same material).  Be sure to leave some material unstained as a point of comparison.  To create a consistent stain, consider soaking in something like grape juice or coffee.  Stain all the material at the same time for the same amount of time.  Start with ½ liter of purified water in several 2 Liter bottles (this will be your washing machine).  Leave one “machine” as purified water only.  This is your control.  To each of the other two liters, add salts.  You can try different salts (Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium), OR try using different amounts of the same salt in different two liters.  Add a cloth strip and the same amount of detergent to each “machine.”  I recommend using only a teaspoon of detergent.  Count the number of shakes (do whatever your arms can handle; but do your best to shake each two liter the same amount of time/number of shakes).  

Oh, my mind races with the possibilities with this one:  comparing detergents, amounts of salts, lather, time, etc.  However, try to keep it simple.  Only test one thing at a time. 

Well, tune in next time for more laundry lab.  Who knows, if nothing else, you might get Suzie or Johnny interested in science and the upcoming science fair.  Or, at the very least, maybe they’ll do the laundry for you next time!

Yours in Science,
Cecilia
PS:  Want more details on a quick, easy science project….

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Science Projects for Sixth Graders

Finding the right science project topic for students at the 6th grade level might be somewhat difficult. It has to be something they can understand and do mostly for themselves, but also be able to hold their interest, and teach them something.  By using  the resources you have readily at your disposal, including your child’s science teacher, the library, and the internet, you can help find the perfect 6th grade science project  for your student

First, consult with your child’s science teacher when trying to find a good science project idea, especially at the 6th grade level. This way, you’ll be sure to know what the class is currently studying to keep the project relevant but not redundant, and clarify any requirements or deadlines.

Next, science project books, easily found at the public library, are reliable and easy to use resources for finding and executing a science project. Using the library is a great way to teach your child to search for books by subject matter, in this case looking for science projects or the subject matter that interests them, and to ask for help from the librarian if you need it. 

 Finally, the internet is a great place to find huge amounts of 6th grade science project ideas, but you have to know where to look to save yourself time. While you can begin with a general search for science project ideas, it might be a good idea to search more specifically for websites like http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx that are searchable by subject matter or grade level, so that you aren’t finding projects that are too easy or difficult for your student. Another great tool is the free project guides found at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.

Check out 24 Hour Science Projects

today and get your science experiments!

Seventh Grade Science Projects on the Internet

science materials stop watchWhen using the internet to your advantage, you are sure to find the perfect 7th grade science project for your student. It can help fulfill their science project requirements, and hopefully follow their interests as well. But you must know where to look to get the best and most results.

Have your 7th grader begin by searching more generally for science projects that suit their science interests. For example, if they want to do a science experiment that has to do with star gazing or space, you can search “7th grade science projects, astronomy” to be sure to find a project that is appropriate for their grade level. However, that may need to find a more specific science project website in order to get the best results.

There are websites that host whole databases of science projects for kids of all ages, and can be searched by grade level or subject area. Some great science project databases include The Akron Library as well as Youth.net. These websites that are intended specifically for students searching for feasible and fun science projects will likely be more reliable and easy to use than doing a broader search, where the results might be hard to verify. Another good resource are the 7th grade project guides available for free at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf, that are designed with the usual hypothesis through results structure in mind.

Visit 24 Hour Science Projects

get started on your science experiment today!

Choosing a Seventh Grade Science Projects

Choosing a 7th grade science project can be daunting. Maybe you’re trying to think of a fun and educational project to do with your favorite middle school student. There are several places you can look to try to find age appropriate and feasible science projects including the internet, your child’s teacher, even the public library. The most important thing is to use your resources to find a project you and your student can actually execute, and enjoy at the same time. 

When choosing a 7th grade science project topic, one of the best places to begin is by talking with your child’s science teacher. They can give you advice based on your what the science class is currently studying, and make sure that the project your child chooses fulfills the project requirements for the class. Their teacher might also be able to recommend a good science project book, which brings us to our next useful tool, the public library. The library is full of kid friendly science books, even books geared specifically toward science projects for any age. A great science project book might be helpful as you know you’d be using reliable information that will walk you through the experiment. 

The internet is also a great resource for finding a 7th grade science experiments. Either by searching specifically for a type of project i.e. “7th grade science project, chemistry,” or by searching for a database full of science projects like http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx or http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html, you’re sure to be able to find an assortment of science experiments that your child will be interested. Another great find on the internet is the free science project guide at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.

Go to 24 Hour Science Projects

for your science experiments today!

Science Topics on the Internet for Eighth Graders

The perfect science topic for your 8th grader can be found on the internet.  It is an amazing resource to use when trying to find that important project that is challenging, educational, but also grade level appropriate and interesting for your student.  Internet searches allow for the type of specificity that will help you find a science project that balances all of these crucial elements. 

Once your child has decided what type of science project they would like to attempt, you can search for projects along with more specific search criteria like their grade level, or the subject matter. For example, “8th grade science project ideas, butterflies.” This should hopefully yield plenty of results. It’s important to narrow your results with criteria like your child’s grade level, age, or a subject matter so that you can be sure you are getting results that will be useful to you. 

No matter what subject your student decides they want to do a project on, it might be wise to browse an online database of 8th grade science projects, like those found at http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx or http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html, which you can look through by grade level or subject area. Databases like these are full of ideas and instructions, and are easier to use than just a simple general search that might bring you to an unreliable site. Another great resource for one-stop 8th grade science project ideas are the free guides found at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.

Visit 24 Hour Science Projects

and get your science experiment today!