Filtering water is a common topic in middle school, as part of an ecology unit, or in the study of pond water, or when straight out studying how water filters work. Here is an idea for a simple experiment.
Recently, Google sponsored their first ever Science Fair and since they are Google, they were able to get plenty of great sponsors like National Geographic,Scientific American, Lego, and CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The age range for this event was 13-18 so there was plenty of room for grade 8 science fair projects as they fall into the age range.
Before you think that regular every day kids could never end up at Google, I want to share with you what the 13-14 year old division winners did for an 8th grade project, as proof that quick and easy science fair projects are just as good as the more complicated ones, and in fact they may even help you learn better science and win some awards to boot.
Lauren Hodge, from the USA, won the 13- and 14-year-old age group with her project about marinating chicken. Really! Her hypothesis was that using lemon juice in the marinade will decrease the amount of carcinogens released when cooking the chicken. See what I mean, a simple concept. It all boils down sometimes to how scientific the experiment was. In fact when you look at the Google judging criteria, it should look very familiar, as it is based on the steps to the scientific method to a tee.
They divided the entries into groups, 13-14 year olds, 15-16 year olds and 17-18 year olds, that came from all over the world. There were initially 7,500 projects entered, but not in a live science fair, their project write ups and a video presentation were submitted. Then a panel of teachers went through and rated each project initially on the powerpoint/video presentation, and then as they whittled it down on eight different scientific criteria, which ended up with 60 semi-finalists. The process continued until the top 15 were flown to the Googleplex where they presented their projects to an all-star panel of judges.
For the complete news article on this topic click here. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-20078967-76/whip-smart-whippersnappers-at-google-science-fair/#ixzz1T7YnER49
Guess what was the make or break piece of the power point/videos? Which is what they used for the first cut….If the question, hypothesis and conclusion were clearly stated. Understanding and applying the scientific method is the core of all grade 8 science fair projects, and all other grades to boot!
With your local science fairs, that are also split into age levels, and the judges will be looking for the same eight criteria as the Google judges, which is all about how well you represent each step of the scientific method, and your enthusiasm, interest, research and quality of the display. Often the top middle school winners go onto a regional science fair, other places it is just self contained.
Now the 13-14 year olds won $25, 000 scholarship money, which a normal school could never do, and the top prize was $50,000. They also got the chance to do cool things the business partners brought with them, but the point is each one of these winning and often simple science fair projects started off in their own school science fair as won the opportunity to go further to regional fairs. At some point they decided or were encouraged to submit to the Google Science Fair.
So you never know how far your grade 8 science fair projects can take you!
I’m not a very big fan of science and it wasn’t my favorite subject at school; however, if there’s one thing about science that I remember fondly and would still be interested in today, it’s the practical projects we did in middle school. It was a time when I enjoyed science class, simply because most lessons were hands-on in that we were taught how and encouraged to make working models of theories we had listened to the previous class. And so we made working volcanoes that spouted realistic ash in chemistry class; we designed siphons that allowed us to see how water and other liquids could flow in the upwards direction, defying gravity, in physics class; and we grew our own plants and learned about photosynthesis by observing it firsthand in botany.
While some teachers would argue that projects are a waste of time, the majority know that they’re the best way to not just learn about science, but also remember what you’ve learnt throughout your life. Besides this, projects offer the following benefits too:
Science projects must be encouraged not just by teachers, but by school administrations as well in order to boost interest in the subject and encourage more students to base a career on it.
This guest post is contributed by Beatrice Owen, she writes on the topic of bachelors of science . She welcomes your comments at her email id: owen1.beatrice(@)gmail(.)com.
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!
Finding a science project for your eighth grader can be a challenge if you don’t know where to look. Luckily, you have several useful tools at your disposal to help you find a grade appropriate science project that will interest your student.
One of the best strategies for finding the right science project for your eighth grader would be to talk with their science teacher, especially if the science project was assigned through school. By consulting with their teacher, you’ll be able to clarify all of the project guidelines and requirements, and be able to find a project that is relevant to your student’s course work.
Another great place to find good eighth grade science projects would be your local library. At the library you’ll find lots of books with helpful science project ideas and explanations, all of which are from a reliable source. Additionally, if you need help finding something suitable for your eighth grader, you can always ask for the help of a librarian to point you in the right direction.
Finally, the internet is a great way to find eighth grade science projects, but with so much information out there, you have to know where to start. You can do a general search, but it might be wise to be more specific, looking for “8th grade science projects, earth sciences” or “8th grade science projects, physics,” depending on what your student is interested in. You can also find great online guides, often for free, that are loaded with science projects, directions on what materials you’ll need and how to complete them. To get started finding a science project idea, you can try the free project guides at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.
The internet can give you an advantage when looking for a science project for you middle school student. You are sure to be able to find the perfect 8th grade science project for your student that will fulfill their science project requirements, and hopefully follow their interests as well. The thing is to know where to look to get the best and most results.
Start your search by looking for science projects that suit your 8th grader’s science interests. For example, if they want to do a science experiment that has to do with star gazing or space, you can search “8th grade science projects, astronomy” to be sure to find a project that is appropriate for their grade level. However, you will probably need to find a more specific science project website in order to get the best results.
There are certain websites that exist to 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 http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx as well as http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html. 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 8th 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.
The internet is definitely one of the most diverse tools at your disposal when trying to find a great 8th grade science project. You will be able to find a fun and eduational science project, no matter what your student’s interests, that will satisfy the school science project fair requirements. Knowing where to look is the trick.
Always start with a general search for a project in your child’s area of interest. For example, “8th grade science projects, marine biology” or “8th grade science projects, earth sciences.” This route might yield some useful results, but you may be at risk of becoming overwhelmed with too many results, or too many projects that don’t suit your child’s curriculum or interests.
You can try searching for websites that contain large inventories of science project ideas, or if you are having difficulty narrowing down your results, browse several subject areas at once. Very often these databases, like the ones found at http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx or http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html, are capable of being searched by grade level or subject, and have reliable science projects that are age appropriate for your student. This might be a better strategy than finding a project idea on an independently run website that might not be trustworthy. You can also find a free online 8th grade science project guide at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf
It can be overwhelming when your middle school student comes home with that annual science fair project packet. They often need help finding a topic that interests them and can execute on their own. Luckily, the internet is full of resources that will help you find middle school science projects for every students’ interest, with all the necessary materials and steps to get it done.
You can begin searching for a relevant science project after finding out what area of science your middle school student is most interested in. For example, if your child wants to do a chemistry-related project that is appropriate for their age and grade level, you might search for “chemistry science fair projects, 6th grade.” If you can’t easily find a feasible or clear project by just using a search engine, you can also try using a science project guide or inventory online. Some websites like http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html or http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx have searchable databases of science fair projects that you can narrow down by subject matter or grade level. Another good resource to try is the free middle school science project guide at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.
You’re sure to be able to find a fun and educational science project on the internet no matter what your student’s interest. Just remember to always be safe and to have fun!
It can be overwhelming when your middle school student comes home with that annual science fair project packet. Sure, they are supposed to choose a project that interests them and execute it on their own, but they often need help finding a topic, an executable project, and finding the materials they need to get it done. Luckily, the internet is full of resources that will help you find middle school science projects for every students’ interest, with all the necessary materials and steps to get it done.
After finding out what area of science your middle school student is most interested, you can begin searching for a relevant science project with more narrow results. For example, if your child wants to do a chemistry-related project that is appropriate for their age and grade level, you might search for “chemistry science fair projects, 6th grade.” If you can’t easily find a feasible or clear project by just using a search engine, you can also try using a science project guide or inventory online. Some websites like http://www.youth.net/nsrc/sci/sci.index.html or http://www.akronlibrary.org/DBS/SFDB/Default.aspx have searchable databases of science fair projects that you can narrow down by subject matter or grade level. Another good resource to try is the free middle school science project guide at http://www.middle-school-science-projects.com/guide.pdf.
No matter what your student’s interest, you’re sure to be able to find the internet for a fun and education science project. Just remember to always be safe, and to have fun!
Kids of all ages are always curious about how the world works, why things are the way they are, or how stuff works. By engaging their attention with a fun science experiment, you can help them understand the world around them, and hopefully have fun at the same time. Unless you’re a teacher or scientist though, it might be tricky to know what experiments are best, what materials you need, or what to look for in an experiment. Luckily, if you know where to look, you just might have access to lots of great kids science experiment ideas in places you visit everyday.
Public libraries or school libraries often carry books geared toward children full of fun and age appropriate projects. Be sure to look for one with good instructions and pictures to help you along. Your child’s teacher or science teacher might also be a great resource for finding a science experiment. Asking a teacher is also a good idea, as they might be able to help you find a kids science experiment idea that is relevant to what your child’s class is studying in science at that time. Finally, the internet has many websites geared toward science experiments for kids. Searching science experiments for kids will yield tons of helpful results, many of which are free like the science project guides you can find at http://www.24hourscienceprojects.com/guide.pdf Remember to have fun by doing a project your child is interested in, and always be safe!