Archives for January 2009

Really Corny Chemistry Joke

In honor of our youngest son’s first day of high school chemistry, I present you with really (really) corny chemistry joke that you’ve probably heard before:

Atom 1: “I think I lost an electron.”
Atom 2: “Are you sure?”
Atom 1: “Yeah, I’m positive.”

To be totally honest, I’d never heard it before. And I laughed.

Check out our science project guides at 24 Hour Science Projects!

Free Science Projects

fifth grade science projectFree science projects are all over the internet. A simple search for free projects gives up thousands of results. Unfortunately, in most cases, these ‘free’ projects prove that the old adage “you get what you pay for” is true.

For students headed to the science fair, most free science projects don’t give enough information to get the student started. They give an idea, but no procedure, no directions for an experiment, and no hints on where to find research information. That’s where our project guides come in. They are not free, but the savings in time will make up for the cost.

Our project guides are organized exactly like a science project board. First of all, we help you figure out how to write the purpose and formulate an hypothesis. We give you a list of supplies – and easy places to find them. We have step-by-step instructions that will be your procedure. We tell you exactly what data to gather, and how to do it. We also give you a list of online and offline resources that will make research a breeze.

For most parents, one of the biggest headaches of a project is making charts and graphs. For that, we give you charts that are preformatted and have formulas built in. You plug in your data, and your results are evident. No free science project guide does that!

Our science projects have been performed many times over by teachers and parents. Their experience makes our science project guides easy for your student to do. They’ve been tested to make sure they work, that the instructions are clear and that they’re acceptable  (and impressive!) to science teachers and science fairs.

We don’t really advertise it, but support for our guides is free. Once you purchase from us, we’ll be there to help you if you have questions. And you can come back to the projects again and again – even using them for future science fairs.

Check out our science guides at We know you’ll be glad you didn’t settle for a free science project!


Selecting A Science Fair Project Topic, by Wesley Skiles

As you begin the process of developing a science fair project, the hardest part may likely be choosing a topic. This is a strange problem since the variety and range of options is infinite, yet it is difficult to imagine the perfect one for you. There are also different types of projects (data or survey research and experimentation for example) that also complicate the matter. Science fair projects are often done out of an educational requirement and designed for learning. However, science fair projects are also practical and enjoyable (if you choose the right topic).

The primary key in determining what topic to work on is observation. Science is all around us even though we pass by it without consideration. We simply need to slow down, stop even, and watch. Look for the unexpected. Look for things that make you ask ‘why did it do that?’ Let me put this another way. Recently, there has been an influx of television shows based on crime scene investigation. What these investigators do, is look at the objects in front of them and then have to figure out what variables causes those objects to end in its present state. They even run multiple experiments with different variable to find the test results that match the crime scene. This analogy is a little backward for our sake since investigators have the result of some undermined set of variables while science fair projects manipulate variables to find the results. However, the experiments done by investigator are very similar to what you might do in a science fair project.

Here are some ideas for coming up with a science fair project topic. As I mentioned above, observe. Break things down, ask ‘why’ or ‘how does that work’. Also, looking for topics related to your personal interests and hobbies will be extremely beneficial. Imagine working with something you already have a passion for. It would give you motivation, even excitement, for your project. It will also allow you to gain more insight and knowledge into your hobby. Other ideas can be found in magazines, encyclopedias, libraries, science textbooks and even talking with older relatives. If you are still in need of a project topic, seek out professionals in your community. They are often excited to share insight into their field of expertise and can make suggestions on the best ideas to start with. You may also gain ideas by checking out local hospitals, universities, government or state departments (like the Department of Agriculture or Department of Transportation), zoos, museums, aquariums, greenhouses, computer centers and water treatment plants. If you choose a topic related to any of these locations, it may work out that you may be able to work with these facilities for the purpose of observation or even basic research.

In determining what topic to explore, be sure to check out the resources listed in this article. Make notes of things that interest you or raise intrigue. Explore ideas that appeal to your passions and interests, so that you may set yourself up to succeed. The important thing is to find something that you will enjoy. Remember to slow down and observe. Everything can be broken down into a science. Good luck in your quest for a great science fair project topic.

Wesley Skiles is creator of and has worked in fields related to electricity electronics and hydraulics.

Middle School Science Projects – A Guide

great science project for kidsScience Projects were easier in elementary school. Back then, you could submit a model rocket, an egg sucked into a bottle, or a simple science report on electricity. It’s different in middle school. Middle School science teachers want creative ideas, specific elements, in depth research, and detailed logs of the whole science fair process.

Finding a middle school science project that meets all these criteria has always been a challenge for our family. Our teachers wanted an experiment based, investigative project for the science fair. There are five different types of science projects, but most of the books in the library had projects that were actually demonstrations or models. It’s very important that you read the directions from your teacher and/or the science fair, and make sure that the project your child chooses fits into the right category – especially in middle school.

Here are the five types of projects.

1. Investigative projects – Most science fairs require students to submit an investigative science project. This type of project has an experiment that tests an hypothesis. The experiment will follow the scientific method, and may require a control group. (If you’re unfamiliar with this vocabulary, check out the free resource below!)

An example of an investigative project would be “How does salt affect the boiling point of water?” This can easily be tested by our experiment which adds different amounts of salt to water and recording the temperature at which it boils.

If you see the words experiment, scientific method, control and/or variable on the project instructions, you’ll probably need an investigative project. As mentioned before, they’re not easy to find. (Hint: We’ve got a whole pack of investigative projects at 24 Hour Science Projects…)

2. Demonstration projects – In this type of project a student demonstrate a scientific principle, and lots of time the teacher wants it presented in front of the class as an oral report. There is no true experiment performed, because there won’t be a control or different variables. (Another hint: We’ve got five demonstration project guides in our “Watch This!” Science Project guides.

3. Research project – Basically this is a science report. Students research a topic, and write what they discovered. Any type of science topic can be used for a research project.

4. Models – For a model project, models are built to explain a scientific principle or structure.

5. Collections – In this type of project a collection of objects is displayed to give an overview of a topic. An example would be a rock collection or a display showing pictures of various animals in a specific family.

Every middle school science fair will have slightly different criteria for projects. As you search for a project, make sure it’s the type of project your school requires. If you need help, check out “The Non-Scientist Parent’s Guide to Science Fair Projects“, which has guides for all the different types of science projects – including the experiment based ones! There is a vocabulary list that gives simple definitions to those vocabulary words you learned in middle school, but promptly forgot.

Believe it or not, science projects are designed to help students learn about science. Figure out which type of project your school requires, and you’ll be one step closer to showing your child how much fun science can be!

Find all sorts of science projects with our excellent guides, including 24 Hour Science Projects, five experiment based projects. We also have five Watch This! demonstration projects, which are designed to be presented in front of a class. Our project guides are perfect for a middle school science project!


Getting Back to Your Science Projects Guides

When you purchase a set of science project guides from us, we give you a special link that allows you to access your guides from any computer. This link does not expire, so you can come back again and again. In fact, if you want, you can use your guide next year. You can pick a different project, or just do a variation on a project you’ve done before.

Some families purchase our guides, and use the same project for kids in two different grades, just modifying the experiments slightly. Other parents purchase the bonus pack (which has TEN project guides) and never have to worry about finding a science project again.

If you lose your link, don’t worry. All you have to do is email us with a bit of purchase information, and we’ll look up your information, and send it back to you – fast!

These are just some of the many reasons that 24 Hour Science Projects make the very best choice for science projects for your kids!


Science Articles

I occassionally write articles for other places on the internet. Some of them are about science, and some of them are about ADHD. Today, I added a ‘widget’ on the 24 Hour Science Project blog to display some of the writings, the ones from “Ezine Articles“.

It will display at the bottom of that right hand column, updating automatically as I write more stuff! I’m old enough that such technology still fascinates me. AND I’m old enough to still be tickled when I figure out how to get such technology to work…

Dependent and Independent Variables – Figuring Out Which is Which

I got an email from a customer today. She was having trouble distinguishing the independent variable from the dependent. She’s doing the “Vitamin ‘C’itrus” project, in which you count the number of iodine indicator drops added to several samples of fruit juice, thus determining how much vitamin C is present in each sample.

Here’s my response: Remember, an Independent variable is what “I” change. So in this experiment, the independent variable would be the types of fruit. The dependent variable is what changes because of the independent variable (the type of fruit). And since the number of drops depends on the type of fruit, that would be the dependent variable.

Another example, from our guide:

Variables – When doing a science experiment, there are things that you, as the scientist, control to make sure your test results are dependable:
Independent Variable – The independent variable is the thing that you change in the experiment. All the other things in your experiment should stay the same. For example, in our experiment the independent variable is the type of fertilizer. We’ll use the same kind of pot, soil, and plant. We’ll have the plants get the same amount of light and stay in the same room at the same temperature. We’ll add the same amount of water. The only thing that will change is the kind of fertilizer.
Dependent Variable – The dependent variable is the thing that changes because of the independent variable. For us, that would be the height of the plant. The height of the plant changed because we changed the type of fertilizer.
Control – The Control is the group in which nothing changes at all. In the fertilizer experiment, that would be the group of plants that only was given water with no fertilizer.

For more information – including step by step instructions – on this project, check out 24 Hour Science Projects.


Fun Science Projects

Fun science projects are the heart’s desire of every elementary and middle school student headed to the science fair. To most kids, a science project simply has to be fun. Frankly, most teachers share this view. From a teacher’s standpoint, it’s much better for a student if he or she is interested in the topic being studied.

Of course, a fun science project isn’t the final goal. The purpose of a science project is to teach the child about science. To do that, teachers and science fair administrators usually have strict guidelines about what a project or experiment must include. Experiments must usually follow the scienctific method. Demonstrations must explain a scientific principle. All projects must include research and references.

But a science project is also supposed to whet a child’s appetite for science. A fun and interesting project will make a student want to learn even more about our fascinating world and the scienctific laws that govern it. And a fun science project is a great way to do just that.

Here is a list of idea for science projects that will expand a child’s science knowledge and experience, but also meet that number one kid requirement – of fun.

1. Show how yeast gives off gas. Put yeast in a bottle of warm water, top it a balloon, and watch the balloon fill up with gas. This project can be done as a demonstration in front of the class, or as an experiment.

2. What can you do to speed up a chemical reaction? Plop Alka Seltzer into a cup of water and time it. Then crush the Alka Seltzer, and watch it fizz even faster after you put it into a cup of water. Still another time, reduce the amount of water, add Alka Selter, and see how fast it dissolves. This is a demonstration science project, and is terrific to wow classmates.

3. Explore the concept of density. Pour water, Karo syrup, rubbing alcohol, and vegetable oil into a tall container. Watch how they layer. Then drop in different items, like a penny, a cork, a Lego or a candle, and see where they float – or sink. The concept of density is advanced enough for middle schoolers, but can still be understood by kindergarteners.

4. Show how a chicken egg is a cell with a selectively permeable membrane. Soak a raw egg in vinegar for a weekend. The shell will come off. Then put the egg into dark syrup and watch what happens! This is another project that can be done as an investigation or a demonstration.

5. Rub a sheet of plexiglass with a wool sock, then show how balloons and hair stick to it. Or, try make a ball of aluminum foil dance, as shown in this YouTube video:

Detailed instructions for these projects are available at You’ll also find all sorts of reference materials to help with the science involved. We’ll definitely be able to steer you in the right direction as you search for fun science projects.



Photo by woodleywonderworks

Silly Science

Just for fun…here’s an email one of my kids got, with answers some kids supposedly wrote on their science exams. I don’t believe that for a minute, but they’re still cute. Incidentally, if you’re seriously after some silly science projects, check out our Watch This! Science Projects, and find out how to do all sorts of cool – and silly – science things that make you say, “Hey! Watch This!.

And now for those silly science questions…

Q: Name the four seasons.
A: Salt, pepper, mustard and vinegar.

Q: Explain one of the processes by which water can be made safe to drink.
A: Flirtation makes water safe to drink because it removes large pollutants like grit, sand, dead sheep and canoeists.

Q: How is dew formed?
A: The sun shines down on the leaves and makes them perspire.

Q: How can you delay milk turning sour?
A: Keep it in the cow.

Q: What causes the tides in the oceans?
A: The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon. All water tends to flow towards the moon, because there is no water on the moon, and nature hates a vacuum. I forget where the sun joins in this fight.

Q: What are steroids?
A: Things for keeping carpets still on the stairs.

Q: What happens to your body as you age?
A: When you get old, so do your bowels and you get intercontinental.

Q: What happens to a boy when he reaches puberty?
A: He says good-bye to his boyhood and looks forward to his adultery.

Q: Name a major disease associated with cigarettes.
A: Premature death.

Q: How are the main parts of the body categorized? ( e.g., abdomen)
A: The body is consisted into three parts — the brainium, the borax and the abdominal cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity contains the five bowels A, E, I, O, and U.

Q: What is the fibula?
A: A small lie.

Q: What does ‘varicose’ mean?
A: Nearby.

Q: Give the meaning of the term ‘Caesarian Section.’
A: The Caesarian Section is a district in Rome.

Q: What does the word ‘benign’ mean?’
A: Benign is what you will be after you be eight.


Easy Science Projects

easy science projects

"The Yeast Beast" is an easy science project about how yeast eats - and has enough gas to blow up a balloon!!

It’s Friday night, and you’ve been putting it off for a month. But on Monday, your child’s science project is due. And you haven’t even started. You need an easy science project that can be done quickly, but it has to be good…

It’s not an easy thing to find! Science projects that are easy often don’t meet the requirements of the teacher or the science fair. And projects that are fast often aren’t enough to teach your child anything. We know. With four boys, our family has waited until the last minute to do a science project more than once. But the good news is that there really are good science experiments that can be done quickly and easily.

Here are some hints to finding a quality, but easy science project:

~Find out exactly what type of science project your child needs. Some teachers want a demonstration science project that the child can present to the class. Some teachers want a science report. Occasionally, scientific models or nature collections will be allowed. Most teachers, however, want an experiment based science project that follows the scientific method.

~Ask your child for several ideas. He or she will be the scientist, after all!

~Do an internet or library search for “science projects on…” You may find exactly what you need this way.

~Make a list of possible projects. Go ahead and discard projects that are on advanced chemistry.

~Take a look at the ingredients and equipment. If there are items not readily available or are wickedly expensive, you’ll know that project isn’t for you. There are plenty of experiments that can be done with things in the home, or at the supermarket.

~Find out how long the science experiment or project takes. If it takes more than two or three days, you probably want to reconsider. The ideal easy science project will not take more than a few hours, in case something goes wrong and you have to repeat. And unfortunately, this does happen.

Although an easy science project isn’t always easy to find, you and your child can work together to find a project that is easy to do, but also educational and fun. Take a look at our Easy Science Project Guides, science projects that are fun, easy, affordable, and teacher pleasing!

Click here for YOUR easy science project!