Simple Science Fair Projects and The Power of Observation

Observe the World Around You and You Will Find  Great Simple Science Fair Projects

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simple science experimentsOne of the important steps in choosing  some simple science fair projects  is to observe your environment and pose questions and then make predictions. Then you follow the steps to a good scientific experiment  using the scientific method, and explore it and either prove or disprove your predictions.

Doesn’t this sound so simple?

Simple that is until it is your kid sitting there saying, “I don’t know what to do…” or “I don’t know what they mean to look around….” One of the problems is everyone over thinks this step and thinks it has to be some fancy science concept, rather than a simple question you probably have asked a million times yourself, without realizing it is the seed to a great, quick and easy science fair project.

Here is a perfect example of finding simple science fair projects where the topic is definitely something that interests all kids and then you experiment with it:

What is something all kids like and teachers do everything possible to keep it out o school?
GUM!

So what can you do with gum? Here is one experiment I saw online:

  • Study what the different temperatures of water does to the gum.

Hopefully you can see the makings of a great project, and how cool the charts and display will look when you are finished.

  • You pick one type/brand of gum to begin with.
  • Make a list of the attributes taste, can you bend it, ease of chewing, how long the flavor lasts, can you blow bubbles, and whatever the kids come up with.
  • Then with cold, warm, hot and boiling water keep track of the difference it makes with each attribute and chart it. You should be able to make a conclusion on what water does to gum at these temperatures.

 

  • Once you do that, older students might want to take it a step further and expand and do the same thing with different brands, sugarless, fruit flavored, bubble gum, gum balls, etc to see if it does the same thing to all gum, or whatever.

How fun the display board will look with all those different types of gum and the charts!

This is a simple example of looking in your environment, posing a question and experimenting with it. It is quick, simple and a great way to learn how to use the steps to the scientific method, without even realizing it.

When you think about it, you run into these simple little questions all the time, particularly in the kitchen. Does hot or cold water make the brownies better? How fast do ice cubes melt in different temperatures? Which brands of bread molds faster? and Does putting it in the refrigerator do any good? These are the kinds of questions that come up all the time and make great science fair projects.

Discover a great source with a supply of these quick, simple science fair projects that are kid tested and teacher approved with this link.

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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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!

Middle School Science Project Topics

Almost all middle schools require for their sixth, seventh and eighth graders to participate in their school’s science fair. The middle school fair has higher standards than an elementary school, sometimes leaving students feeling overwhelmed.

But take a deep breath. Here are five steps to a middle school science project that is easy and fun, but advanced enough to teach you something and make your teacher happy.
science project application

1. Pick the right type of science project. Most of the time, students are asked to do an experiment – although your teacher may call it ‘an investigatory project’. An experiment has to follow the scientific method. It has to be a repeatable test with measurable results that proves or disproves an hypothesis. You can’t submit a model of the solar system or a collection

2. Do the project yourself. Your parent can help you, but you should be the one doing the project – not the other way around.

3. Find a project that interests you. If you like what you’re doing, you’ll learn more. And if you’re learning, your project will show that you are interested. Teachers – and science fair judges – like that.

4. Make sure you follow the directions. You may be asked to include an abstract, project logs, charts and graphs with your project. Read the instructions closely, so you’ll get credit for all your hard work.

5. Create a great science project board. Give your project a clever title to attract attention. Use bright colors, attractive fonts, interesting props, and clear pictures. Check your spelling, and be very neat.

Middle School is a great time to learn and to grow. Your science project can be a part of that!

PS Get great guides for Middle School Science Projects here!