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Science Fair Projects

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Developing Science Fair Projects:

Crystal Clear Science Fair Projects
"This site is more than just a list of science fair project ideas. It starts with section on how to choose the best science fair project by searching the Web, reading science magazines and journals, and paying attention to the latest science related news. Following this discussion is a list of science questions, which may spark a students's interest and help them settle on a project ides. Next up is section on researching your topic, including information on how to take good notes. A section on designing your experiment goes over the parts of these scientific method. All in all this site is an easy to navigate, straightforward resource to help students create successful science fair projects."
- quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Elmer's Science Project Planning
"Find everything you need to choose a project, organize your plan of action, work out a schedule, and see how an actual project was picked, planned and finished". The Science on Display link explains how to organize your display, design tips, examples of what other kids have done, where to get materials, etc.

Charts and Graphs - Twin Groves Middle School, Buffalo Grove, Illinois
"Once you have collected your data you need a way to display the data in a meaningful way. This is where the use of charts and graphs comes in. This section gives hints on which graph or chart is the best for your data and gives examples of graphs."

Internet Public Library - Science Fair Project Resource Guide
"Are you looking for some help with a science fair project? If so, then you have come to the right place. The IPL will guide you to a variety of web site resources, leading you through the necessary steps to successfully complete a science experiment."

Science Fair Central: Students Get Started Science Fair Handbook
The information on is adapted from "A Guide to the Best Science Fair Projects" by Janice VanCleave. This site discusses seven points to ensure science fair success including scientific method, topic research, project research, a sample project, project report, display, presentation and evaluation.

Science Fair Primer
Ted Rowan, a science teacher at Falmouth Public Schools in MA, created a primer to help his students develop science fair projects. The primer includes a range of topics including developing a purpose, choosing a topic, designing an experiment, analyzing the data, writing a research report, preparing an exhibit and presentation, and judging guidelines.

Science Service: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Information for parents, students and teachers designed to provide tips, hints, and links on how to make a science fair project a rewarding experience are included on this site. A student checklist, tips for a successful project, and information on writing a project abstract are included.

SCIFAIR.ORG: The Ultimate Science Fair Resource
Dr. John W. Gudenas provides information on science project: steps, hints, scientific method, and reports on this site. Guidelines and an example of a display board are covered. In addition, links to additional resources like an idea bank and an idea board which lists completed projects are also included.

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Science Fair Project Ideas:

Agricultural Ideas for Science Fair Projects
This site contains a few basic ideas for agricultural science projects. Use these ideas as a jumping-off place for coming up with your own project.

All Science Fair Projects
"This Web site has thousands of ideas and links to projects. The Search and browse sections of the site allow users to look through project ideas.  Enter key words, difficulty rating, or topic into the Search function. A list of projects that meet your criteria is then displayed. If you do not have a specific keyword or idea, click on Browse to explore projects by topic.  The projects listed on the site clearly identify their difficulty. Many of the projects are from third party sites. Clicking on the project description will take you away from All Science Fair Projects to the individual project site.  The site would be most useful for gathering project ideas. There is also a large list of links on the site. These links include tips, guides, information on the scientific method, and other resources." -quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Science Buddies
"Science Buddies is a non-profit organization “empowering students from all walks of life to help themselves and each other develop a love of science and an understanding of the scientific method.” The most interesting and unique feature of the Science Buddies site is their Topic Selection Wizard. This tool was developed to help students find a topic area for their science project. The tool is a survey to help determine the areas of science that are most interesting to the student. Once the student has completed the survey, project ideas are presented in the topic area the survey determined was most appealing to the student. Projects clearly state their level of difficulty. Each project is well organized with an introduction, questions to start background research, a bibliography, materials and equipment, and variations of the project." -quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Color Matters
Color Matters from J.L. Morton explores various topics related to color, such as "how color affects our minds", "how color affects our actions and reactions", "how color affects vision", "what colors attract children's attention", "how does color affect our memory", "can color suppress your appetite", etc.

DragonflyTV: Science Fair
"You can turn the investigations that you see on DragonflyTV into your own science fair project! Every investigation featured on the show has its own Web page where the kids describe exactly what they did. It follows what they asked, what kinds of experiments they tried, and what they found out. Then, we added other ideas for even more projects for you to try." If you can't decide on a project, you can click on a SPIN button and an idea will be selected to try!

Encyclopedia Smithsonian Science Fair
The Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History suggests great ideas for projects involving insects including: camouflage comparisons, comparisons of insects in soil samples, comparisons of insects that appear at the dark/full phases of the moon, etc.

Energy and Science Projects for Students
The California Energy Commission has provided science projects including peanut power, battery life, making your own lightning, using water to produce energy, and many more!

Scientific American: Ask the Experts
Having trouble brainstorming science project topics? This site provides answer to commonly asked science questions like "why is the night sky dark", "how does caffeine effect the body", "why does bruised fruit turn brown", "does hot water freeze faster than cold water", etc. Experts all over the country work with the people at Scientific American magazine to answer science questions. An index to previous questions is broken into categories like astronomy, biology, chemistry, computers, environment, geology, mathematics, medicine, and physics. Links that relate the answers to other material on the Internet are also included.

Science Made Simple
Taken from the Science Made Simple newsletter, this site contains four projects that explain scientific concepts through experimentation. For example, the project "why do leaves change color in the fall" provides a detailed answer section, a "learn more about it" section for additional information, and additional projects including separating colors in a green leaf using chromatography and observing how light affects color development.

Thinking Fountain
Learn how to make square bubbles, a fruit fly trap, indicator paper, grow your own mold, explore liquid layers, etc.

USGS Earthquake Hazards Program: Quake - Seismology at the Science Fair
"Earthquakes provide lots of great opportunities for science fair projects. For example, you can study when, where, and why earthquakes occur, build a seismometer, or study how well different types of structures survive earthquakes. This site lists some example science fair projects and other resources to help inspire you."

Virtual Science Fair
The Virtual Science Fair Web site is hosted by the Park Maitland School in Maitland, Florida. Projects created by fourth and sixth graders are available on this site. Each project link contain a photo of the project, introduction/purpose, hypothesis/questions, materials, procedure, results, conclusions, and links to related Web sites. This site in its development stage contains projects grouped by fifth and sixth grade levels.


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Teacher's Guide to Preparing for a Science Fair:

Access Excellence, Classrooms of the 21st Century: Step-by-Step Science Fair Success
Lily Ning, middle school science teacher, provides information on judging, assessment (scientific method rubric, notebook grade sheet, paper grade sheet, display grade sheet), guidelines (categories, basic 5 steps, humane association guidelines), pre-planning (parent letter, timeline, forming science fair groups), and student tasks (proposal, written plan, notebook guidelines, paper guidelines, display guidelines) on this detailed site.

Conducting Psychological Research for Science Fairs: A Teacher's Guide and Resource Material
"The American Psychological Association published this 29-page online booklet. This publication is a comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide to planning, designing, and conducting a psychology science fair project. It includes information on data analysis, presenting the project, and a science fair planning schedule, along with templates and sample forms for research projects. This resource provides guidance to high school teachers of psychology courses as the supervise students who wish to participate in science fair competitions in psychology." -quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Painless Science Fair Projects
Carolina Tips, an online newsletter contains articles and how-to tips for classroom teachers. The October 1995 newsletter contained an article on painless science fair projects. This article provides suggestions and information on how to develop a science fair project idea.

Science Fair Central: Teachers Get Ready Science Fair Organizer provides resources and tips for coordinating a science fair including a teacher's checklist, letters to parents, school science fair committees, science fair evaluation criteria, and a project display checklist.

Science Service: Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
Information for parents, students and teachers designed to provide tips, hints, and links on how to make a science fair project a rewarding experience are included on this site. A teacher checklist is included with a link to judging guidelines and evaluation criteria. A coordinator checklist, tips to encourage science fair participation and a parent's role in the process are also included.

The WWW Virtual Library: Science Fairs
"This Library page is an attempt to provide a single comprehensive list of every science fair accessible through the World Wide Web, whether of global or local scope." These pages can be browsed for science fair project ideas, examples of letters to parents, rules and regulations, judging standards, etc.


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Hands-on Science Demonstrations:

The Educator's Reference Desk Lesson Plans: Science
The AskERIC Lesson Plan Collection contains more than 1,100 unique lesson plans which have been written and submitted to AskERIC by teachers from all over the United States. Search the database for lesson plans in any science field including physics, paleontology, space sciences, meteorology, genetics, chemistry, biology, agriculture,botany, and many more! Grade levels are provided for each lesson.

Bill Nye the Science Guy
Choose the Home Demos link and use the pull down menu to select from over 40 experiments. Choose the Teachers Lounge link to view a huge list of Bill's favorite science books.

The Dragonfly TV Web site (sponsored by PBS), "is designed to get kids excited about science. By showcasing real kids finding science in the things they love, kids learn that science can be fun, edgy and exciting. Plus, the site is full of immediate ideas for hands-on science activities that kids love to do, both online and offline...Plus, for teachers, parents and community workshop leaders, we have "Teacher's Guides, chocked full of ideas for do-it-yourself investigations."

Edible/Inedible Science Experiments
"The MAD Scientist Network is maintained by a group of professionals and graduate students affiliated with institutions around the world. The site physically resides at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, MO . . . Herein lie a series of experiments demonstrating concepts in different branches of science. Some may be eaten before, during or after the experiment, and some definitely should not be eaten at all. Each file lists an expected age-level to carry out the experiment, as well as all safety measures that should be undertaken. Many of the experiments will require nothing more than quick rummaging through the kitchen cabinets."

Exploratorium: The Science Explorer
"Get messy, get airborne, get loud, get shocked!" Try these activities at home or in a classroom: bubbularium, spinning blimps, making a chip can into a simple camera, crystal creations, geodesic gumdrops, etc. Also visit Exploratorium: online exhibits for examples of "seeing exhibits".

Franklin Institute Activities
The Franklin Institute Science Museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania provides recommended science activities for school and home. Topics include bioscience, communications, computers, earth and physical sciences, energy, math, oceanography, space and transportation.

Fun Science Gallery
The text of this site can be read in either English or Italian. "In 1993 and 1994 the Italian magazine of scientific popularization Scienza & Vita published some articles which dealt with the construction of scientific instruments and performing laboratory experiments. Not long after, its author opened on the Internet Fun Science Gallery, a site devoted to the amateur scientist . . . Here you will find instructions showing you how to build scientific equipment from relatively cheap materials. Projects include instructions for making telescopes, microscopes, batteries, sidereal indicators, and several other instruments."

Genetic Science Learning Center: Online and hands-on activities (Teachers' Menu)
Great ideas for hands-on activities including building a DNA molecule, genes and blood type, how changes in genes cause genetic disorders, making a cell model, what makes a firefly glow, and more.

Helping Your Child Learn Science
The Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education prepared the contents of this book. An example activity found on this site is "Sticky Stuff". This activity explains that adhesives are made in factories or occur in nature. The child is asked to find items that are sticky. The children then make their own glue and attach "sticky" items to a collage. Project reflection questions are also included.

Jefferson Lab - Science Education
The Teacher Resources section contains hands-on activities, worksheets, and online puzzles & games. Sample hands-on activities include "A Different Way of Measuring", "Cold Stuff", "Hot and Cold", and "Magnets & Electromagnets".  Each hands-on activity includes lab pages, related activities, and answer keys. For example, within the "Cold Stuff" activity, students discover what type of coat will keep them the warmest by testing three materials to determine which one would be the best insulator.

McREL Products - Whelmers: McREL's Accessible Science Series
"These hands-on science activities are based on Steve Jacobs' Whelmers. They have been adapted to the McREL Web site and have been aligned with the National Science Education Standards (National Research Council, 1995) by the staff of the Eisenhower High Plains Consortium for Mathematics and Science." Sample activities include: balloon vacuum, Bernoulli cans, nickel karate, iron in cereal, air cannon, liquid rainbow, density balloon, and many more!

NASA Quest
The teachers' lounge of NASA Quest contains lesson plans, teaching tips, and more. For example, the micro gravity lesson provides a teacher's guide with 16 activities in science, mathematics, and technology.

Reeko's Mad Scientist Lab
Reeko explores principles of flotation (why a heavy boat floats while a small rock sinks) to capillary action in a series of home experiments. For example, Reeko uses two pieces of clay and a sink full of water to explore buoyancy and Archimedes' principle. Each experiment is classified as easy, intermediate, or advanced.

Rohm and Haas Company: Project Labs
"Project LABS is an academic-industrial partnership sponsored by Rohn and Haas. The program is designed to: foster collaboration between teachers and scientists to promote science education; develop hands-on science activities to supplement school curricula; demonstrate the practical side of science; show that science is fun!"! provides sample science experiments that can be performed in the classroom or home including making a balloon rocket, creating an electromagnet, and making a Cartesian diver. Bob Pflugfelder has been featured on television and in several magazines including People, Bop, and Nickelodeon Magazine.

Science NetLinks
Science NetLinks is part of the MarcoPolo Education Foundation. "At the heart of Science NetLinks are standards-based lesson plans that incorporate reviewed Internet resources, and can be selected according to specific benchmarks and grade ranges. Each lesson is tied to at least one learning goal and uses research-based instructional strategies that support student learning. The lessons are written for the teacher, but include student-ready materials" such as printable student sheets (student reproducibles), student E-sheets (online worksheets that enable students to engage directly in Internet activities), and/or hands-on activities. Sample lessons include "Insect Models", "Investigating Local Ecosystems", "Just Turn It Off", "Buoyant Boats", "Reaction Time", etc.

The Science Spot: Science Classroom
Cruise through a sampling of Mrs. Trimpe's favorite science activities aligned with the Illinois Learning Standards for Science (middle school level). The lessons have been created or adapted for use in her middle school classroom with the Prentice Hall science series. You will also find some great lessons submitted by other teachers.

University of Illinois Extension's Just for Kids: The Adventures of Herman
Herman the Worm will teach students all about worms and how to make your own worm bin. "Students will be able to: know the basic vocabulary of biology; gain knowledge of the principles of basic scientific research and application through the creation, observation, and maintenance of a worm bin; read critically and analytically by first viewing the biological life of the worm and creating an environment to support life; perform the computations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and manipulating figures to create a worm bin; make and use measurements; explain the interdependence within a closed system by creating a worm bin and apply that knowledge to human systems."

University of Illinois Extension's Just for Kids: Great Plant Escape
"Welcome to the Great Plant Escape, an elementary program for 4th and 5th grade students. Each of the lessons in this program is interdisciplinary, designed to introduce students to plant science and increase their understanding of how foods grow. Activities enhance student's math, science, language arts, social studies, music and art. You have many options in this program. Choose any or all of the suggested activities for your class. Many activities are for students to work independently and some are for group work."

ScienceNet: Science for Kids
This site sponsored by the American Chemical Society has activities that cover a wide variety of scientific topics. Includes articles, puzzles, and games for topics such as chemical and physical changes, characteristics of materials, solids, liquids,and gasses, motion and enery, your body, and lots more.

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Self-paced Science Exploration:

BrainPOP - Science
For each topic, ranging from scientific method to relativity, this site provides cartoon-based how-it-works movies, facts, and quizzes.

Cool Science for Curious Kids
"The Howard Hughes Medical Institute invites curious kids to explore biology...on screen, off screen, and in between." Fun projects include: explore plant-parts found in a salad, meet the dust and other strange stuff in the air, explore a miniature world without a microscope.

Educational Online Investigations
London's Natural History Museums Online Investigations contains opportunities for classes to participate in online surveys and investigations, explore simulated objects, and examine dinosaur data files. - Multimedia Activities
"Shockwave™ Activities create real-time correlations between scientific theories and applications that help students visualize, experiment, and interact with many of the major concepts in science. " Science categories include wave motion, optics, astronomy, life sciences, building blocks (vector addition, histogram construction, etc.), electricity and magnetism.

How Stuff Works
Ever wondered how stuff works? The "How Stuff Works" site by Marshall Brian explains how gas engines, caffeine, helium, cell phones, and other things work! The Inside category actually takes stuff apart to see how things works.

Learner Online - Journey North
"Journey North is a free online educational service, supported by the Annenberg/CPB. Established in 1991 with a grant from the Annenberg Foundation to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Project uses media and communications to improve math and science education for the nation's 44 million school children. Journey North is supported as a model for math/science education reform. Additional funding is provided by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation."

Science Friday
Access to audio archives of National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday® can be reached from this site. Science Friday is a science talk-show which can be heard each Friday afternoon, 2-4 pm ET over National Public Radio (NPR). Science Friday Kids Connection has recently joined Science Friday to create a place where students can exchange ideas with scientists online.

The Science Spot: Daily Science Trivia
Mrs. Trimpe uses science trivia to begin each class period; "Each class period starts with the Daily Trivia question (giving me time to check attendance). Students write their answers on a Trivia slip (copied on "scrap" paper), then a helper collects them. At the end of the day, several students assist me in checking for correct answers. I choose 3 students with correct slips for a daily prize . . . The secretary reads the correct answer and daily winners on the morning announcements. I have had great response from my 7th graders and the entire school!"


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Ask an Expert:

Newton BBS - Ask A Scientist
The "Ask a Scientist Service" from the Argonne National Laboratory is for K-12 educators and their students. Students can search the archive of more than 15,000 previously answered questions or view questions broken into categories (astronomy, biology, botany, chemistry, environmental, mathematics, physics, etc.) Examples of previously asked questions are "why people hiccup", "why does pop go flat", "what happens before a light bulb burns out", "why does sound travel faster in warm air", etc. Students can learn background information on who answered the question through a link at the bottom of the page.

The New York Times Learning Network Science Q&A
This question and answer site might be able to provide you with information you need for a science fair project. "A new science question is answered every Tuesday and Thursday. In addition, a 5-years archive is available. Claiborne Ray's popular Science Q & A column from Tuesday's Science Times section is available. The questions are organized under 12 categories to make browsing the collection simple and fun. The categories include: Animals, Birds & Fish, Human Body & Mind, Insects & Invertebrates, Manufactured Things, Microscopic Life, Plants, Space & Spaceships, The Earth, The Sea, The Weather, and Everything Else. In addition, students can ask their own questions of C. Claiborne Ray."

Science Fairs and Competitions:

Canon Envirothon
“The Canon Envirothon is North America’s largest high school environmental education competition.  Each year, Envirothon provides student with a chance to get “up-close and personal” with North America’s natural resources. Envirothon offers both in-class curriculum and hands-on field experiences focused around ecology, natural resource management, and current environmental issues. Envirothon holds annual competitions in which winning state/provincial teams compete for recognition and scholarships by demonstrating their knowledge of environmental science and natural resource management. The teams, each consisting of five high school-aged students from participating US States and Canadian Provinces, exercise their training and problem-solving skills in a competition centered on four universal testing categories (i.e, soils/land use, aquatic ecology, forestry, and wildlife) and a current environmental issue. Visit the Envirothon Web site for information on the 2007 competition.” –quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Christopher Columbus Awards
“Sponsored by the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation and the National Science Foundation, the Columbus Awards program is a national competition that combines science and technology with community problem solving in a real-world setting. With the help of an adult coach, student work in teams to identify and issue they care about and use science and technology to develop an innovative solution. Each team of finalists and their coach win an all expense paid trip to Walt Disney World for the finals. The winning team receives a $25,000 grant to bring their idea to life. Check out the Web site for samples of previous projects, guidelines, and the entry form. The deadline for 2007 awards is in February” –quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
"The Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) is the world’s larges pre-college celebration of science. Held annually in May, the Intel ISEF brings together nearly 1,500 students from more than 40 nations to compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prize: a $50,000 college scholarship. Science Service founded the ISEF in 1950 and Intel is now the major sponsor. The 2007 fair takes place May 13-19 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Web site has rules and guidelines for entering the fair, along with good general information on science fair projects in the Science Project Info section.” –quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Junior Science and Humanities Symposium
"The Junior Science and Humanities Symposia (JSHS) Program promotes original research and experimentations in the sciences, engineering, and mathematics at the high school level and publicly recognizes students for outstanding achievement. By connecting talented students, their teachers, and research professionals at affiliated symposia and by rewarding research excellence, JSHS aims to widen the pool of trained talent prepared to conduct research and development vital to our nation. JSHS regional symposia invite the participation of all high school students who have completed an original research investigation in the sciences, engineering, or mathematics, to apply to the regional symposium and vie for awards in recognition, including the opportunity to advance to the National symposium. JSHS regional and national symposium are held during the academic year and reach over 10,000 high school students and teachers throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Department of Defense Schools of Europe and the Pacific Rim.” –quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Science Olympiad
"The Science Olympiad is an international nonprofit organization devoted to improving the quality of science education, increasing student interest in science and providing recognition for outstanding achievement in science education by both students and teachers. These goals are accomplished through classroom activities, research, training workshops and the encouragement of intramural, district, regional, state and national tournaments. The Science Olympiad tournaments are rigorous academic interscholastic competitions that consist of a series of individual and team events, which students prepare for during the year. The Science Olympiad has 4 divisions is open to students in grades K-12. Visit the site to learn more about forming a team and participating in the annual Science Olympiad, which takes place in May.” –quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

Siemens Foundation Competition
"Administered by the College Board and funded by the Siemens Foundation, this competition recognizes remarkable talent early on, fostering individual growth for high school students who are willing to challenge themselves through science research. Through this competition, students have an opportunity to achieve national recognition for science research projects that they complete in high school. The competition encourages students to undertake individual or team research projects in science, mathematics, engineering and technology or in combinations of these disciplines. Scholarships for winning projects range from $1,000 for regional finalists to $100,000 for national winners.” –quoted in SB&F (September/October 2006)

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All quoted material is from the respective source.

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