Science fairs are great for the future of our country as our youth become interested in and learn science. They’re also an excellent way to spend quality time with our children as we offer assistance and keep them and our homes safe from their efforts! Yet, coming up with a good science fair project can be difficult. Here are some fun suggestions to get your cogs turning.
This experiment shows the effect of heat on air. Place a bottle cap on the opening of an empty bottle. Make sure that the cap will completely cover mouth of the bottle. Place them in the refrigerator. When they’ve cooled for about thirty minutes, take them out. Wet the bottle cap quickly with cold water and place upside down on the bottle. Wetting it provides a better seal.
Gently wrap a warm or hot rag around the bottle. As the air inside is heated, the bottle cap will move and jump around. This can be done with an ice cooler as well as a refrigerator.
To demonstrate how salt makes water denser, fill two glasses about ¾ full of water. Add about 6 tablespoons of salt to one of the glasses. Gently put an egg into each glass. The egg in the salt water will float higher than the glass with no salt, demonstrating that salt water is denser than fresh water.
With a simple microscope, a drop of water from a local stream or pond, and a slide, your child can observe the world at a whole new level. You can then compare samples from different local water sources to determine the relative cleanliness of each compared against a control of filtered water. A good source for information, tips, and the history of microscopes can be found at http://www.microscope.com/.
Put two tablespoons of baking soda into a glass. Pour vinegar slowly into the glass. The mixture will foam and bubble. When it does, bring a lighted candle over the glass. The carbon dioxide will cause the candle to extinguish from lack of oxygen, demonstrating the need for oxygen as well as fuel for a fire.
For this experiment, you’ll need an empty film canister, a fizzing antacid tablet, and water. While wearing safety goggles, put about half the antacid tablet into the canister. Fill it halfway with water. Snap the cap onto the canister tightly and place it upside down on a table and move away. As carbon dioxide is released from the fizzing tablet, pressure builds up inside the canister and the body of the canister rockets upward when the pressure gets high enough to cause the lid to blow off.
Each of these science projects can be dressed up with posters explaining the science behind them. As children experience first-hand the wonder of the world around them, they will have a growing desire to continue to learn about the fascinating forces that govern their existence. Whatever project you and your child choose, make sure that his or her curiosity is engaged and that he or she has a solid grasp on the principles involved.
By: Eowyn Applegates