What you wonder about are great ideas to begin Science investigations. You don't need to wait for a school project, but all projects require adult supervision. Think about the next four steps as you browse through the ideas page below.
1. Turn your wondering into a testable question by identifying one manipulated or Independent Variable to test or observe. Which types or types of experiments would they be considered? 2. Look around the house or classroom for what materials you already have. What are the constants? 3. How will you measure the changes in the responding or Dependent Variable? 4. How will you record those changes and observations in an organized way?
Controlled experiments test one Independent Variable at a time. All other aspects are kept the same or constant as much as possible to enable the investigator to create a fair comparison to see if the changes affected the outcome. How might you design an experiment to answer the questions below?
What is the effect of bean type on the height that it grows bean pods? Compare various dried beans and measure their growth under the same conditions. Which bean will flower and grow fruit (bean pods) first?
Which materials are most effective insulating hot water for the longest amount of time? What are the effects on different materials on changes in water temperature. Measure the temperature with a thermometer before and after 10 minutes for each. Repeat for multiple trials and graph the results. Form a hypothesis by research which materials are used to insulate homes or heating systems.
Do all materials that conduct electricity also have magnetic properties? What is the effect of metallic and nonmetallic materials on how much electricity that can conduct through them. Create a circuit with batteries and a 1.5 volt light bulb and see if the bulb lights when the different materials are included in the circuit.
Does fluoride toothpaste prevent calcium loss on chicken bones soaked in vinegar? What is the effect of vinegar on flexibility of a chicken bone? Design a bend and break test. See if fluoride toothpaste helps the bone stay strong. Research what bones are made of and how they grow.
Can fluoride prevent vinegar from dissolving the calcium on a chicken egg shell?
How can dissolved chicken eggs absorb different amounts of water when placed into different salinities of water? What is the effect of salinity on how much water a decalcified chicken egg will absorb through osmosis?
What is the effect of age on the ability to identify unseen objects? Create a blind touch test to see if people of different ages can identify the unknown objects? Hypothesize which objects would children and adults recognize? Create a survey that records the data for each object and test person.
Plant movements: What is the effect of changing light directions on a plants growth ? How does changing the direction of the light or not changing it, affect its growth ?
What is the effect of temperature on growing large rock candy crystals? Can changing the the recipe effect the crystal size? Use a candy thermometer and adults supervision. Boiling water and sugar can get very hot.
Can you create layers of colored salt water? What is the effect of salt concentrations on the density of water? Calculate their densities or design a floating hygrometer to test it. How does density affect ocean currents?
Does the density of a liquid relate to its viscosity (thickness). Measure how many seconds it takes to drops a bead through different thicknesses of different liquids. Calculate their densities with a graduated cylinder and balance scale.
What is the effect of temperature on how high balls bounce? Design a drop and measure test. Change the air pressure by warming them with a hair dryer or cooling them in ice water.
Consumer product testing: Test advertisement claims for accuracy, such as: Which garbage bag is the strongest? Biggest? Best value? How could you test them fairly?
Which nail polish lasts the longest? Design a fair test to test chip resistance of different polishes under different conditions other than wearing them.
How many different pigments are found in lipsticks? Design a paper chromatography test to find out.
Which laundry detergent removes stains the best on different fabrics?
What is the effect of temperature on how well glue sticks? Design a strength test. Do differnet glues work differently on different materials?
What is the effect of a ramps height on how far a toy car travels? Design a way to reduce friction. Measure their velocities.
What is the effect of air pressure on a homemade barometer? Design a weather ball barometer and compare it to the local weather report. How can it be used to predict changes in weather ?
How strong does the wind blow? Design and test an anemometer/ wind meter. How can that be utilized as energy?
What direction does the wind blow? Research how to build a magnetic compass. How can we test the accuracy of different compasses?
What is the effect of materials on oil absorption? Design an oil spill model and test various methods of oil clean up. Which material absorbs the most oil? Relate it to real human impact issues.
What is the effect of additives to soap for making giant or longer lasting bubbles?
What is effect of temperature on the rate at which food color rises up the stem or celery stalks or carnation flowers? Research plant structures: xylem and phloem.
What the effect of paper type on how far a paper plane flies? Research how planes fly/ glide.
What is the effect of boat shape on its ability to float the most mass? Design aluminum foil boats that can float and support as many pennies or weights as possible.
What is the effect of triangular mini-structures on how much weight a balsa wood model can support before breaking?
Jello Earthquake: What is the effect of shape on a marshmallow toothpick structure that will be shaken on a bed of jello?
What is effect of string type on a paper cup phone? Which string telephone materials conduct the most sound?
Sustainable science: Which vegetable bases natural dye retains its color after washing the longest?
How can paper by recycled? What is the effect of different types of paper on the recycled product?
Which pulley system makes the greatest Mechanical advantage? Design a pulley system that performs a needed task and measure the effort with a spring scale.
Does algae/ duckweed grow faster in pure or used laundry water? What are phosphates?
What is the effect of different salt types on rate of melting ice? What kind of salt is most effective at melting ice? Research freezing point depression.
Vacation science: Is the pH of snow in different cities the same?
What is the effect of pH (acid or base) on various plants? Which soil pH do different seeds grow the fastest? Can pH be changed?
Design Investigations allow the investigator to create and test and redesign a device to solve a specific problem.
Egg Drop: Design a container that can prevent an egg from breaking at a specific height.
What is the most effective design for a windmill? How can it create an electrical current? What is the effect of blade number or size on a wind mill electrical output?
How can we design a wind tunnel to test the aerodynamics of different wing shapes. What is the effect of wing shapes on amount of lift in a wind tunnel.
How can you make a calorimeter to compare the amount of calories in food? How does the amount of fats, proteins and carbohydrates in food effect how much heat is lost when burning it?
Can a homemade solar collector make water hot?
Winter science: Which concrete brick resists ice damage the best? Concrete mixed with sand or rocks? What is the effect of a concrete mixture on its strength?
What is the percentage of water in plants? How do we dehydrate them? What is effect of fruit type on the ratio of fresh water that can be dehydrated from it?
Does the density of materials make them stronger? What is the effect of density on material strength?
What is the effect of hard and soft tap water on soap bubble size?
What is the effect of _______ affect _______plants? water amount? Temperature? pH? Salinity? choose one
How do clam shells or egg shells help neutralize the effect of acid rain on kidney bean plants? measure pH
What is the effect of salt water on plants ? Which type of plant is most tolerant to salt water? Research osmosis and why they're few plants on the live in or near the ocean.
How can we change and compare the amount of heat that is caused by the friction of two objects?
What is the effect of storage on ripening fruit? Research ethylene gas and ripening fruit? How does industry prevent fruit from ripening too fast in transport?
What kind of soil retains water the best? Compare different mixtures of hummus, sand, gravel, etc. absorbs the most water.
How do plants change the chemistry of the soil? Test the water before and after it passes through a flower pot of different plants.
What is the effect of different salinities of water effect how spring onions grow? How much salt can spring onions tolerate ?
Does Kool-Aid change the freezing point of water? Freezing point depression.
How does fresh water and salt water affect the buoyancy of different objects?
Detective Science: How can we use paper chromatography to identify different pens?
Can plants be grown without soil? Research hydroponic and aquaponic growing techniques.
What is the quality of our local seawater? Ammonia, nitrites, nitrates, pH. Does it change with tide or time of year?
What snack foods are the most nutritious and least expensive?
What is the effect of a strings length to the time it takes a pendulum to swing back and forth? What happens to the energy?
What is the effect of the moon phase and high tides? How can this knowledge help forecast coastal flooding?
Which box insulates the sound of an alarm clock the most effectively?
What is the effect of humidity on human hair? Create a hygrometer to test relative humidity with a human hair.
How can I identify different hair/ fur types with a microscope? Different animals ?