Project Ideas 5-6

Blooming of Plants

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 4-6

Increase blooms per plant

Variables: light (intensity, wavelength), nutrients, type of soil, additives (natural and synthetic), temperature, humidity, type and amount of water, pruning

Recommended species: marigolds, petunias, chrysanthemums

Details: Flower production is primarily due to genetic conditions, though environmental conditions may change the number of flowers. Senior students under the guidance of a mentor could do some genetic studies to look at this question.

Plant Growth in Water

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 4-6

Plant Growth

Variables: type of container, type and amount of water, chemical additives, light (intensity, wavelength), evaporation, invertebrate species present, competition between species, photoperiod, temperatur

Recommended species: Any plant species can be used such as geraniums, corn, lettuce peas, beans etc.

Details: Almost all plants can be grown in water that has been enriched with nutrients and under some conditions carbon dioxide is needed to be supplemented. Actually hydroponics are a nice experimental way to do plant problems since the variables can be introduced into the water and there is not the variable of what is actually in the soils used. Gives better controls to many experiments.

Reproduction of Invertebrates

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 4-6

Invertebrates

Variables: humidity, photoperiod, light intensity, temperature, magnetism, competition between species, nutrients, noise, space (including height & depth)

Recommended species: beetles, mealworms, cockroaches, earthworms, tobacco hornworm

Details: Reproductive biology and behavior of these (and other) species may be found in most good Invertebrate Zoology textbooks. If doing a behavioral problem, often the introduction of a simple variable may produce changes or inhibition in normal behavior.

Seed Sprouting

Category: Botany and Zoology

Grade: 4-6

Plants

Variables: photoperiod; light intensity; temperature; magnetism; competition between species; type of water; nutrients; noise; humidity; wild versus domesticated

Recommended Species: grasses, vegetables, marigolds, flowers, nuts, corn, peas, various beans

Details: Seed germination is very easy to do, and introducing variables during the germination process is easy. Placing seeds in between moist sheets of filter paper (or paper towels) will cause germination. Placing towels and seeds in petri dishes (or refrigerator dishes) gives controlled conditions and prevents towels from drying out too quickly. For lots of seeds, place in rows on a cafeteria tray, between a layer of paper towels, extending paper towels outside of tray, put another tray on top, (making a tray- paper-seed-paper-tray sandwich), bind with duct tape, tip on end and put end of towel into liquid (water or test variable), and seeds will germinate in 2-5 days (depending upon seed type)

Chlorine

Category: Chemistry

Grade: 4-6

Chlorine

Variables: Various concentrations of chlorine

Details: Chlorine is commonly put in municipal drinking water and swimming pools. The concentration must be tightly regulated in order to prevent side effects, making it essential that there is a minimum amount for it to be antibacterial, but not reach a maximum level which might cause problems for drinkers and/or swimmers.

Does Music Improve Math Scores?

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 4-6

It has often been stated that students that study music do better in math. But what is the relationship between music and math proficiency? Is it possible that listening to music while taking a math test could improve test scores? If so, does the type of music make a difference?

Variables: Presence or absence of music, type of music, math scores.

Working Distance of a Cordless Phone

Category: Computer Science and Mathematics

Grade: 4-6

A cordless phone drops its communication if it is moved away from its base station (unit connected to the wall). This distance depends on a number of factors such as physical distance, types of objects between the phone and the base station, weather, etc. In this project students should experiment with phones with different frequencies (expressed in mega or giga hertz) and collect the maximum distance for these cordless phones. The results can be represented in graphs.

Resources required: Two or three cordless phones of different frequencies.

Rocks and Minerals

Category: Earth and Space Science

Grade: 4-6 and 7-8

Rocks and Minerals

Variables: Magnetic properties; magnetic properties under various temperatures; solubility; crystalline shapes; reactivity towards acids; effects on soil types

Details: Soils consist of four distinction horizon's or layers named A, B, C and D, with some subsets to each letter. "D"is basic bedrock, and its breakdown helps over time to form the final soil at any locality. The "A" layer is primarily organic matter created by the local vegetation interacting with the rocks and minerals available. The properties of the rocks in a given locality will change the nature of the soil that ultimately is located there.

Air Pollution

Category: Environmental Science and Renewable Energy

Grade: 4-6

Air Pollution

Variables: particulate material; exhaust gases; smoke; effects of temperature; smog; terpenes and other organic 'waste' from vegetation

Details: Many molecules are released into the air, some by normal respiration and transpiration by organisms, others are released by processes of man in manufacturing, producing electricity; use of fossil fuels in combustion engines; smoking; burning leaves, brush and stumps during land clearing for farming. These pollutants cause problems for people breathing (asthma has risen 40% in past 25 years); plants doing their normal photosynthesis; amount of UV rays hitting the earth's surface; and many other issues.

Soil Composting

Category: Environmental Science and Renewable Energy

Grade: 4-6

Composting

Variables: type and amount of water, type and amount of nutrients; type and amount of soil, type and amount of light,
temperature, fertilizers, additives

Recommended species: earthworms, dung beetles, cockroaches, leaves (same or mixtures of species); garbage

Details: There are lots of ways to produce compost in nature. There may be variation in either in the materials being composted, or the organisms involved in the process accelerating the natural rotting, or the out products of chemicals from the process, any or all of which can be affected variables. Composting may be done in small containers which will help reduce outside variables.

Pendulums

Category: Force and Motion

Grade: 4-6

Pendulums

Variables: weight on end of pendulum; length of pendulum; effect of heat on mass at end of pendulum

The physics of pendulum is well known so care must be taken to do a real experiment to test the nature of pendulum movement. At the intermediate level, accurately done replicates of a simple experiment can show that the student clearly understands the scientific method.

Color Movement

Category: Matter and Energy

Grade: 4-6

One can experiment with chromatography using leaves, or colored inks. Water moves upward in a paper towel by surface tension and the water carries molecules of the ink upward at varying speed depending on the size and properties of the various pigment molecules, and thus separates the molecules. These separated molecules give the towel various colors. By drying the towel, the various sections can be removed and the molecules thus isolated.

Colors and Heat

Category: Matter and Energy

Grade: 4-6

Colors and heat

Variables: A variety of colored papers, cloths or masses; heat source

Details: The physics of black bodies is well documented, that is, black bodies absorb more heat than white ones do. Experimental questions might be testing some combinations of colors, weight or thread count and heat capacity of a variety of common materials.

Magnetism

Category: Matter and Energy

Grade: 4-6

Magnetism

Strength of magnetism; polarity

Details: Various things can affect the strength of a magnet and its polarity. Designing and devising an accurate way to measure of strength under various conditions can be a useful experiment at the Intermediate level.

Solubility

Category: Matter and Energy

Grade: 4-6

Solubility

Variables: Solvent chosen; concentration of solute; temperature; stirring action; how solute is introduced into solvent

Details: Even very basic solutions, which are well understood may still be used for experimental purposes. Not everything is soluble in water, or only soluble at certain temperatures or concentrations. Even the sequence in which the solute and solvent are mixed can change the degree of solubility. How much of a substance is in solution can be determined by some simple chemical tests and titration or by kits that are purchasable from companies such as Hach or Lafayette. Consult with your teacher or email Science Pioneers for test materials.

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