Since Dr. Bob's Interesting Science Stuff was born on the web, the most asked questions that I have received have been for suggestions and help with Science Fair projects. Due to the vast amount of E-mail received, I have been unable to respond to each student / parent individually. This section will provide help and support to my readers in this most requested area.
The following Science Fair project suggestions are ones that I feel are safe to do, inexpensive and interesting. Once you get an idea that you like, you will have to "research" the project to get a detailed approach. This is a vital part of the learning process. Good luck!
Color a Flower: Color a freshly cut flower such as a carnation or daffodil by placing in a vase of water containing food coloring and water. The capillary action through the narrow tubes in the stem cause the coloration.
Separating Colors: Use strips of white blotting paper to separate the different colored pigments in a colored marker (washable). Place a dot of color on the paper. Hang the paper with the dot about 1/2 inch above the surface of the water. Over time the water will separate the dot into its different colors. This is a simple example of paper chromatography.
Grow Crystals: Dissolve as much salt or sugar in warm water as you can. Let the water cool and evaporate (over several days) to form crystals. How do the sugar and salt crystals differ in appearance?
Make an Electromagnet: Make an electromagnet by wrapping wire around a large nail. The more turns of wire, the stronger the magnet will be. Connect the two wire ends to a 6 volt battery and pick up some paper clips. Make sure that you use a switch because this will rapidly discharge the battery.
Show a Magnetic Field: Get several magnets of different shape. Place a piece of white paper on top of the magnet and sprinkle some iron filings on the paper. The filings will show the patterns of the magnetic field.
Separate Three Chemicals: Mix equal amounts of sand, iron filings and salt together in a small container. Show how these can be separated by 1) dissolving the salt in warm water, filtering, and evaporating the water to get the salt, 2) using a magnet on the remaining mixture of sand and iron filings to separate the iron from the sand.
Separate Light into Colors: Use a prism to break a flashlight beam into its different colors.
Float an Egg: Show that salt water is more dense than fresh water by floating an egg. Get 2 eggs and 2 glasses. In one glass place fresh water and an egg. In the other place salt water (heavily salted) and the other egg. The egg in the salt water will float because it is less dense that the salt water.
Liquid Layers: Half fill of a small jar with water containing a small amount of food color. Fill the remainder with cooking oil. The least dense liquid floats (which one is less dense?). Gently move the jar back and forth, it's fun to watch.
Make a Musical Instrument: Fill 5 or 6 small plastic soda bottles with different amounts of water. When you blow across the tops of the different bottles, you will get a different tone. Tone differences are the result different vibrations within the different sized air spaces.
Make a Morse Code Transmitter: Make a Morse Code Transmitter that can send messages between 2 rooms. You can make the switches with a block of wood, nails and a paper clip. The following diagram shows you how to wire it up.
More to Come ......................