# 1. How to Make the Perfect Shot in Basketball Objective:

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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
1. How to Make the Perfect Shot in Basketball
by Kathy Phillips
Grade Level: 5th to 8th; Type: Physics
Objective:
The point of this project is to discover the best way to make the
perfect shot every time.
Research Questions:
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Did you discover the best way to make the perfect shot?
Is it better to throw the ball from chest level or waist level?
Did you prefer getting a running start to make the shot or was it easier to make a shot
standing in front of the hoop?
Does distance away from the hoop matter in determining the best type of shot?
Materials:
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A Piece of paper and a helper to chart/record your shooting skills
Experiment Procedure:
1. Stand approximately four to five feet in front of the basketball hoop.
2. Dribble the ball around to get a feel for the bounce and weight of the ball.
3. Using an overhand motion shoot the ball towards the hoop from chest level. Continue
4. Repeat step three, but try shooting the ball from waist level. Continue practicing this
5. Next, repeat steps three and four, except try to shoot the ball towards the hoop while
jumping slightly in the air.
6. For the final experiment, place yourself halfway down the court, dribble the ball and get a
running start. Practice this shooting the ball at chest level then try it shooting the ball
from waist level.
7. Based on the questions in the “research question” section, were you able to discover the
best way to make a perfect shot every time?
8. Follow the steps above and try taking some shots from the left side of the hoop and the
right side of the hoop.
Terms/Concepts: proper form, accuracy, free throw, rim shot
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
References:
Nothing But Net: The Science of Shooting Hoops (Dragonfly 02/07/2011)
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p010.shtml
The Coach’s Clipboard, by James A. Gels (2001-2011)
http://www.coachesclipboard.net/FreeThrowShooting.html
http://coacheshome.tripod.com/shooting.html
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
2. Tsunamis, Earthquakes and Meteors
by Crystal Beran
Grade Level: 5th -8th; Type: Earth Science
Objective:
Determine whether tsunamis are more destructive when they are
caused by an earthquake or by a meteor.
The purpose of this experiment is to generate a few tsunamis to find
out which types are most destructive.
Research Questions:
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How is a tsunami generated?
How far can a tsunami travel?
How big can a tsunami get?
Why is a tsunami sometimes referred to as a tidal wave?
What is a mega-tsunami?
Are there any mega-tsunamis that have happened in recent history?
How big can a mega-tsunami get?
A tsunami can reach heights of over one-hundred feet tall, though most are much smaller. These
waves can be caused by a number of different things, including earthquakes, volcanoes or an
impact with the surface of the ocean. Tsunamis may be more or less destructive depending on
how they are formed. Understanding the destructive potential of a tsunami is extremely
important in order to properly prepare to deal with the dangers posed by these waves. Places with
active tsunami warning centers are able to protect people from tsunamis by giving them enough
time to reach higher ground. Being able to properly predict how high a tsunami wave might get
is vital in order to keep people safe.
Materials:
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A clear plastic or glass container at least a few feet long (the longer the better)
Measuring tape
A marker
A rubber mallet
A wooden table
A large rock
Experimental Procedure:
1. Place the container on the table.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
2. Fill the container with water to only about 10% of its height.
3. Use a marker to make a line on the container where the water level is.
4. Using the rubber mallet, pound the top of the table with enough force to generate a wave
through the water.
5. Watch the water through the tank and mark on the tank how high the wave reaches. Label
this “trial 1” on the glass.
6. Using the rubber mallet, pound the side of the table with enough force to generate a wave
through the water. Try to hit the table as hard as you did in the first trial.
7. Watch the water through the tank and mark on the tank how high the wave reaches. Label
this “trial 2” on the glass.
8. Using the rubber mallet, pound the bottom of the table, underneath the tank, with enough
force to generate a wave through the water. Try to hit the table as hard as you did in the
first trial.
9. Watch the water through the tank and mark on the tank how high the wave reaches. Label
this “trial 3” on the glass.
10. (optional) Repeat steps 4-9 one or two more times. Make sure that you continue the
numbering so that your fourth trial is labeled “trial 4” etc.
11. If you are using a glass tank, you will need to drop the rock from a low height so it does
not break the glass. Placing a towel at the bottom of the tank will also help protect it from
damage.
12. Drop the rock into the water.
13. Watch the water through the tank and mark on the tank how high the wave reaches. Label
this “rock 1” on the glass.
14. (optional) Repeat steps 12 and 13 one or two more times, the same as you did with the
earthquake simulation.
15. Using a chart such as the one below, record the results of your experiment by measuring
the distance from the baseline of the water to the maximum height of the tsunami.
Tsunami
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Rock
Height
Terms/Concepts: Tsunami; Earthquake; Volcano; Meteor; Displacement
References:
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http://www.fema.gov/kids/tsunami.htm
http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/natural-disasters/tsunamiprofile/
http://www.tsunami.noaa.gov/kids.html
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
3. Walking in Circles
by Shelly Smith
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Human Biology
Objective:
This project explores whether human beings, deprived of any points
of reference, will, in attempting to walk a straight course, walk in
circles.
Research Question:
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Do blindfolded subjects told to walk in a straight line consistently walk in circles?
It has long been a popular belief that human beings, deprived of any points of reference (such as
lost in a dessert) will, thinking they are going in a straight line, actually walk in circles. This
belief has recently been scientifically corroborated, but the exact cause for the phenomenon is
still uncertain.
Materials:
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Large, flat, quiet, open space
Test subjects
Blindfold
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Blindfold the test subject.
Tell the subject to walk continuously in a straight line.
Observe the path the subject takes.
Repeat for all subjects.
Terms/Concepts: walking in circles, point of reference
References:
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“Walking Around,” by Natalie Wolchover, Facto Diem: Scientific Facts, Not Quite
Everyday
“Walking Straigt into Circles,” by Jan L. Souman, Ilja Frissen, and Marc O. Ernst,
Current Biology
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
4. Self-Inflating Balloons
by Michelle Formoso
Grade Level: 4th through 7th; Type: Chemistry
Objective:
Start a chemical reaction that will make a balloon inflate itself!
Research Question:
What happens when you mix an acid and a base?
Materials:
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Test tube
Vinegar
Small balloon
Funnel
Teaspoon of baking soda
Experimental Procedure:
1. Put the test tube where it will stand upright securely, or have a partner hold it. Fill it
halfway with vinegar.
2. Give the balloon a good stretching, like you would if you were about to blow it up.
3. Use the funnel to put the baking soda inside the balloon. Gently shake the balloon until
all the baking soda goes to the bottom.
4. Making sure none of the baking soda gets into the test tube, carefully stretch the opening
of the balloon until it’s completely over the opening of the test tube. If it’s not a tight fit,
your balloon is probably too big and you should use a smaller one instead.
5. Once the balloon is attached to the test tube, lift the rest of the balloon so that the baking
soda falls into the vinegar. You might have to give it a gentle shake to make sure it all
goes in.
6. Watch the balloon inflate! What’s happening here is the vinegar, an acid, is creating a
chemical reaction with the baking soda, a base. When the two substances mix, you get
carbonic acid, which is unstable and decomposes (falls apart) to become carbon dioxide
(the gas that’s filling the balloon!) and water. Since the carbon dioxide is much less dense
than the stuff you used to create it, it wants to expand, and the balloon is stretchy enough
to allow it to do just that!
Terms/Concepts: fluids, density
References: Phineas and Ferb Science Lab, published by Scholastic, Inc., pp. 12-13 (2011)
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
5. DIY Hovercraft
by Michelle Formoso
Objective:
Make a hovercraft that can stay afloat using air power.
Research Question:
How does a flat surface move differently along another one when
there’s air flowing under it?
Materials:
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Old CD
Sports cap (pop-up type) from a disposable water bottle
Glue
Small or medium-sized balloon
Experimental Procedure:
1. Use a CD that nobody wants to keep; it will get wrecked!
2. Glue the sports cap to the CD so that the bottom of it is centered over the hole in the CD.
Make sure it’s well-glued all the way around, and the sports top opens and closes easily.
3. Wait for the glue to dry completely. Depending on the type of glue, you might have to
leave it to dry overnight.
4. Close the top of the sports cap and put the CD flat-side-down on a tabletop. Blow up the
balloon and pinch the neck shut so no air gets out. Carefully stretch the neck of the
balloon around the closed sports top so the part you drink out of is totally covered.
5. Now put the hovercraft on a flat surface, like a table, and give it a little push to see how
far it goes.
6. Holding the hovercraft down, pull open the sports cap with the balloon still on it. Do this
carefully—make sure the cap doesn’t come unglued!
7. Now give the hovercraft another little shove and watch it go! What just happened? The
air from the balloon is flowing through the spout now; when the CD was on the table
with no air flow, the friction between the two flat surfaces kept it from going far. With air
flowing between them, there’s a lot less contact between the surfaces and therefore a lot
less friction—nothing to stop the hovercraft from really going!
Terms/Concepts: Friction, air pressure
References: Phineas and Ferb Science Lab, published by Scholastic, Inc., pp. 30-31 (2011).
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
6. Melting Styrofoam with Nail Polish Remover: the
Separation of Polymers
Grade Level: 3rd to 8th; Type: Chemistry
Objective:
This experiment demonstrates the separation of polymers by melting
Styrofoam cups with nail polish remover.
Research Questions:
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Why does acetone melt the cup, but water or soda does not?
What is this reaction called?
Materials:
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Acetone (nail polish remover)
Styrofoam cups
Bowl
Experimental Procedure:
1. Pour ½ cup of acetone into the bowl.
2. Slowly lower a Styrofoam cup into the acetone. Observe the reaction between the acetone
and the Styrofoam.
3. See what happens when you put more than one cup into the acetone at the same time.
Terms/Concepts: polymers, monomers, chemical reactions
References: Polymers and Monomers:
http://www.materialsworldmodules.org/resources/polimarization/2-polymers+monomers.html
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
7. Does Tea Stain your Teeth?
by Sofia PC
Grade Level: 6th - 10th; Type: Chemistry
Objective:
Discover how long it takes to stain egg shells with coffee, tea, and
cola.
Research Questions:
Teeth are structures in the mouth that are individually squares or
cubical-shaped with grooves intended for use in breaking down food
for consumption. Teeth are naturally white or off-white in color, but
build-up from foods and drinks such as coffee and tea over time can stain the white color and
turn teeth yellowish and discolored. In this experiment, we'll use egg shells in order to explore
how teeth are stained by drinking coffee, tea, and cola.
Materials:
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Eggs, hollowed out following these instructions.*
Coffee
Tea
Cola
Three large plastic containers
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Fill three separate large containers with coffee, tea, and cola.
Put at least one hollowed-out eggshell into each container.
Every day, fish them out and observe the progress of discoloration.
Take some photos of gradual changes. On the day when you really start to notice
discoloration, note that day.
5. Record your results and compare the effects of the three liquids.
Suggested Chart
Day #1
Coffee
Tea
Coke
Day #2
Day #3
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Terms/Concepts: Teeth; Enamel; Teeth Staining
References:
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http://mistupid.com/health/teeth.htm
http://www.becomehealthynow.com/article/bodydigestive/678/
http://www.ehow.com/how_15776_hollow-egg.html
Teaford, Mark F and Smith, Moya Meredith, 2007. Development, Function and Evolution
of Teeth, Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-03372-1, 9780521033725, Chapter 5.
*Instructions to hollow egg:
Things You'll Need
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Knitting Needles
Raw Eggs
Bowls
Covered Containers
o 1
Wash and dry a raw egg.
o 2
Insert a long needle into the large end of the egg to make a small hole. Twist the needle as you push it
into the eggshell as far as you can while still grasping it.
o 3
Use the needle to make a slightly larger hole in the small end.
o 4
Push the needle into the center of the egg and move it around to break the yolk.
o 5
Hold the egg over a bowl with the small end down.
o 6
Place your lips over the hole at the large end of the egg and blow firmly until all the egg comes out the
hole at the small end.
o 7
Rinse out the egg by running a thin stream of water into the larger hole.
o 8
Blow out the water the same way that you blew out the egg.
o 9
To dry the eggshell, prop it up in a dish drainer with the large end facing down.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
8. DIY Electromagnet
by Michelle Wilde
Grade Level: 4th to 8th; Type: Physics
Objective:
Using a nine-volt battery to create an electrical field around a nail,
Research Question:
What is electromagnetism? How does it work?
Materials:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
Two feet of fine-gauge electrical wire
Wire clipper
9-volt battery
Paper or ceramic plate
Paper clips made of ferrous metal (use the small magnet to check if it’s the right kind; it should
be attracted to the magnet)
7. Iron filings
8. Two small magnets
9. Pencil and paper (or, optional, a camera)
Experimental Procedure:
1. Use the wire cutter to strip the insulation from about one inch of each end of the wire. Be
careful, this tool can snip you, too, and the ends of the wire are probably sharp!
2. Wrap the wire in a snug coil around the shaft of the nail, leaving a few inches of wire dangling at
each end.
3. Wrap one of the dangling wire-ends around the larger connector at the top of the battery.
4. Touch the other end of the wire to the other connector. Be careful! The wire might get hot now.
5. Now touch one end of the nail to a paper clip and see if you can move the paper clip with the
nail. Has it become magnetic? Will it lift the paper clip? Will it lift two? Three? The stronger the
magnetic field is, the more paper clips it will hold.
6. Now, while the paper clips are sticking to the nail, move the loose end of the wire to break the
connection between it and the battery. Notice how the paper clips fall. The nail hasn’t become
magnetic on its own; the wire coiled around it is creating a magnetic field when the circuit is
closed and electrical current runs through it.
7. Want to see the magnetic field? Sprinkle a good layer of iron filings on the plate—carefully,
some of them might be sharp, and you definitely don’t want to get them in your eyes!—
carefully place the nail in the middle of the filings, and reconnect the wire to the battery. You
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
should see the filings move around the nail, showing you the shape and size of the magnetic
field you’re creating. Draw a picture of this (or, optionally, take a photo).
8. Now take the two small magnets and place them end to end, pushing the ends together. Then
flip over just one of the magnets and try it again. You should find that in one position, the ends
of the magnets will stick together, and in the other position, they push each other apart. This is
because magnetic fields are polar, meaning they go in one direction along a line or pole.
9. Now dangle the nail from the battery and close the circuit by holding the loose wire against the
second connection. See if you can make the nail move without touching it using one of the
magnets. Can you flip the magnet over and make the nail move in the other direction?
Terms/Concepts: electrical field, magnetism, electromagnetism, current, circuit
References: Science Fair Adventure: Build an Electromagnet
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
9. Stimulus and Response: Which Sense is Fastest?
by Megan Doyle
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Life Science
Objective:
This experiment will evaluate which sense produces the fastest
response time: hearing, touching, smelling or seeing.
Research Questions:
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Which sense elicits the fastest response time?
Do the observed reaction times differ between male and female
test subjects?
Which sense would you rely on if you needed to react quickly: sight, hearing, smell or touch?
This experiment will evaluate which of these senses sends the fastest message to the brain and
produces the quickest response.
Materials:
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Calculator
Meter stick
Blindfold
Test subjects (approximately 10 males and 10 females)
Notebook for recording results
Experimental Procedure:
1. Place your thumb and index finger above the 100 centimeter mark on the meter stick. For each
test subject, perform the following steps:
2. Ask the test subject to place his or her thumb and forefinger on either side of the meter stick at
the 0 centimeter mark. When you drop the stick, the test subject will attempt to catch it by
closing his or her thumb and forefinger.
3. Test reaction time through vision first. Drop the meter stick and record the distance (in
centimeters) that the stick falls before the test subject is able to stop it.
4. Perform five trials and calculate the average score.
5. Repeat the test using a blindfold to evaluate reaction time through hearing. Say the word,
“DROP” when you let go of the meter stick.
6. Perform five trials and calculate the average score.
7. Repeat the test using a blindfold to evaluate reaction time through the sense of touch. Touch
the shoulder of your test subject as you drop the meter stick.
8. Perform five trials and calculate the average score.
9. Repeat the test using a blindfold and scented candle. Place the candle directly under the nose of
your test subject as you drop the meter stick.
10. Perform five trials and calculate the average score.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
11. Repeat steps 2-10 for many male and female test subjects.
12. Evaluate your data and calculate each participant’s average reaction time for each sense. Use
the formula: d=0.5a*t2. Solve for t when d equals distance traveled by the meter stick and a
equals the acceleration due to gravity constant (9.8 meters per second squared).
13. Which sense leads to the fastest response time? Do you observe differences among male and
female participants?
Terms/Concepts: senses, reaction time
Reference: Life Responds: Reaction Time Experiment
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
10.
Symbiosis: Plants, Nitrogen, and Bacteria
by Cy Ashely Webb
Grade Level: Middle School; Type: Biochemistry and Botany
Objective:
Learn about why nitrogen fixing bacteria are important to plant
growth.
Research Questions:
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What are nitrogen-fixing bacteria?
What is a symbiotic relationship?
Do plants have a symbiotic relationship with bacteria?
What happens when there are no nitrogen fixing bacteria in a growth medium?
Materials:
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Six identical clay pots
Sphagnum moss or potty soil
Pea seeds
Rhizobium leguminosarum culture
Sterile inoculating loop
Magnifying lens
Drawing pens and paper
Marker
Camera
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Label three pots “control” and 3 pots “bacteria.”
Fill all pots with the same amount of moss or potting soil.
Plant three seeds in each pot.
Set post in the sun and water appropriately.
On the fifth day after planting, sterilize your inoculating loop. Use the loop to add Rhizobium
Leguminosarum culture into the three pots labeled “bacteria.” If you are using the powdered
kind of bacteria, carefully sprinkle ½ teaspoon over the soil in each of the three pots.
6. Let the peas grow undisturbed for at least nine weeks. During this time, measure the growth of
each plant, the number of leaves and the size of the largest leaves. Note when new leaves
formed. Take pictures regularly
7. At the end of nine weeks, pull your plants out of the soil and examine their roots, using a
magnifying lens. Draw what you observe.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Terms/Concepts: nitrogen-fixing bacteria
References:
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Nitrogen Cycle, Texas A & M University
Symbiotic Nitrogen Fixation
Science of Plant Life: A High School Botany Treating of the Plant and Its Relation to the
Environment, by Edgar Nelson Transeau (Nabu Press, 2010)
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
11. Bad Vibrations: How Do Webs Help Spiders Get Prey?
by Keren Perles
Grade Level: 5th – 6th; Type: Biology
Objective:
Spiders react to a vibration in their web by approaching the area to
see whether prey has been caught. This science project tests whether
the frequency with which the object hits the web affects how quickly
the spider reacts.
Research Questions:
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How will a spider react to a tuning fork that touches its web?
Does the frequency with which an insect touches a spider’s web affect how quickly the
spider reacts?
How does a spider realize when a fly gets caught in its web? The vibrations in its web let it know
that something has been captured. You can see how a spider reacts to these vibrations by holding
a vibrating tuning fork up to the web. But does the frequency of the vibrations matter? Find out,
using this science project.
Materials:
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Spider web with spider
Tuning fork
Wooden block
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
Find a spider web that has a spider on it.
Grasp the handle of the tuning fork.
Tap a prong of the tuning fork against the wooden block.
Gently hold one of the prongs of the tuning fork against one strand of the web,
approximately 6 inches away from the spider.
Time the spider to see how long it takes to reach the spot that the tuning fork was
touching. Record the time in a table, such as the one below.
Wait several minutes before continuing, to give the spider time to rest.
Tap the prong of the tuning fork more strongly against the wooden block.
Gently hold one of the prongs of the fork against a strand of web that is about 6 inches
away from where the spider is currently.
Record the time it takes the spider to reach that point in your table.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
10. Repeat this process several times, interspersing hard taps and light taps on the wooden
block.
11. Analyze your data. Does the frequency of the vibrations affect how quickly the spider
responds?
Terms/Concepts:· Frequency (high and low); How does a tuning fork work?; How do spiders
react when prey gets caught in their webs?; What kinds of prey do spiders capture?
Reference:
Experiments You Can Do in Your Backyard, edited by Joanna Callihan and Nathan Hemmelgarn,
page 26.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
12.
Can Jell-O be Made With Just Warm Water
Instead of Boiling Hot and Then Cold?
by Sofia PC
Grade Level: 3rd - 6th; Type: Food Science/ Chemistry
Objective:
In this experiment, we will find out if making Jell-O is possible with
Research Questions:
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What is gelatin, how is it made, and what is it used for?
What are the properties of a gel? What does it do?
Is a gel considered to be a solid, a liquid, both, or neither?
Gelatin is a protein substance that is created by boiling connective tissues, bones, skins of
animals or stem roots from plants with a similar structure. It is used in many applications such as
to create the much-loved Jello, taffy, marshmallows, wines, capsules for medicine, and much
more.
Gelatin has beneficial properties such as transparency, strength, flexibility, easy to digest, soluble
in hot water, and great binding properties. The directions say to add boiling add--but is that really
necessary? Let's find out if merely warm water will do the job.
Materials:
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2 boxes of Jell-O or gelatin mix (any flavor)
2 mixing bowls
A stirring spatula or whisk
Boiling hot water
Cold water
Warm water
Measuring cup
Saran/plastic wrap
A refrigerator
Timer/Clock
Experimental Procedure:
1. In one mixing bowl, pour the packet of gelatin mix in.
2. Carefully add 1 cup of boiling hot water inside. Stir until the powder is dissolved.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
3. Now slowly stir in 1 cup of cold water.
4. Cover the bowl with saran wrap.
5. In the other mixing bowl, pour the packet of gelatin mix in.
6. Carefully pour 2 cups of warm water inside and stir until the powder is dissolved. You may have
to stir longer.
7. Cover the bowl with saran wrap.
8. Refrigerate both bowls until the gelatin is set in at least one of the bowls- about 4 hours.
9. After 4 hours...check on the gelatin and see which one has set and which one is firmer and has
the “correct consistency.”
Terms/Concepts: Viscosity; Gelatin/ Gel; Protein; Collagen; Hydrolysis; Freezing/Melting
Point; States of Matter
References:
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http://recipes.howstuffworks.com/question557.htm
Ward, A.G.; Courts, A. (1977). The Science and Technology of Gelatin. New York: Academic
Press. ISBN 0127350500.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
13.
Making Glass Invisible
Grade Level: 5th to 8th; Type: Physics
Objective:
This experiment makes glass go completely invisible.
Research Questions:
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What happens to light as it passes through glass?
Why are the edges of the glass still slightly outlined?
Glass is see-through, but usually you can still see that it is there. In this experiment we make
glass go completely invisible.
Materials:
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Baby oil
Large clear glass bowl
Clear glass cup small enough to fit into the bowl
Experimental Procedure:
1. Fill the bowl with baby oil until the oil has a depth of slightly less than the height of the cup.
2. Place the cup into the baby oil taking care not to allow oil to pour over into it. You can still see
that the cup is in there, right?
3. Now slowly pour baby oil into the cup. Observe the cup gradually disappearing as it fills with
baby oil.
Terms/Concepts: refraction, light, speed of light, invisibility
References:


Refraction: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/geoopt/refr.html
22
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
14.
Growing Bacteria
by Cy Ashley Webb
Grade Level: 4th - 7th; Type: Microbiology
Objective:
The objective of this experiment is to learn how to grow bacteria in a
controlled setting. By using simple materials from home instead of
Petri dishes students will learn how to perform sterile technique. The
outcome of this experiment depends largely upon their ability to keep
their equipment sterile.
Research Questions:





What are bacteria? What is mold? What is fungus?
How do bacteria reproduce? How do molds reproduce?
How successful was your sterile technique? Did anything grow out in dish #2? If your sterile
technique was perfect, you should see nothing growing in this dish.
How does the control compare to the dish that was exposed to the air? What does this say
How do your other dishes compare with one another?
Although they are too small to see, bacteria and mold spores fill the air and come to rest on most
surfaces. Although some bacteria and molds cause disease, most organisms you encounter every
day are generally harmless unless conditions favor their growth. When you see adults cleaning
surfaces in the kitchen that appear to be perfectly clean, the adults are really making sure that
there are no bacteria, mold spores or crumbs that could feed these organisms.
This experiment is similar to others often performed using Petri dishes. However, this
experiment provides you with the opportunity to practice sterile technique. Surgeons and
scientists who do tissue culture practice sterile technique because the introduction of molds or
bacteria could hurt the patient or destroy the culture that the scientist is growing.
Bacteria are simple one-celled organisms that reproduce by dividing into two. Molds are similar
to bacteria, but they reproduce by generating seed-like spores. One common mold is Mucor
mucedo.
Materials:



One can of condensed tomato soup
Six small custard cups, ramekins or desert dishes. Any dish will do as long as it has a small top no
more that 3-4 inches in diameter.
Saran Wrap
23
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
 Six rubber bands
 Kitchen tongs
 One small saucepan, one large saucepan and one large frying pan that you can boil water in
 Camera
Experimental Procedure:
1. Fill the large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Place
the custard cups and tongs into the boiling water. Simmer for twenty minutes.
2. Open the can of tomato soup and pour it into the small sauce pan. Add ½ can water and
stir. Bring to a boil, cover and let simmer very gently for 20 minutes.
3. While the tomato soup is simmering, fill the large saucepan with water and bring to a
boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. Place the custard cups, tablespoon, and tongs into the
boiling water. Simmer for twenty minutes.
4. Fill the frying pan with water and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature so that it is simmering
gently.
5. Cut six squares of Saran Wrap big enough to fit into the frying pan. Be careful not to get the
Saran wrap tangled on it. Gently drop the full sheet you cut into the simmering water. It will
immediately shrink. Add all squares to the water. You may have to cut additional squares to use
in case the Saran Wrap gets tangled.
6. Make sure that you have a tray next to the stove that has adequate room for all six of the
custard cups. Write “Dish #1,” “Dish #2,” “Dish #3,” “Dish #4,” “Dish #5” and “Dish #6” on six 3 x
5 cards. Set the cards down individually with the writing facing up.
7. Remove the tongs from the boiling water by hooking the handle of a spoon or fork through the
handle of the tongs. Carefully rest the tongs so that they are lying flat across a clean glass. Do
not let the tongs touch the table or anything else. Do not touch any part of the tongs except for
the handle. The object of this step is to keep the tongs sterile until they cool enough for you to
handle comfortably.
8. Once the tongs have cooled, use them to remove the tablespoon from the water. Place the
tablespoon across the glad just as you did in step 7. The object here is to keep the spoon sterile
while it cools enough for you to comfortably use.
9. Using your sterile tongs, carefully remove one custard cup from the boiling water and set it on
the tray. Using your sterile tablespoon, add two tablespoons of soup to the dish. When you set
down your tablespoon or tongs, be sure to set them down across the glass to minimize
contamination.
10. Using your tongs, remove one square of Saran Wrap from the water and place it across the
desert cup you prepared in step 9. Set down your tongs across the glass. Secure the Saran Wrap
in place using a rubber band. This is dish #1.
11. Remove a second custard cup from the water and add soup just as you did in step #9. Wait 30
minutes before covering the dish with Saran Wrap just as you did to dish #1 in step 10. This is
dish #2.
12. Remove a third custard cup from the water and add soup just as you did in step #9. Since you
have very clean hands, get a brother, sister, parent or friend to stick a dirty finger across the
tomato soup. Immediately cover the dish with Saran Wrap and secure with a rubber band just as
you did in step 10. This is dish #3.
13. Repeat step 9 with dishes #5 and #6. For dish # 5, run a finger across the kitchen floor before
introducing it to the tomato soup. Immediately cover dish #5, just as you did in step 10. For
dish #6, sprinkle a few break crumbs across the tomato soup and cover promptly.
24
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
14. Create a table with seven columns so that you have one column for the date and one for each of
your six dishes. In the far left column, you will enter the time and date. Write down your
observations for each dish. Continue making observations twice a day for a week.
Terms/Concepts: Bacteria; Microbiology; Bacterial growth; Sterile technique; Bacterial
reproduction; Mold spores; Mucor mucedo
References:





Cole,Joanna, Jon Speirs, and Bruce Degan. The Magic School Bus Inside Ralphie: A Book About
Germs. Scholastic Paperbacks, 1995
DiConsiglio, John. There’s a Fungus Among Us: True Stories of Killer Molds. Children’s Press
(2007).
Viegas, Jennifer. Fungi and Molds (Germs! the Library of Disease-Causing Organisms). Rosen
Publishing Group (2004)
http://kidshealth.org/kid/talk/qa/germs.html
25
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
15.
Helium Rising
by Cy Ashley Webb
Grade Level: 5th -7th; Type: Chemistry/Meterology
Objective:
The goal of these experiments is to learn about how temperature
affects density – and how in turn this affects affect the behavior of
gases. Students will consider the meteorological implications of why
colder and denser air hugs the earth while warmer air rises.
Research Questions:





What is density?
What is buoyancy?
How does temperature affect the density of a gas?
How does density affect the behavior of a gas?
Why do changes in the density of air affect weather?
Helium is less dense than air. Density is a measure of the weight of a particular volume of a
substance. When we say that helium is less dense than air, we mean that a fixed number of
helium molecules in a particular volume weighs less than the same number of air molecules
occupying the same volume. The temperature of the frozen balloon is less than the room
temperature balloon which is why the helium in the balloon is less dense – and why the balloon
in the freezer contracts. The buoyancy of the balloon is affected by the change in density. Since
the helium in the frozen balloon is more dense than the room temperature balloon, it rises more
slowly than the room temperature balloon. The change in the density of gases explains why hot
air rises – and why cold air rushes in to fill the void. The relative difference in the density of a
gas as a function of temperature is important to meteorologists because this is how winds form.
Materials:


Two inflated helium balloons as close in size as possible
Access to a freezer big enough to store one of the inflated helium balloons
Experimental Procedure:
1. Before starting, take a picture of your balloons.
2. Place one helium balloon in your freezer. Leave the other at room temperature. The room
temperature balloon is your control balloon.
3. After twenty minutes, take the balloon out of the freezer. Working very quickly, take a picture of
the frozen balloon and the control. Bring both balloons outside or to a very tall stairwell where
you can release them.
26
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
4. Release the balloons. Which balloon rises faster? Why is there a difference in the behavior of
the balloons? What happens when cold air is next to the earth? What happens when the sun
warms the land?
Terms/Concepts: Density; Bouyancy
References:




Williams, Jack, Rick Anthes, Stephanie Abrams. The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to
America's Weather. University of Chicago Press. (2009)
Cox, John D. Weather for Dummies. For Dummies (2000).
USA Today: Understanding Air Density and its Effects
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wdensity.htm
National Weather Service (NOAA): Air Pressure
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream//atmos/pressure.htm
27
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
16.
Descriptive Reduction Exercise
by Shelly Smith
Grade Level: 3rd to High School; Type: All science
Objective:
The purpose of this exercise is to have students understand and
appreciate the importance of firsthand observation in scientific study.
Research Questions:
What do we really know about the world around us? What do we take
for granted? Assume? Get right? Get wrong? How might such assumptions affect scientific
study? How should we go about our own scientific studies?
Materials:





Pears (or apples, oranges, etc.)
Plastic knife
Plastic pear
Picture of pear
Paper and pencil
Experimental Procedure:
1. Make a large chart with five rows and five columns.
2. Label the rows: pear; plastic pear; picture of pear; the word pear; the word pernula (the
scientific word for pear).
3. Label the columns: Looks, Feels, Sounds, Smells, Tastes.
4. Explain to a friend that in this activity he will be researching pears as would a good
scientist, assuming nothing, recording only observable data, things he can perceive with
one of his five senses.
5. Give your friend a pear (you may also give him a knife to cut it up), and have him
examine and describe the pear in as much detail as possible, recording his observations in
the first row of the chart.
6. Give your friend the plastic pear and ask him to fill out the chart using only the
observable data.
7. Give your friend the picture of the pear and ask him to fill out the chart using only
observable data.
8. Say the word “pear” to your friend, and ask him to fill out the chart relying only on
observable data.
9. Say the word “pernula” to your friend and ask him to fill out the chart relying only on
observable data.
28
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
10. Now together consider and discuss the implications of this exercise for scientific study.
11. In a science fair setting it is engaging and enlightening to have a stack of charts and a
crate of pears, as well as the other items from this project, so that fair-goers can repeat the
exercise on their own.
Terms/Concepts: observation, description, data
29
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
17.
Does Music Affect Mood?
by Leah Wood
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Music and psychology
Objective:
This project determines if type of music can affect mood.
Research Questions:



Does heavy metal music make people anxious?
Does classical music calm people down?
Which type of music is best to relieve stress?
Different types of music seem to have an effect on the mood of people. The purpose of this study
is to see if there is a measurable effect on people when they are exposed to different types of
music, including heart rate and self-expressed mood.
Materials:




Music of several different genres: classical, heavy metal, classic rock, alternative, rap,
etc.
People of different ages and genders
Stop watch to measure heart rate
Experimental Procedure:
1. Find participants in several different age and gender categories.
2. Ask them to sit in a quiet room and listen to several types of music, asking questions
about how they are feeling after each song.
3. Immediately after each song, take the resting heart rate of the participant, using a stop
watch.
4. Record the results and see if any pattern emerges for each type of song.
Terms and Concepts: genre, pattern emergence, calming techniques
30
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
18.
Density
by Melissa Bautista
Grade Level: 6th - 8th; Type: Physical Science
Objective:
In this experiment students will learn about density by creating a liquid
Research Questions:




 Why doesn’t oil and water mix?
What are the densities of water and oil?
Why does the oil float to the top?
Which liquid is the densest? Where does it fall in the gradient?
Which liquid is the least dense? Where does it fall in the gradient?
As infants we learn to stack blocks, taking one block and placing it on top of the other, hoping
that it will not topple. Just as we learned to build a tower of blocks we can learn to build a stack
of liquids. Most liquids, when poured into the same container will mix. However, some liquids
do not mix with others so instead they separate into layers. What happens if you drop a small
amount of oil into a glass of water? The oil floats to the top. In this experiment we will create a
Materials:








12 oz. glass (tall)
Water
Honey
Vegetable oil
Rubbing alcohol
Other household liquids
Food coloring (optional)
Measuring cup
Experimental Procedure:
1. From you research create a chart of densities among various household liquids. Use the
following: water, honey, vegetable oil, and rubbing alcohol. Find more liquids in your
home but have an adult make sure it is safe to mix with other liquids.
Liquid
Honey
Water
Vegetable Oil
Rubbing Alcohol
Mineral Oil
Density
1g/mL
31
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
2. Based on your chart what has the greatest density? List the liquids in order of decreasing
density.
3. Now you will start building your layers. From your list (most dense to least dense) start
pouring the liquids into the glass.
4. Measure ¼ cup of each liquid and carefully pour the liquid in the center of the glass. Do
not pour the liquid down the sides of the glass.
5. Continue pouring the layers in the center of the glass. The liquids may mix while
pouring. Wait a few minutes for the layers to separate before pouring the next layer.
6. You can add food coloring to the liquids to see the layers better.
Terms/Concepts: Density; Liquid; Soluble/insoluble
32
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
19.
Does A Longer Paper Airplane Fly Farther than a
Wide One?
by Jennifer Penn-Chiu
Grade Level: 3rd-6th; Type: Physical Science
Objective:
Discover if a longer paper airplane flies farther than a wide one.
Research Questions:
Paper airplanes have long been a classic toy for kids. But paper
airplanes can have a serious purpose as well: illustrating basic
principles of aerodynamics.
Materials:





Three sheets of paper of the exact same thickness and weight
Scissors
Ruler
Measuring Tape
Pen and paper for notes
Experimental Procedure:
Making the Airplanes
1. Take a sheet of letter-size printer paper and fold it in half vertically, lengthwise.
2. Run your nail along the fold to create a well-defined, reinforced crease.
3. Unfold the piece of paper and fold down the two top corners until it meets the center crease
that you made in the previous steps.
4. The top of the paper should now form a split triangle. Now fold the two outer edges of the
triangle down towards the center line once more.
5. Your paper should be shaped somewhat like a pyramid at this stage. Valley fold the paper in half
so that the folds are inside the plane.
6. Now turn the plane 90 degrees and create the wings by folding the sides down outwards
starting from about 1.5 inches from the base of the plane.
7. Okay, now you should have your first paper airplane.
8. To make the second airplane, we are going to cut the piece of paper shorter so that you will now
have a 8.5 x 8.5in square to fold with.
9. Repeat steps 1-6 on this shorter piece of paper.
10. To make the third airplane, we are going to narrow the piece of letter-size paper to the
dimensions of 6 x 11in. Repeat steps 1-6 after you have cut the paper to the new dimensions.
Flying & Testing the Airplanes
33
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Note: The airplanes should be flown indoors so that wind drag won't factor in and alter the data.
1. Hold the base of the airplane in front of you and in a swift and quick motion, throw it forwards
and observe where it lands. Measure the distance from where you are standing (it would be
helpful to tape or mark this spot) to where the plane lands. Record the distance in your
notebook.
2. Repeat several trials with the different variables of width and length of the planes. The more
trials, the better.
3. Record your results. Do you notice any consistent trends?
Suggested Chart
Trial 1
Trial 2
Trial 3
Trial 4
Trial 5
Trial 6
Airplane #1
Airplane #2
Airplane #3
Terms/Concepts: Basic Physics; Paper airplane design; Aerodynamics; Flight
References:
NASA: What is Aerodynamics?
Scholastic: Paper Airplanes
"Aviation: Reaching for the Sky," by Don Berliner (The Oliver Press, Inc. , 1997), p.128.
34
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
20.
Cleaning Coins with Common Household
Ingredients
by Kathy Phillips
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Chemistry
Objective:
This project explores the effectiveness of various cleaning solutions
in cleaning tarnished and oxidized coins.
Research Questions:





Do the coins become clean or do they remain tarnished or
oxidized?
Which cleaning solution works best?
How much effort does it take?
Do the copper pennies get cleaner than the other coins?
Do the oxidized coins get cleaner than the tarnished coins?
Materials:















Six pennies (tarnished or oxidized)
Six nickels (tarnished or oxidized)
Six dimes (tarnished or oxidized)
Six quarters (tarnished or oxidized)
One cup dish liquid
One cup lemon juice
One cup orange juice
One cup water
One cup cola
One cup baking soda paste (Mix baking soda with water for a paste consistency.)
24 cups
Six plastic spoons
Six toothbrushes
Newspaper or art cloth (to cover the table)
Latex gloves (optional)
Experimental Procedure:
1. Fill four cups each one quarter full with each of the six cleaning solutions suggested (4 with
lemon juice, 4 with orange juice, 4 with cola, 4 with water, 4 with baking soda paste and 4 with
dish liquid). Label the cups.
2. Carefully record each coin’s condition prior to placing it into its cup.
35
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
3. Place one of each type of coin into each solution.
4. Let all coins soak overnight.
5. Using the plastic spoons and latex gloves, scoop each coin out of its cup and place it on the
covered table. Take care to label and keep track of which coin came from which solution.
6. Examine the coins and record what you see before you start using the toothbrushes.
7. Use the toothbrushes to clean the coins, rinse with water, re-examine the coins, and record your
observations.
Terms/Concepts: oxidation, tarnish, chemical
References:



Tips for cleaning coins: How to clean the old dirty coins in your collection
Easy ways to clean coins, by Scott Damon.
What juice or liquid cleans pennies the best?, by Ted Mooney
36
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
21.
Do humans understand values greater than three?
by Shelly Smith
Grade Level: 6th to 12th; Type: psychology, mathematics
Objective:
This project explores whether humans can intuitively grasp numeric
values greater than three.
Research Questions:

 Do subjects
immediately grasp one dot?
Two dots?



Three dots?
Four dots?
More dots?
Popular theory holds that humans can only intuitively grasp the numbers one, two, and three.
Any more than that and our understanding is not of numeric value but of patterns or abstractions
requiring the mediation of language.
Materials:




20 small (8”x8” or so) squares of white cardboard
Sticker dots, all of the same dark color and size
Test subjects
Paper and pencil for recording and analyzing data
Experimental Procedure:
1. Place one to ten dots on each square of cardboard (two squares with one dot, two squares with
two dots, two squares with three dots, etc.). Place the dots randomly around the square (that is,
NOT in any sort of pattern as with a domino or playing card).
2. Sit facing the test subject.
3. In random order, very quickly raise and lower one square at a time so that the subject qets only
a quick glimpse of the dot(s).
4. Ask the subject how many dots there were.
5. Record correct/incorrect responses for each square.
6. Analyze results. Did test subjects correctly identify squares with one dot? Two? Etc. On average,
at what number of dots did test subjects stop being able to instantly see how many dots there
were?
Terms/Concepts: Humans intuitively grasp numeric values up to only three.
Resources:


Without Language Large Numbers Don’t Add Up, by Jon Hamilton, NPR
Understanding Numbers Isn’t as Simple as 1,2,3, by Robert Preidt, MSN Health
37
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
22.
Siphons
by Melissa Bautista
Grade Level: 6th - 8th; Type: Physical Science
Objective:
Students will create an uphill flow of water by using a siphon.
Research Questions:


What forces are acting on the liquids?
How is a vacuum created?
What goes up must come down. You wouldn’t think this would help us explain how water can
flow uphill. To drink a glass of water you must raise the glass above your mouth. The water is
pulled down by gravity into your mouth. What’s another way to drink a glass of water without
lifting the glass? Use a straw. A straw creates a vacuum, or negative pressure, so water is pulled
up the straw. We can use these principles to create an uphill flow of water.
Materials:



1+ gallon bucket (2)
Water
Clear tubing approximately 3 feet in length (can be found in a science lab or purchased at
a hardware store)
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Place one bucket on a stool and the other bucket on the ground.
Fill the top bucket with water.
Place one end of the tube in the top bucket, submerged in the water at the base.
Create a vacuum on the opposite end by suctioning the water up the tube like drinking
from a straw.
5. Once water gets to the end of the tube immediately place it in the bottom bucket.
6. What happens? In what direction does the water travel?
7. Now reverse making the water flow up into the top bucket.
8. Fill the bottom bucket with water. The top bucket should be empty.
9. Place one end of the tubing in the bottom bucket and create a vacuum.
10. Once the water reaches the other end of the tube immediately place it in the top bucket,
near the base.
11. What happens? Does the water travel in the same direction?
38
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Terms/Concepts: Atmospheric pressure; Vacuum; Siphon
39
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
23.
The Effect of Heat on Rubber
by Sofia PC
Grade Level: 5th - 6th; Type: Chemistry
Objective:
In this experiment, we will investigate the effects of heat on rubber.
We will be using rubber bands as rubber.
Research Questions:
How are both types of natural and synthetic rubbers made?
To keep it basic, rubber is a stretchy polymeric material. There are actually 2 kinds of rubbernatural and man-made. The first rubber was natural rubber, which came from latex-which came
from certain plants and trees. Synthetic rubber is made from chemicals and are very often
stronger than their natural counterparts because natural rubber has a small amount of impurities
in it, which alters the properties of the rubber.
However, even though rubber can stretch a great deal, it has a threshold, depending on the bonds
and individual properties of it. At this threshold, the rubber will snap and break apart.
Rubber is used daily in many applications including rubber bands, swimming caps, a variety of
medical uses, and industrial uses.
Materials:







Several rubber bands of same dimensions
Lit candle or lighter
Freezer
Ruler
Tweezer
Safety goggles
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Take one of the rubber bands and stretch it as far as you can with both hands.
Have a friend measure with a ruler how far it stretched.
Record the measurement.
Now put a rubber band in the freezer and chill it for about two hours.
40
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
6. While the other rubber band is chilling, hold another rubber band above a candle flame with
tweezers. Do not hold the rubber on the flame, hover it above for about one minute.
7. Now try your best to stretch it out as far as you can.
8. Have your friend measure the distance with a ruler once again and record the measurement.
9. After two hours, take the chilled rubber band out of the freezer.
10. Repeat steps 6-7 on this rubber band.
11. Compare the stretchability.
12. You may want to conduct several trials to ensure accuracy.
Suggested Chart
Distance of Stretch
Trial #1
Trial #2
Trial #3
Regular Rubber Band
Heated Rubber Band
Chilled Rubber Band
Terms/Concepts: Polymer; Elastomer; Natural Rubber; Synthetic Rubber; Latex; Elasticity
References:



http://www.packagingtoday.com/introsyntheticrubber.htm
http://www.pslc.ws/macrog/kidsmac/rubber.htm
Hobhouse, Henry (2003, 2005). Seeds of Wealth: Five Plants That Made Men Rich. Shoemaker &
Hoard. pp. 125–185. ISBN 1-59376-089-2.
41
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
24.
Font and the Impact of the Written Word
by Megan Doyle
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science
Objective:
This experiment will investigate whether font choice affects peoples’
ability to remember the information that they read.
Research Questions:
 Does font affect test subjects’ ability to remember written
information?
When people read a piece of paper, does the choice of font affect their ability to remember what
they read? In this experiment, you will address this question by testing participants’ abilities to
recall written information.
Materials:



Test subjects
10 different fonts ranging from
simple to complex
Computer



Printer
Timer
Notebook for recording results
Experimental Procedure:
1. Compose a list of thirty different everyday objects (eg, scissors, hair brush, shampoo,
etc…).
2. Print your list with five different font styles. Make sure the size of the words are
comparable between lists. Include some fonts that are bolded and some that are italicized.
3. Gather 50-100 similarly aged test subjects.
4. Divide your test subjects into five groups.
5. Ask each group of subjects to spend two minutes studying one of the lists you created.
Use a different font style with each group.
6. Take the list away, and after ten minutes ask each group to write down all of the items
that they can remember from the list.
7. Analyze your results. For each group, what was the average number of items remembered
from each list? Are there certain fonts that seem to reduce test subjects’ ability to
remember the listed items? Which group performed the worst on the memory test? What
font was used with that group? Which font resulted in the best performance on the
memory test? Does bolding or italicizing a font appear to affect memory?
Terms/Concepts: font and memory
42
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
25.
How Does Temperature Affect the Stretch of
Rubber Bands?
by Kimberly Hutmacher
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Physical Science
Objective:
This project determines how temperature affects the stretch of a
rubber band.
Research Questions:


What happens to rubber when it is heated?
What happens when it is cooled?
Entropy, a measurement of the orderliness of the molecules that make up a substance, determines
whether a material expands or contracts when it's heated. Let's find out what happens to a rubber
band when it is both heated and cooled.
Materials:










Rubber band
Scissors
Weight set or washers
Shoebox (about the length of a ruler)
Ruler
Pencil
Refrigerator
Hair dryer
Pen
Lab notebook
Experimental Procedure:
1. Cut your rubber band in half with the scissors.
2. Tie a weight or washer to one end.
3. Sit the shoebox so that it stands tall and place the ruler inside. Poke a hole into the middle of
the top of the box. Thread the rubber band through the hole.
4. Tie the rubber band to a pencil. Be sure to make sure the weight tied to the other end can swing
freely.
5. Allow the rubber band to stretch for three minutes at room temperature. Then measure the
length of the rubber band with the ruler. Record your data in your notebook.
6. Now put the shoebox into the refrigerator for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the
shoebox, and measure the length of the rubber band again. How does the rubber band feel
now? Record your data and observations.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
7. Now it's time to heat things up! Use a hair dryer to heat the rubber band for 5 minutes. After 5
minutes, measure the rubber band again. How does the rubber band feel now? Record your
information.
8. Analyze your data. When did your rubber band have the most stretch? When did your rubber
band have the least amount of stretch? Why do you think this happened? Were you surprised?
Terms/Concepts: entropy; molecules; expansion; contraction
References:


Prize Winning Science Fair Projects for Curios Kids, by Joe Rhatigan and Rain Newcomb (Lark
Books, 2004).
"Effect of Temperature on Elasticity of Rubber Bands," Science Buddies
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
26.
How Fast Does a Seismic Wave Travel?
by Cy Ashley Webb
Grade Level: 6th - 9th; Type: Earth Science
Objective:
By studying actual earthquakes, students will becomes familiar with
seismic waves, different types of waves and how fast they travel.
Research Questions:




What is a seismic wave?
How are seismic waves measured?
How fast do seismic waves travel?
Do waves from more powerful earthquakes travel faster than waves from weaker ones?
Seismic waves travel through the earth during an earthquake. They occur when stress at a plate
or other regions on the earth is released. Waves that travel through the crust are called surface
waves. These cause most of the damage associated with earthquakes. Waves that travel through
deeper layers are called body waves. These may be divided into primary and secondary waves.
The strength of seismic waves is measured by an instrument called a seismometer. A network of
seismometers is run the Northern California Earthquake Data Center, at the University of
California, Berkeley. Evaluating the data from these earthquake substations allows students to
track how an earthquake travels through the crust and measure how fast the seismic waves travel.
Materials:


Computer
Internet connection
Experimental Procedure:
1. Go to the website “Historic Worldwide Earthquakes” found in the Bibliography below and
identify which earthquakes you wish to evaluate. Tracking seismic waves in 10 or fifteen
different earthquakes is very helpful in understanding these phenomena.
2. Note the magnitude, longitude, latitude and depth, and time (measured as Coordinated
Universal Time) of each of the earthquakes you are interested in.
3. Go to the website “Make your Own Seismogram!” The directions there are very straight
forward.
4. Select a station. If the acronyms for station location are confusing, check out the link associated
with the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory called “Map of BSDN” found in the Bibliography. This
map demystifies these location acronyms.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
5. Select the “long period” data channel for earthquakes that are very far from the station (i.e. an
earthquake in Japan). Use the broadband channel for earthquakes that are local to the station
(i.e. the Northridge or Loma Prieta quakes).
6. 6. Set the time period so that your beginning time is 12 hours before the time you found in step
#2, and the ending time is 12 hours after that time.
7. Since default parameters work find, so go ahead and click “Create Plot.” You will get a
seismogram covering that time period. Information on the left hand side of the seismogram
refers to time. Look for the time roughly when your earthquake occurred – and carefully study
when the waves first made their appearance on your seismogram. Subtract this time from the
time the earthquake started at the epicenter.
8. You are now ready to determine how fast the seismic waves associated with your earthquake
traveled. Get the longitude and latitude of the substation that you are using. This information is
available near the top of the page associated with the Berkeley Seismological Laboratory called
“Map of BSDN” that you used in step #4.
9. Go to the webpage “Surface Distance between Two Points of Latitude and Longitude” found in
the bibliography. Use the calculator there to determine the distance between the epicenter and
the substation you chose. Using this calculation requires a quick conversion from degrees
expressed as decimals to degrees expressed as degrees, minutes and seconds. This can be done
on the website
10. Divide the value you calculated in step number # 7 by the distance calculated in step #9. The
result is how fast the seismic wave travel.
11. Repeat with different earthquakes.
Terms/Concepts: Seismic wave; Surface wave; Body wave; Seismometer; Primary wave;
Secondary wave
References:
Books
Simon, Seymour. Earthquakes. Collins (2006)
Advanced students may be interested in:
Stein, Seth and Michael Wyession. An Introduction to Seismology, Earthquakes and Earth
Structure. Blackwell Publishing (2003)
Websites
UPSEIS: A site for budding seismologists
http://www.geo.mtu.edu/UPSeis/waves.html
Berkeley Seismological Laboratory: Map of BSDN Sites
http://seismo.berkeley.edu/bdsn/bdsn_map.html
USGS: Historic Worldwide Earthquakes
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/world/historical.php.
Northern California Earthquake Data Center: Make Your Own Seismogram!
http://www.ncedc.org/bdsn/make_seismogram.html.
Chemical Ecology: Surface Distance Between Two Points of Latitude and Longitude
http://www.chemical-ecology.net/java/lat-long.htm
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
27.
by Alexa Bach McElrone
Type
Chemistry
4-7
Difficulty of Project
Medium
Cost (Approximate Cost of completing the project)
Less than \$15
Safety Issues
None
Material Availability
Common
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
Less than 1 hour to complete experiment, additional hour for presentation write-up and
preparation
Objectives
To explore the relationship between oil and water in terms of density as well as
hydrophilic/hydrophobic compounds.
To observe a chemical reaction between an acid and a base.
Materials


1 clean, plastic soda bottle with cap*
Vegetable oil
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
 1 Alka-Seltzer tablet for a 16 oz soda bottle or 2 tablets for per liter bottle
 Food coloring
 Water
* It is a great idea to reuse a plastic soda bottle from a recycling bin (just wash it out before
beginning the experiment). If making a large quantity of lava lamps you can order soda bottle
performs in bulk at through a vendor such as:
http://www.teachersource.com/Chemistry/PreformsAndSodaBottles/SodaBottlePreformsandCap
s_30pk.aspx
Introduction
Oil and water do not mix because they cannot form any chemical bonds with each other. Water is
made up of highly charged, hydrophilic compounds (also known as ‘water loving’) while oil is
made up of long chains of carbon that are hydrophobic (‘scared of water’). The long chains of
carbon that make up oils do not carry a charge and are not attracted to the water molecules. This
causes the separation we see in this experiment as well as in our kitchen sinks and oceanic oil
spills. Furthermore, the oil will float on top of the water because it is less dense than oil.
Alka-Seltzer is technically both acidic and basic. The tablets contain sodium bicarbonate (a base)
and citric acid (an acid) which, when mixed with water, react with each other and produce
bubbling carbon dioxide. This creates the bubbles you see within the colored fluid in the soda
bottle.
Research Questions
1.
2.
3.
4.
What happens when you add water to the plastic bottle? Why do you think this occurs?
What happens when you add the food coloring to the bottle? Why do you think this occurs?
What happens when you add the Alka-Seltzer to the bottle? Why do you think this occurs?
What experiments did you perform on the closed soda bottle (twisting, shaking, etc.)? What did
you notice during each trial?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
Oil and water mixture – Oil, a hydrophobic compound, and water, a hydrophilic compound, do
not mix. See detailed discussion in Introduction section.
Acid-base reaction – A chemical reaction between two substances where one is an acid and one
is a base.
Hydrophobic compound – A ‘scared of water’ compound that do not dissolve easily in water.
Hydrophilic compound – A ‘water loving’ compound that easily bonds with water.
Experimental Procedure
1. Gather materials over a surface that cannot be damaged by oil or can be wiped clean. Another
good option is to cover a table with old newspapers.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
2. Fill the plastic bottle ¾ full with vegetable oil.
3. Add water to the neck of the bottle, leaving a little space between the water line and the top of
the container. (You can always add more water at a later time.)
4. Decide on a color for your ‘lava lamp’ bottle. Select the food coloring accordingly.
5. Add 10 or more drops of food coloring to the bottle until a rich color is seen.
6. Break the Alka-Seltzer tablet into smaller pieces (6 to 8). Add one piece at a time observing each
reaction.
7. When the bubbling stops replace the bottle cap.
8. Tip the bottle back and forth and observe the reaction. Tip, twist, and shake the bottle in
different directions. Observe the reactions and take notes.
Bibliography
Australian Government – Oil and Water Don’t Mix Interactive Module
http://www.amsa.gov.au/marine_environment_protection/Educational_resources_and_informatio
n/Kids/Oil_and_water_dont_mix/Start.asp
Whyzz – Oil and Water
http://whyzz.com/why-dont-oil-and-water-mix
Kids.net.au
http://encyclopedia.kids.net.au/page/hy/Hydrophobe
Merriam-Webster Dictionary
http://www.merriam-webster.com/medical/hydrophilic
Chem4Kids
http://www.chem4kids.com/files/react_acidbase.html
50
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
28.
How to use Colored Filters to Send Secret
Messages
by Janice VanCleave
What You Need to Know
Visible light is light that the human eye can see. The visible spectrum includes a list of seven
light colors called hues. White light is light made of all the colors in the visible spectrum. A
filter is a transparent material that allows only certain hues of light to pass through it.
How Does a Filter Work?
The seven hues of the visible spectrum in order from the least to most energy are: red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. When combined, the seven hues of light produce white
light. The color of an object depends on how the chemicals making up the object's surface absorb
or reflect different hues. A filter used to separate light absorbs some hues and allows others to
pass through or be reflected. For example, in the diagram on the left, when white light hits the
red filter, red, orange, and yellow light pass through it. The filter absorbs the other colors in the
white light. The combination of the red, orange, and yellow light is perceived by your eyes as a
What Does This Have to Do with Using Colored Filters to Send Secret Messages?
A red filter that allows red, orange, and yellow light to pass through it could be used to make
words or images appear or disappear. For example, words written in yellow ink on white paper
would disappear if a red filter is placed over the writing. The yellow light from the ink blends in
with other yellow light passing through the filter. What you see when you look through the filter
is a red sheet of paper. The yellow ink seems to have disappeared. Remove the filter and the
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
yellow words appear again. Would the filter cause any shade of red, yellow, or orange ink to
disappear?
Fun Fact
The order of the hues in the visible spectrum is the order of the colors in a rainbow. To
remember this order, memorize the name ROY G BIV, which is spelled using the first letter of
each light color.
Real-Life Science Challenge
Colorblindness is the inability to see some or all colors. While there is no cure for
colorblindness, scientists have discovered that colored filters can help with the problem. A redtinted contact lens can help some colorblind people see certain colors. Recently, tinted
prescription eyeglasses that are coated with a colored filter, usually magenta or orange, have
become available to people who have trouble distinguishing shades of red and green from other
colors. When wearing these glasses, a colorblind person who usually sees a muddy-brown leaf
will see a green leaf.
Experiment
Now, start experimenting with filters to send secret messages. Remember that a secret message
should be visible under special conditions. The message could be in plain view but camouflaged
by its surroundings.
Hints
o
o
Transparent, plastic, colored report folders make good filters.
Light-colored felt-tip pens work better for writing secret messages.
Related Books
Janice VanCleave's Super Science Challenges: Hands-On Inquiry Projects for Schools,
Science Fairs, or Just Plain Fun!
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
29.
What Keeps Planets and Satellites in their Orbits?
by Jerry Silver
The Idea
In this experiment, you investigate how objects move in a circle. Gravitational force keeps the
planets and satellites in their orbits. The same physical laws determine how a rubber stopper on a
string moves in a circle.
What You Need









1.5 meter of light, strong string
1 rubber stopper (1 or 2 holes)
glass, plastic, or smooth cardboard tube—about 5 inches in length with a small diameter, but
large enough for the string to move through freely
spring scale—10 N
clamp to attach the spring balance to the table
hooked masses: 10, 20, 50, 100 g
meterstick
marker pen
safety goggles—(you will be swirling an object in a circle, so safety goggles should be worn to
prevent the possibility of eye injury)
Method
Set up the apparatus as shown in Figure 13-1.
1. Tie the string securely to the rubber stopper.
2. Feed the string through the glass or cardboard tube.
3. With about 1 meter of string length between the tube and the rubber stopper, cut the string, so
about 25 centimeters of string is below the tube.
Making measurements
Each of these experiments uses the same basic technique. Getting the hang of it may take a little
practice.
1. Put on your safety glasses. (The spinning washer poses a potential eye hazard.)
2. You have two ways to measure the centripetal force required to keep the washer moving in a
circle under a given set of conditions.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
– One way is to hang a known weight from the string, Figure 13-1 shows this approach.
The force is the weight (in newtons) which is determined by multiplying the mass (in kg)
by gravitational acceleration (9.8 m/s2). This technique is simple enough, but it requires a
certain degree of skill to keep the radius fixed for a given measurement.
– The other approach is to measure the force directly using a spring scale, as indicated in
Figure 13-2. In this case, you need to coordinate your movements, so the force stays
nearly constant for a given measurement. (Note: Holding the string at an angle slightly
off vertical can introduce just enough friction to stabilize the reading while introducing
an error of only a few percent.)
3. Holding the tube in one hand, swing the rubber stopper in a smooth, horizontal circle.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
4. Measure how many seconds it takes to make ten rotations, and then divide by ten to get the
period for one rotation. Be careful to count the first rotation at the end, rather than at the
beginning, of the rotation. It may help to count "zero" when you start, and then to count "one"
when the first rotation is completed.
5. Using the marker, place a series of marks at 1 centimeter intervals, starting at the loop for the
hanging mass.
6. Using the meter stick, identify the distance between the top of the tube and the rubber stopper
associated with the mark closest to the hanging weight. You can now easily measure the radius
by subtracting 1 centimeter for every mark below the tube that you can count. (You can also
determine the radius by measuring the length of string below the tube and subtracting from the
total length of the string.) You can also use a piece of tape or a paper clip to mark the position of
the string to give a radius that you measure before spinning. However you do it, make sure that
nothing restricts the free movement of the string through the tube.
First investigation: Force versus velocity (for fixed radius and fixed rotating
mass)
1. Set the spring balance to zero. (It's preferable that the spring balance reads directly in newtons.
If it reads in grams, multiply by 0.0098 to convert to newtons.)
2. Attach the bottom of the spring balance to a clamp on the table and the other end to the string
coming from the tube. See the previous Figure 13-2.
3. Start the rubber stopper going in a circle.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
4. Measure the radius from the center of the circle to the rubber stopper (in meters). This should
remain nearly the same for all these measurements.
5. Measure the period or the number of seconds it takes to go ten complete rotations.
6. Calculate the velocity (in meters per second) by using v = 2πr/T, where r is the radius (in meters)
and T is the period (in seconds).
7. Measure the force on the spring scale while the washer is spinning. If you are using a mass
hanging from the string, the force (in newtons) is equal to the weight of the mass (mass in kg
times 9.8 or mass in g times 0.098).
8. Increase or decrease the velocity while maintaining a fixed radius. For each new velocity,
measure the force on the spring scale. Repeat for several velocity and force measurements at
(nearly) the same radius, and then plot the results.
Second investigation: Force versus the rotating object's mass (for fixed radius
and fixed period)
1. With the spring balance set to zero and attached to the table as done previously, start the
rubber stopper spinning at a medium-paced period.
2. Measure the force and record the mass of the rubber stopper.
3. Tie a second stopper (to double the mass) at the end of the string.
4. Repeat by adding a third and then a fourth rubber stopper.
5. Complete the data table, plot your results, and describe the relationship between force and
Third investigation: Force versus orbital radius (for fixed period and fixed
rotating mass)
This part is more complicated than the previous two investigations and will require a greater
degree of skill and patience.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
1. Zero the spring balance and clamp to the table, as done previously.
2. Start the rubber stopper going in a circle.
3. Measure the radius, measure the force on the spring scale, and then measure the period as
previously described. (Throughout this part of the experiment, the velocity needs to stay as
constant as possible, so the only variables being studied are force and radius. Measure the
period and from that determine the velocity. As the radius gets larger, it will be necessary to
allow the period to decrease to maintain a constant velocity. If the velocity is reasonably close
to the first reading, record the radius and the force, as well as the spring scale. Otherwise, adjust
the rate of turning and try again until the velocity is reasonably close.)
4. Adjust the radius (either longer or shorter) while continuing to turn at the same rate. For each
new radius, measure the force on the spring scale.
5. Repeat for several radius and force measurements at (nearly) the same period.
6. Complete the following data table and plot the results.
Expected Results
This project leads to the following conclusions:
1. The faster the rotation (or the shorter the period of rotation), the greater the centripetal force
needed to maintain circular motion.
2. For a 12-gram rubber stopper, the expected results are shown in Figure 13-3. This shows the
relationship is not linear, but that it increases more rapidly as the velocity increases.
3. The greater the mass, the greater the force needed to keep the rubber stopper going at a given
speed at a particular radius. This result is expected to be linear.
4. For a given rotational speed, the shorter the string, the greater the force needed.
For a 12-gram rubber stopper, the expected results are shown in Figure 13-4, which
shows an inverse relationship between force and string length.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Why It Works
The "string" that keeps an object going around in a circle is provided by a centripetal force. In
this case, it is literally a string. In the case of a satellite or planet, the "string " is the gravitational
force.
The faster the object goes (for a given radius), the greater the force, according to the equation:
where Fc is the centripetal force, m is the mass of the spinning object (the washer in our case), v
is the velocity of the washer, and r is the radius of the circle.
Other Things to Try
Finding the mathematical model
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Given the data shown in Figure 13-3, we can determine that force increases with the square of
the rubber stopper's velocity in one of two ways:
1. Use a curve-fitting program, such as Excel. From a scatter plot, with the data selected, go to the
Chart menu, select Add Trendline, and then select a power fit option. Select Add Equation to the
Chart from the Options tab. This displays the mathematical model for your data. The expected
result is for this to be the form y = x2 or close to it.
2. Either using Excel or plotting by hand makes a graph of force versus velocity squared. If the
relationship is of the form expected, that graph should be a straight line. This is shown in Figure
13-5.
Given the data previously shown in Figure 13-4, we can determine that force varies inversely
with the radius (string length) using the same techniques.
1. Have Excel determine the trendline for the expected data, as shown on the graph for the
previous Figure 13-4.
2. Plotting force versus the reciprocal of radius (1/r) results in a straight line, as shown in Figure 136.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Sources of error
This project works reasonably well and enables you to find the model for centripetal force using
very simple equipment. The following are potential sources of errors that may impact your
results:
1. Friction between the sting and the tube overstates the required force.
2. Air resistance results in a slightly slower value of velocity.
3. At slower speeds, the circle may not be perfectly horizontal and may have a complicating effect
from gravity.
Determining the accuracy of the model you found
For any of the points you measured, compare the force you measured (by either the spring scale
or the hanging mass) with the expected value for the centripetal force given by:
The Point
Centripetal force keeps an object rotating in a circle. The centripetal force equals the mass of the
object times the velocity squared divided by the radius.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
30.
Factors that Affect Crater Formation on the
surface of the Moon and other Planetary Bodies
by Mike Calhoun
Type
Astronomy and Mathematics
Middle School (6-8)
Difficulty of Project
Easy
Cost
Under \$5.00 dollars-Excluding the Tri-fold display board.
Safety Issues
Care should be taken when handling and dropping the rock from the various heights.
Material Availability
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
One day after all of the materials are secured.
Objective
An impact crater is a hole excavated out of a surface (e.g. a planet, moon, asteroid, or comet)
when a smaller mass usually a meteor moving at very high speed collides with it, the research
aspect of this science fair project is to model the factors that affect crater formation.
The young investigator will examine images of Moon craters. A pan will be filled with flour and
a rock is dropped from various heights into the flour. The craters produced, along with their size,
composition, and depth will be measured. Calculations of the impact velocity of the rock when it
strikes the surface will also be made. From these measurements and calculations,
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
data tables and various graphs will be produced.
Finally, the investigator will compare the crater patterns modeled in this science fair project to
the ones seen on the Moon and other celestial bodies.
Materials and Equipment / Ingredients
Metric ruler, forceps, newspaper, small shallow pan or box, white baking flour, one medium size
rock, and images of craters on the Moon and other planets also, an optional handheld calculator.
With the exception of the rock all of materials are available from a major retail (Wal-Mart, Target, Dollar
General, etc) discount department store and/or in the home. Depending on where the investigator lives,
a rock can be gathered from various field locations such as a rock quarry, road cuts, stream beds, etc.
Also a Tri-fold cardboard display board can purchased from an art & crafts store.
Craters form when an object strikes the surface of a planet, moon, or other object in outer space.
Craters are also found here on Earth as well. The energy from the impact of an object such as a
meteorite or asteroid is transferred to the surface that it strikes. The energy from the impact
forces the surface it strikes to move. Material from the surface is thrown from the impact area to
form a ring of material called ejecta. The crater can contain rocks that were changed from the
impact. These rocks can be broken or melted. The crater will be circular in shape. It will be about
10 times larger than the diameter of the object that forms it.
The size, mass, speed, and angle of the falling object determine the size, shape, and complexity
of the resulting crater. Small, slow moving objects have low impact energy and cause small,
craters. Large, fast moving objects release a lot of energy and form large, complex craters. Very
large impacts can even cause secondary craters, as ejected material falls back to the ground,
forming new, smaller craters, or a series of craters. Craters can be classified into 3 basic types:
Simple impact craters have bowl-shaped depressions, mostly with smooth walls. This type of
crater generally has a diameter less than 9 miles (15 km). Their depth is about 20% of their
diameter.
Complex impact craters have a single or several peaks in the middle of the crater. These craters
have diameters between about 12 and 110 miles (20 and 175 km), and the central uplift is usually
one or a few peaks. Craters with a diameter over 110 miles (175 km) can have more complex,
ring-shaped uplifts within the crater.
An Impact Basin is an impact crater that has a rim diameter greater than 185 miles (300 km).
There are over 40 impact basins on the Moon. These catastrophic impacts produce faulting and
other crust deformations. Material ejected from impact basins is distributed over wide areas.
The total mechanical energy of an object is the sum of its kinetic energy (KE) and potential
energy (PE). A meteor, asteroid, or some other object in deep interplanetary space loses potential
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
energy and gains kinetic energy as it falls toward and impact the surface of the celestial body
thereby producing a crater. Since initial PE equals final KE at the point where the space object
collides with a celestial body’s surface like the Moon, the impact velocity of object can be
calculated using the math formula:
Where “h” represents height and the gravitational constant, “g” is the acceleration of the object
due to gravity. This acceleration is about 9.8 meters per second on Earth.
Digital photos can be taken during the experimenting process and the following websites offer
down loadable related images that can be used on the display board:




http://static.howstuffworks.com/gif/moon-2.jpg
http://serviastro.am.ub.es/eclipsi2004a/craters.jpg
http://genevalunch.com/files/2009/11/moon_craters_nasa_1109.jpg
http://www.geologyrocks.co.uk/system/files/u4/cratertutfig1.png
Research Questions










What is a crater and how is it formed?
What does the flour surface look like before testing?
How did the dropped rock affect the surface of the flour?
Which drop made the deepest crater?
How did mass (size) of the rock affect the sizes of the craters?
How did the size of the rock affect the shape of the crater?
What do the data reveal about the relationship between crater size and velocity of the dropped
rock?
What do the data reveal about the relationship between ejecta length and velocity of the rock?
Which type of crater was seen most often regardless of the mass of the rock and the height
dropped?
How does this activity simulate actual impact crater formation?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research
Crater, meteorite,velocity, potential energy, kinetic energy, Simple impact craters, Complex
impact craters, Impact Basin, and Eejecta (the material surrounding the crater that was
excavated during the impact event).
Experimental Procedure
1.
2.
3.
4.
Prepare for the investigation by placing the newspaper on the floor.
Fill the pan with flour to a depth of 5 cm. (See illustration)
Shake the pan gently to smooth the surface and then place it on the newspaper.
Using the metric ruler, drop the rock sample from a height of 25 cm above the surface of the
flour. (See illustration)
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
5. Use the forceps to remove the rock.
6. Measure and record the depth of the crater and diameter of the crater
7. Measure distance from the crater of most of the flour that was ejected (ejecta) when the rock
hit.
8. Repeat steps 4 through 7, dropping the same rock from a height of 50 cm, 75 cm, and 100 cm
(one meter) above the surface of the flour in different parts of the pan. Note: That the higher
the drop height, the faster the rock hits the flour surface.
9. Record the depth of each crater in a table similar to one shown.
10. Make three trials for each height and compute the average values.
Drop Height
25 cm
50 cm
75 cm
Crater Impact Measurement Data
Depth of
Crater
of Crater
Distance
Depth of
Crater
of Crater
Distance
Depth of
Crater
of Crater
Distance
Trail 1
Trail 2
Trail 3
Total
Average
Trail 1
Trail 2
Trail 3
Total
Average
Trail 1
Trail 2
Trail 3
Total
Average
Diameter
Ejecta
Diameter
Ejecta
Diameter
Ejecta
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Trail 1
100 cm
Depth of
Crater
of Crater
Distance
Trail 2
Trail 3
Total
Average
Diameter
Ejecta
11. Calculate the rock’s impact velocity when it strikes the surface of flour by using the formula.
Drop
Height
Height in Meters
Acceleration due to Gravity
25 cm
980 m/s2
50 cm
980 m/s2
75 cm
980 m/s2
100 cm
980 m/s2
Impact velocity (m/s)
12. To the make the calculations use a handheld calculator or the simple online tool accessed at:
(http://www.livephysics.com/tools/classical-mechanics/solve-problem-related-to-impact-forcefrom-falling-object.html)
13. Using graph paper or a computer equipped with Excel® use the data written in the two tables
and plot a series of line or bar graphs of the following:
Average Crater Diameter vs. Rock Velocity
Average Crater depth vs. Rock Velocity
Average Ejecta Length vs. Rock Velocity
Bibliography
Meteorite Craters,
Kathleen Mark,
University Of Arizona Press,
ISBN: 0816515689,
ISBN-13: 9780816515684
65
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
This book contains a thorough account of meteorite craters. It uses the historical method, unrolling the
story of meteorites and meteorite craters from about the 17th century to the present. It starts with the
story of how scientists came to accept stones falling from the sky as a real phenomenon. It then
proceeds to the long process whereby scientist were lead to understanding of what geological structures
on earth are impact related and how to distinguish them from other types of geological structures.
Lunar Impact Crater Geology and Structure
http://www.lpi.usra.edu/expmoon/science/craterstructure.html
Martian Craters http://www.msss.com/http/ps/crater.html
Meteor Craters http://www.geologyrocks.co.uk/tutorials/meteor_craters
Ancient Asteroid Made Jell-O of Earth at Chicxulub Crater in Mexico's Yucatan
http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/planetearth/asteroid_jello_001122.html
Potential and Kinetic Energy http://zebu.uoregon.edu/1998/ph101/pe1.html
Note: The Internet is dynamic; websites cited are subject to change without warning or notice!
66
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
31.
Doing Forensics with Paper Chromatography!
by Muriel Gerhard
Type
Chemistry
Elementary - Grades 4 and 5
Difficulty of Project=Medium
Cost=\$ 10
Safety Issues
Wear safety glasses and apron or old shirt as a lab coat.
Material Availability
The materials are readily available from the local stationary store and super market.
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
One week. This includes collection, recording and analysis of data, summary of results and
completion of bibliography.
Objectives
To determine whether colors such as black, brown, orange and purple are pure colors or mixtures
of other colors by using paper chromatography.
Materials and Equipment Required






Non-permanent markers: black, brown,
orange and purple
2 large coffee filters
scissors
4 pencils
centimeter ruler
tape
Introduction





4 medium plastic cups or medium sized
jars
4 flat plastic plates
4 small plastic baggies
measuring cup
large bottle of tap water.
67
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Background Information
On the information level students will acquire some basic information on physical and chemical
changes and on the process of paper chromatography involving the physical separation of
mixtures of primary colors. They will observe a variety of changes actually observing the flow
and separation of the components. They will research the various uses of chromatography such
as in crime scene investigations, by pharmaceutical companies in analyzing the amounts of
specific chemicals in their products, by hospitals in determining the alcohol in patients’ blood, by
environmentalists in studying the level of pollutants in our water supply. Students will not only
experience an example of the process but in combination with armchair research see the direct
and practical applications of this process to daily life.
On the experimental level, this science fair project serves to acquaint students with the essential
processes of sciencing such as the importance of the use of a control, of identifying dependent
and independent variables, of data collection, of pictorial and graphic presentation of data and of
being able to make better judgments as to the validity and reliability of their findings. They take
on the role of scientists and in the process they learn to act as one.
Research Terms









chromatography
permanent colors
mixtures
solvent
solute
water solubility
water soluble materials
compounds
capillary action








cohesion
absorption
rate of absorption
forensics
chemical change
physical change
Research Questions















What is chromatography?
Who invented paper chromatography?
If you analyzed the parts of the word, chroma and graphy, what would be the definition of the
term?
What are mixtures and how are they made?
What are compounds and how are they made?
What are the differences between physical and chemical changes?
How would you define a physical change, a chemical change?
What is capillary action?
What is cohesion?
What are solutions?
What are primary colors?
What are secondary colors?
What are some practical uses of paper chromatography?
Are there other types of chromatography? What are they and how are they used?
68
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research





What is a control? A control is the variable that is not changed in the experiment.
What purpose does a control serve? It is used to make comparisons as to what changed or
possibly caused the change.
What are variables? Variables are factors that can be changed in an experiment.
What is an independent variable? The independent variable is the one that is changed in the
experiment.
What is a dependent variable? The dependent variable is the one that changes as a result of the
change in the independent variable.
Charting and Graphing Data
In each section of the experiment, use charts to display the obtained data such the following
sample:
Color of Markers
Black
Colors Before Chromatography
Colors After Chromatography
Brown
Orange
Purple
Experimental Procedure
1.
2.
3.
4.
State the problem you are going to investigate in this science fair project.
Create and reproduce the data sheets you will use to record your observations.
Put on your safety glasses, apron or old shirt used as a lab coat. .
69
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
5. Line up 4 jars, label each one with the name of color of the marker you are testing, black, brown,
orange and purple.
6. Prepare your chromatography strips. Use the coffee filter s and cut out at least 8 strips in case
you make a mistake. Measure the length of the jars so that the strips can be rolled and taped
around a pencil. The pencil will sit across the top of the jar and the strip should reach just about
the bottom of the jar. Make the strips 1 inch wide and as long as you determined from your
length measurement.
7. With your pencil draw a line on each of the strip that is 2 cm from the bottom.
8. Using each one of your magic markers, just above the pencil line made a dot. You will have 4
strips each having one dot of a different color.
9. Using the measuring cup or graduated cylinder pour a small amount of water in each jar, the
same amount in each jar.
10. Tape each paper strip to a pencil and place each pencil across each jar. Check to see that the
strip just touches the surface of the water. Keep it away from the sides of the jar.
11. Keep the strips in the jars for five minutes.
12. Remove each strip and place them on plastic plate to dry.
13. Observe what happened to each strip recording your information in your chart.
14. When the strips are dry place them individually in the plastic baggies to use in your final report
and or display.
15. Prepare your report and include all of the following: a clear statement of the problems, your
hypothesis, List the materials used. Include the safety precautions taken. Describe the
procedures used. Include all the data that were gathered. Include your chart. Formulate your
conclusions. For dramatic value, you may include photos of the materials used or of you in the
process of conducting this investigation. Include a bibliography of sources you used. You may
wish to assess what you did and describe what you would do differently if you were to do this
project again.
Bibliography
1. http://www.chem4kids.com
2. About.com Chemistry Anne Helmenstine, Ph.D.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
32.
Make a Steam-Powered "Rocket Boat"
What do you need?
1. Metal tube (a cigar tube works great -- ask an adult to get you one)
2. Two pieces of strong, stiff wire (like clothes hanger wire) about 18inches long
3. Cork that fits snuggly into the end of the tube
4. Two food warmer candles (in metal cups)
5. Balsa wood (4 inch by 8 inch, 1/2-inch thick)
7. Hammer and three nails
8. Matches
You'll need an adult's help with the matches and the hammer and nails!
What to do?
1. Put the cork into the end of the metal tube making sure its very tight. Carefully poke a hole
through the cork with a nail.
2. Take the two 18-inch lengths of wire. Wrap the wire around metal tube about one-inch from
each end of the tube, and twist the wire tightly with the pliers so the tube is firmly held by the
wire and won't slide.
3. Cut a boat shape out of the balsa wood, making a triangle bow at one end. Hammer two large
nails in each end about one inch in from each end. The nails will help to stabilize.
4. Mount the two candles about 1-1/2 inches from each end of the wood. Use loops of masking
tape to stick the metal cups to the wood.
71
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
5. Take the tube with the wire and mount the tube so the wire will hold the tube just above the
candles. Wrap the ends of the wire around and under the board and twist the ends neatly on
the underside. (See picture)
6. Carefully remove the cork from the tube and fill the tube about three-quarters full with very hot
water. Tightly replace the cork. Make sure water will drip out the hole in the tube.
7. Fill up a bath tub or a large sink with water.
What you'll discover!
The heat of the candle will cause the water in the tube to boil. The water will change to steam
and the steam will escape out the hole in the cork pushing the boat forward in the water.
Here are some questions to think about:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Why use hot water in the tube?
What would happen if you used cold water?
What would happen if you didn't put a hole in the cork (DON'T TRY THIS!)?
What would happen if the hole in the cork were larger?
There are two different things to learn here.
A rocket works the same way. Hot gases and fire come out of the motor of a rocket. The gases
coming out the nozzle at the bottom of the rocket come out in one direction. These escaping
gases push the rocket in the opposite direction.
Second, energy from the candles changes the water into a gas (water vapor or steam). The steam
can escape. Steam is used in a lot of energy power plants.
72
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
33.
How to Determine the Effect of Wind on
Measuring Rainfall
by Janice VanCleave
What You Need to Know
A gauge is a scale of measurement. A rain gauge is a device used to
collect and measure rainfall.
How Does a Rain Gauge Work?
Rainfall measurement is the depth of accumulated rainfall in a period
of time. Because rain generally sinks into the ground, runs off the
surface into streams, collects in low areas, or evaporates, the amounts
of rainfall cannot be measured with accuracy in natural places.
Instead, a rain gauge is used. A rain gauge is usually a cylinder with a
scale in inches or millimeters on its side. The diagram below shows two types of rain gauges,
one with a funnel-shape top and the other with straight sides.
For a gauge like rain gauge A, the actual height of the rain collected in the cylinder is equal to
the amount of rainfall. Rain gauge A shows 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water, thus the rainfall
measurement is 1 inch (2.5 cm). Rain gauges with funnels, like rain gauge B, are used to collect
and measure small amounts of rainfall. In gauges with a funnel top, the height of the water in the
cylinder does not equal the amount of rainfall. Instead, the ratio of the diameter of the cylinder to
the diameter of the funnel is used to make the measurement. To determine the amount of rainfall
per 1 division on the scale of the rain gauge: (1) write down the ratio, (2) express the ratio as a
fraction, and (3) divide the denominator of the fraction into the numerator. For example, if the
ratio is 1:10, the scale would be determined as follows:

1:10 = 1 inch of rainfall/10 inch height of water in the cylinder
73
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR

= 0.1 inch of rainfall / 1 inch height of water in the

cylinder
Rainfall is usually described as either light, moderate, or heavy. Light rainfall is less than 0.10
inches (0.25 cm) of rain per hour. Moderate rainfall measures 0.10 to 0.30 inches (0.25 to 0.85
cm) of rain per hour, and heavy rainfall is more than 0.30 inches (0.85 cm) of rain per hour.
What Does This Have to Do with the Effect of Wind on Measuring Rainfall?
A rain gauge measures the amount of rainfall in a specified period of time. This means the
amount of rain that would accumulate on a level surface if none of the rain soaked in, ran off, or
evaporated. Catching rain that falls vertically is not a problem. But what about rain that is being
blown by the wind and falls at an angle? Does this affect the amount collected?
Fun Fact
One inch (2.5 cm) of rainfall produces 4.7 gallons (17.9 L) of water per square yard or 22,650
gallons (86,070 L) of water per acre.
Real-Life Science Challenge
It's a challenge to measure rainfall at sea where it must be measured on ships. The motion of the
ship presents a problem. Special rain gauges have been designed to improve the accuracy of
rainfall measurement on moving ships, but better methods are still needed.
Experiment
Now, start experimenting with determining the effect of wind on measuring rainfall.
Hints
o
o
o
Design and build a rain gauge.
A spray mister can be used to simulate rainfall.
A fan can be used to simulate wind.
Related Books
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
34.
In a Lather: Do Suds Matter?
by Sofia PC
Grade Level: 6th-8th; Type: Consumer Science and Chemistry
Objective:
To discover if a sud-free cleaning agent works just as well as one that
generates suds.
Research Questions:


What happens when bubbles start forming and foam up?
Does sudsy action get things cleaner?
Many cleaners are marketed for their “rich lather,” which suggests that more bubbles and foam
lead to more cleanliness. But is it true? What exactly do these bubbles do?
Materials:





Two soiled towels with obvious stains
Sudsy cleaning agent (can be shampoo, dishwashing liquid, or detergent)
Non-sudsy cleaning agent
Two buckets to hold the soiled towels
Water
Experimental Procedure:
1. Take the two equally soiled towels and place each in a separate bucket. Label one bucket
"sudsy" and one "non-sudsy."
2. Add the cleaning agents accordingly.
3. Add equal amounts of water to both buckets.
4. Wash for the same amount of time at the same pressure for both towels.
5. Now observe which one is cleaner.
Terms/Concepts: Bubbles; Suds
References: Wikipedia's Soap Bubble Page; Bubbles; The Science of Soap Films and Soap
Bubbles by Cyril Isenberg (Dover, 1992). Soap-Bubbles and the Forces that Mould Them, by C.
V. Boys (Dover reprint, 1890) is a classic Victorian exposition, based on a series of lectures
originally delivered "before a juvenile audience."
75
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
35.
Investigating Beauty with the Golden Ratio
by Megan Doyle
Two irrational numbers (approximately 0.618 and 1.618), are often
referred to as the “golden ratio.” These two numbers possess many
intriguing properties. For example, shapes that adhere to the golden
ratio have long been considered to be aesthetically pleasing. This
experiment will investigate whether the golden ratio can be used to
predict peoples’ assessment of beauty in others.
Problem:
Do test subjects consider celebrities with facial measurements that
come closest to the golden ratio to be the most attractive?
Materials:






Images of well-known celebrities
Ruler
Calculator
Computer
Printer
Notebook for analyzing results
Procedure:
1. Perform an online search for images of famous people. Include celebrities that you find
attractive and celebrities that you find unattractive.
2. Enlarge the images so that you have a clear view of the front of the celebrity’s face, and print
3. Measure and record the following aspects of each person’s face, to the nearest tenth of a
centimeter: (A) Top of the head to the chin; (B)Top of the head to the pupil; (C) Pupil to the tip
of the nose; (D) Pupil to the lip; (E) Width of the nose; (F) Outside distance between the eyes;
(G) Width of the head; (H) Hairline to the pupil; (I) Tip of the nose to the chin; (J) Lips to the chin;
(K) Length of the lips; (L) Tip of the nose to the lips
4. Calculate the following ratios for each celebrity: o A/G o B/D o I/J o I/C o E/L o F/H o K/E
5. Create a survey that evaluates the attractiveness of each celebrity image on a scale of 1 to 10.
6. Show 20+ test subjects your images and ask them to take the survey.
7. Evaluate your results. Based on your calculations, which celebrity images came closest to being
“golden”? Did these celebrities receive the highest rankings for attractiveness in the surveys
76
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
36.
The Art of Dyeing and Colorfastness of Dyed
Fabric
by Janice VanCleave
For thousands of years, dyes have been used to improve the appearance of things. Our world is
filled with beautiful objects that come in all colors of the rainbow.
In this project, you will learn about different methods of preparing material that is to be dyed.
You will also determine the colorfastness of dyed fabric and examine the oxidation resulting
from bleach and sunlight.
Getting Started
Purpose: To determine whether vinegar is necessary for dyeing eggshells.
Materials






I-pint (500-ml) jar
distilled water
1-teaspoon (5-ml) measuring spoon
blue food coloring
2 cups
marking pen





white vinegar (5%)
large spoon
2 eggs (hard-boiled)
paper towel
Procedure
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
Fill the jar half full with distilled water.
Add 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of food coloring to the water and stir.
Pour half of the colored water into one cup and half into the other.
With the marking pen, write "With Vinegar" on a piece of masking tape and tape this label to
one cup.
Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vinegar to this cup and stir.
Label the other cup "Without Vinegar."
Use the large spoon to place one egg in
each of the cups (see Figure 17.1).
Allow the eggs to remain undisturbed
for two minutes.
Remove the eggs and place them on a
paper towel. Do not dry the eggs with
the towel; allow them to air dry.
Observe the color of each egg.
77
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Results
The egg soaked in the dye solution containing vinegar is a darker blue than the egg soaked in the
dye solution without vinegar.
Why?
To dye an object, the molecules of dye must stick to the surface of the object. In this experiment,
the dye is attracted to the eggshell due to a difference between the electrical charge of the
molecules of dye and the electrical charge of the molecules on the outside of the eggshell.
Vinegar (acetic acid and water) reacts with the layer of protein molecules covering the surface of
the eggshell so that the surface becomes positively charged and attracts the negatively charged
dye molecules. Some of the dye molecules simply become lodged in crevices in the eggshell;
thus, the egg in the solution without vinegar has some color.
Try New Approaches
1. Is the intensity of the color of the egg affected by the concentration of vinegar in the dye
solution? Repeat the experiment two times, first adding 2 teaspoons (10 ml) of vinegar to the
colored water, and then adding 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) of vinegar.
2. Does the temperature of the solution affect the results? Repeat the original experiment two
times, first adding ice to the colored water to chill it, and then using hot tap water.
3. Does the color of the dye affect the results? Repeat the original experiment using other food
colorings. Science Fair Hint: Display color photographs of each egg along with descriptions of
each procedure.
1. Can the surface under the cuticle, the thin protein layer covering the eggshell, be dyed? Use a
nail file to rub back and forth across one spot on the surface of a hard-boiled egg until the outer
layer of the shell is removed. Fill a cup half full with distilled water. Add 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of red
food coloring and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) of vinegar and stir. Place the egg in the red vinegar solution.
Remove the egg after two minutes and observe the coloring on and around the area rubbed
with the file.
2. Two methods are commonly used to dye cloth. One is direct dyeing (dye is affixed directly to the
cloth), and the other is indirect dyeing (dye unites with a mordant, a substance affixed to the
surface of the cloth). Note: Before demonstrating these two dyeing methods, remove the sizing
if the material is new (material used to fill the pores of fibers of fabric) from two 12-×-12-inches
(30-×-30-cm) pieces of white cotton cloth. Pour 1 cup (250 ml) of water into a saucepan. Add 1
tablespoon (15 ml) of sodium carbonate (washing soda) and stir. Put the cloth pieces in the
solution and bring to a boil. Boil for two minutes. Allow the solution to cool. Remove the cloth
pieces and rinse in water. Prepare a commercial cloth dye by following the directions on the
package. Use the following instructions to dye the cloth pieces.
a. Direct dyeing can be done by pouring 1 cup (250 ml) of the dye solution into a bowl. Put
one of the cloth pieces in the bowl and stir for two minutes. Remove the cloth and rinse
with water. Allow the cloth to dry.
78
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
b. Indirect dyeing requires further preparation of the cloth. First, boil the cloth for two
minutes in a solution made of 1 cup (250 ml) of water and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of
Epsom salts. After cooling, rinse the cloth with water and soak the cloth in household
ammonia for one minute. CAUTION: Ammonia is a poison. It and its fumes can damage
skin and mucous membranes of nose, mouth, and eyes. Remove the cloth and rinse with
water. Wring out any excess water. Soak the cloth in 1 cup (250 ml) of dye solution for
two minutes. Remove the cloth and rinse with water. Allow the cloth to dry.
3.
a. Colorfastness is the resistance a dye has to fading. The oxidation (combining with
oxygen) of dye molecules results in molecules that are colorless or that have very little
color. Ultraviolet light from the sun makes oxygen molecules in the air more reactive;
thus, colored materials placed in the sun fade more quickly.
79
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Demonstrate the fading effect of sunlight by folding a piece of red construction
paper back and forth into accordion like pleats (see Figure 17.2). Place the folded
paper in a sunny window for four to five days. Note: Do not change the position
of the paper. Then, unfold the paper and observe the color of the pleats.
b. Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite, a chemical that contains chlorine and oxygen,
among other elements. Chlorine has a strong affinity for hydrogen. When bleach comes
into contact with a dye containing hydrogen, the hydrogen is removed by the chlorine
and oxygen is left in its place. The oxide formed is white or less colored. CAUTION: Avoid
contact with bleach. It will irritate eyes, skin, and mucous membranes. Do not mix it
with acids, ammonia, or other household chemicals because toxic gas may form.
Demonstrate the bleaching effect by adding drops of bleach to a variety of fabric
samples including cotton, nylon, rayon, acrylic, and wool that are all of the same
color (the colors may not be exact, but make an effort to get them as close as
possible). Cut each fabric sample into two 4-inch (1O-cm) squares. Place one
square of each fabric on a plastic tray and drop three drops of bleach in the center
of each piece of fabric. Make observations every ten minutes for one hour.
Compare the color of the bleached and unbleached samples. Compare the
colorfastness of the different types of fabrics. Rinse the bleached samples with
water. Use them on a project display to represent the results (see Figure 17.3).
Get the Facts
80
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
1. As long ago as 3000 B.C., dyes extracted from plants were used in China and the Middle East to
color textiles. Find out more about natural dyes. Make a list of common plants that can be used
to produce specific colors. Discover methods of extracting the dye from plants. You could color
pieces of cloth with your dyes and display them.
2. In 1856, the English chemist, William H. Perkin, was trying to produce quinine from coal tar,
when he discovered mauve-purple dye. He later discovered a second synthetic dye, magenta.
Find out more about synthetic dyes. What contribution did Karl Grabe and Karl Liebermann
make to the dye industry? What effect did their discovery have on the profitable cultivation of
madder plants in France, Holland, Italy, and Turkey?
Related Books
81
POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
37.
Solar Heating and Designing of a Solar Cooker
by Janice VanCleave
What You Need to Know
Solar energy is radiation from the Sun. Passive solar heating is a
method of heating with solar energy that does not require mechanical
power to circulate heat. A solar cooker is a device that uses solar
energy to cook food.
How Does Passive Solar Heating Work?
Passive solar heating is any method of using energy from sunlight as
long as other energy sources, such as electricity, are not used. For example, dark-colored objects
absorb more of the sunlight that falls on them than do light-colored objects. Some of the light
energy is changed into heat energy, which is also called infrared radiation. Because a black
object absorbs more sunlight, it will release more heat than a white object will. Smooth, hard,
light-colored objects will reflect more sunlight than rough, soft, dark-colored objects. Passive
solar heating can also be achieved by directing the sunlight to a specific place. Light reflects off
the surface of shiny objects. Mirrors can be used to focus reflected sunlight, meaning that the
mirror directs the sunlight to a specific place.
What Does This Have to Do with a Solar Cooker?
A simple example of solar cooking is making sun tea in a glass jar. The jar is filled with water,
and a tea bag is added. Closing the jar helps to keep the heat in, as well as dirt and bugs out of,
the jar. Some of the sunlight passing through the glass changes into infrared radiation which
warms the water and thus cooks the tea.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Fun Fact
At the Academy for a Better World on Mount Abu in India, solar cookers produce steam, which
is used to cook vegetables in very large pots. On days of peak solar radiation, the cookers can be
used to provide food for about 38,500 meals.
Real-Life Science Challenge
Solar energy doesn't cause air pollution, and there is no end to its supply. Compared to fossil
fuels, sunlight is a diluted source of energy. This means that it is spread out over a large area.
Sunlight is also only available at certain times, and there is less of it on cloudy days and at
different times of the year. But ways of collecting and transforming sunlight into other energy
forms, including solar cells that change sunlight into electricity, are constantly being improved.
Experiment
Now, start experimenting with solar cooking.
Hints
o
o
Aluminum foil is very reflective and can be shaped to focus light.
Some foods, such as chocolate and marshmallows, can be cooked at low temperatures.

Caution: Do not try to cook raw meat in your solar cooker.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
38.
Are Dogs Colorblind?
by Julianne Blair Bochinski
Note: The International Science and Engineering Fair has established strict guidelines to which
all of its affiliate fairs must adhere. These guidelines involve experimentation with vertebrate
animals. It is the responsibility of the student to follow those rules carefully. (See the Foreword
and/or contact Science Service, the administrator of the ISEF, for a copy of the applicable rules.)
Purpose
To determine if dogs are in fact completely colorblind, as many people believe.
Materials Needed




assorted colored construction paper
camera
black and white film
3 glass jars


1 dog—any age , breed, or sex, in good
health
dog biscuits or some other treat the dog
likes
Experiment
Photographs of colored construction paper will be taken with black and white film to determine
how colors appear under varying amounts of light. These pictures will simulate how shades of
color would be perceived by a totally colorblind dog. A dog will be trained to consistently
choose a jar covered with paper of one shade (as it appears from the photos) from a distinctly dif
ferently shaded jar. Once the dog is trained to choose the particular jar, the other jar will be
replaced by a jar of a different shade but with similar contrast to the one the dog is trained to
choose. The jar positions will be switched frequently to determine whether the dog can still
recognize the shaded jar that it was trained to choose.
Procedure
1. Take black and white
photographs of an
assortment of colored
construction paper to
determine which colors
appear to have similar and
dissimilar degrees of
brightness and contrast after
the film is developed.
2. Cover two jars with
differently colored
construction paper that
share a similar contrast and
brightness when
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
photographed with black and white film. Cover the third jar with another color whose
photographed shade is distinctly different from the other two.
3. For the first part of your experiment, the dog will not be tested for colorblindness but will be
trained to select one of two similarly shaded jars from the differently shaded one. When the dog
can consistently choose the correct jar, reward it with a treat.
4. For the second part of your experiment, replace the jar that the dog was not trained to choose
with the second similarly shaded jar. The dog will need color vision to distinguish between the
two jars, since with complete colorblindness the two colors would appear to be the same
brightness and contrast.
5. Switch the positions of the jars around frequently, and test the dog 100 times. If the dog
chooses correctly, continue to reward it to keep it interested. Chart the number of correct and
incorrect responses made by the dog in the second part of your experiment.
Results
1. Was the dog able to distinguish between degrees of brightness and contrast in the first part of
2. Was the dog consistently correct, incorrect, or did it vary in its responses?
3. Was the dog able to distinguish between the similar shades in the second part of your
experiment?
4. Was the dog consistently correct, incorrect, or did it vary in its responses?
5. If the dog was mostly correct, do you think that other variables may have accounted for its
accuracy?
Related Books
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
39.
Can Certain Foods Make You Smell?
by Jennifer Penn-Chiu
Objective:
To discover whether eating certain foods will make your skin smell.
Research Questions:
 Does eating certain foods for an extended period of time cause you
to smell?
 Which foods produce the strongest odors?
 For how long do those odors linger?
Onions, garlic, and curry definitely makes your breath smell. But do smells also come through
our skin in the form of perspiration? This experiment will give you the answer!
Materials:






Onions
Garlic
Curry
15 test subjects (at least five for each test group of onions, garlic, and curry)
An “odor judge” who doesn't know about the experiment
Pen/paper for notes
Experimental Procedure:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
Prepare the onion, garlic, and strong curry for eating.
Divide your group of 15 test subjects into three groups of five.
Give one group raw onions to eat, one group raw garlic, and one group curry.
One day later, gather all your test subjects into one spot, along with your “odor judge." Your test
subjects should not wear any lotion on their skin, nor any fragrance.
Have your test subjects line up and hold their arms out. Instruct your judge to smell each subject
between his or her elbows. Ask the judge: Do you smell anything unusual? What do you smell? Is
the smell strong or subtle? Record the judge's responses.
Do the exact same thing one week later.
Compare the responses of your judge with the record of what the subjects ate. Was your odor
judge able to detect onions, garlic, or curry on the skin of the subjects? Calculate the percentage
of matching responses for data. Compare what the judge smelled after one day to what he or
she smelled after one week.
Evaluate your results and come up with a conclusion.
Suggested Chart:
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
Anything Unusual? What do you smell?
Strong/Subtle?
Test Subject #1
Test Subject #2
Terms/Concepts: food consumption; food odor; body odor; perspiration; bad breath; digestive
system
References: Wikipedia's Digestive System Page; National Digestive Diseases Information
Clearinghouse (NDDIC); Your Digestive System; Maton, Anthea; Jean Hopkins, Charles
William McLaughlin, Susan Johnson, Maryanna Quon Warner, David LaHart, Jill D. Wright,
Human Biology and Health (Prentice Hall, 1993)
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
40.
Arch Magic: The Unbreakable Egg
by Blayne Baggett
Type
Engineering
4th -7th
Difficulty of Project
Easy
Cost
\$2
Safety Issues
No
Approximate Time Required to Complete the Project
Less than 1 hour
Objective

Understanding the weight distribution of an arch.
Materials and Equipment



Eggs
Small board
Various books
Introduction
Bridges, frames of houses, etc. have all been made using arches in order to fully use the strength
of an arch. An arch is a curved structure that supports or strengthens a building. Almost all
arches span openings and support weight above them. Others are enclosed in walls.
Most arches are made of stone, brick, concrete, or steel. Arches of stone or brick consist of
wedge-shaped blocks called voussoirs. During the construction of most such arches, the blocks
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
are supported by a wooden frame. The last block to be inserted is the keystone, the center stone
at the top. The pressure of each side of the arc against the keystone supports the arch when the
frame is removed. In addition, the arch is supported on both sides by masonry or by other arches
to keep it from collapsing under the weight above. The first people to fully utilize the arch were
architects of ancient Rome. During the 300's B.C., they began to use semicircular arches to build
aqueducts and bridges.
Research Questions



Will 4 eggshells hold a book?
If so, how many books will they hold?
Does the structure get stronger with more eggshells?
Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research

Arches--even those made of eggshells--are strong because they exert horizontal as well as
vertical forces to resist the pressure of heavy loads. The crown of an eggshell can support
heavy books because the weight is distributed evenly along the structure of the egg.
Experimental Procedure





Carefully break off the small end of four eggs and pour out the insides.
Put a piece of cellophane tape around the center of each eggshell.
Cut through the center of the tape to make four dome-shaped shells (discard the broken
end of each shell).
Lay the four domes on a table with the cut sides down arranged in the shape of a
rectangle.
Next, guess how many telephone books you can lay on top of the shells before they
break.
Bibliography


World Book Encyclopedia (1997)
The Kids Science Book (1995)
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
41.
Does Watching Television Before Bed Affect Sleep
Quality?
by Megan Doyle
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Social Science
Objective:
This experiment will use sleep assessment questionnaires to evaluate
if television affects sleep quality.
Research Question:

Do people who watch television directly before bed sleep as
well as those who do not watch TV?
Does watching television before bed prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep? This
experiment will use sleep quality questionnaires to compare two groups of participants (those
who watch TV for one hour before bed versus those who do not watch any TV before bed).
Materials:





Computer
Printer
Sleep quality questionnaires (eg, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index and the Epworth
Sleepiness Scale)
Notebook for analyzing results
Experimental Procedure:
1. Ask all of your test subjects to watch TV for at least one hour directly before going to bed
at night. Ask your test subjects to be sure that they get their usual amount of sleep each
night.
2. Ask participants to take your selected sleep quality questionnaires around lunchtime the
next day.
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 for three nights.
4. Next, ask all of the test subjects to refrain from watching any television within two hours
of going to sleep at night.
5. Ask participants to take your selected sleep quality questionnaires around lunchtime the
next day.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 for three nights.
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
7. Evaluate the questionnaires completed by each test subject. Average the scores from their
Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index surveys over the 3 days that they watched TV before bed
and compare to their average questionnaire score when they did not watch television.
Perform the same analysis with the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
8. Analyze the results. What percentage of test subjects report an improvement in quality of
sleep when they do not watch television before bed? Is the improvement (if there is one)
evident in both types of sleep quality questionnaires?
Terms/Concepts: sleep quality; television and sleep; Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index; Epworth
Sleepiness Scale
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POSSIBLE PROJECTS FOR 6TH GRADE—SCIENCE FAIR
42.
Magnifying Light, Magnifying Heat
by Michelle Formoso
Grade Level: 6th to 8th; Type: Physics
Objective:
Focus some sunlight with a magnifying glass and trap some of
sunlight’s shorter waves to see which melts ice faster.
Research Question:
Will an ice cube melt faster out in the open, under the greenhouse
effect, or under focused sunlight?
Materials:





Pencil and paper three glass or ceramic bowls three pieces of ice, all the same size
One piece of glass, big enough to completely cover one of the bowls
One magnifying glass
Hot, sunny day
Clock or watch
Experimental Procedure:
1. On a hot, sunny day (no clouds or this won’t work!), put a piece of ice into each of three bowls.
Cover one of the bowls with glass and take them all outside. You might also want to wear
sunglasses; this experiment gets pretty bright!
2. Put all of the bowls out in the sunlight where they won’t be disturbed. Note the time on the
piece of paper.
3. Use the magnifying glass to focus the sunlight on one of the pieces of ice that isn’t in the
covered bowl. Experiment with the angle of the magnifying glass and the distance—what you
want is the smallest, brightest spot possible right on the piece of ice. Be careful! This spot is hot
and you can burn yourself with it, or light something flammable on fire.
4. Keep the sunbeam focused on the cube of ice and watch all three to see which one melts
completely first. Make note of the time when each one melts.
5. Think about which ice melted fastest and why. The ice that just sat out in the sun was exposed
to the sun’s heat, but less so than the other two. The glass over the second bowl trapped some
of the sun’s shorter waves, like the windows of a car or like greenhouse gases. And the third
piece of ice had all of the sun’s light focused on it, not just scattered around it.
Terms/Concepts: greenhouse gases, wavelength
References: Science Fair Adventure: Magnifying Light
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