When thinking about taking on a science fair project, there may be budget constraints that you have not considered. There are plenty of projects that require the purchase of expensive equipment and sophisticated tools, but the truth of the matter is that a winning science fair project is not necessarily an expensive one. When performed with a close attention to detail and with a full understanding of the concepts behind the experiment, there are many economical science fair projects that can still be quite impressive.
In the first place, take a look at running a science fair project based on botony. Botony involves the study of plants and how well they grow, and the supplies are easily purchased from a home and garden store. You can even grow sprouts in plastic yogurt cups if you have smallish plants. Consider what might make plants grow, and what factors you can experiment with. For instance, adjusting the alkaline or acidic quality of the soil only requires soil additives and pH strips, while adjusting the quality of light can involve taking the plants in and out of the sun or covering them with colored cellophane.
Another area you might want to investigate is behavioral science. If you have pets, this can be a good way to test hypotheses on animals. Running rats or mice through a maze or calculating the speed with which dogs or cats take to solve simple problems or learn tricks can be a great way to get the judges’ attention. Include plenty of pictures of your test subjects and remember to consider what the consequences of the experiments might be to the animals’ health or emotional well-being.
When you want to put together a great science fair project, don’t forget that you can also use your classmates as test subjects. Understanding things like digestion and nutrition and the effect they might have on the human body is a great simple experiment for students to engage in. For instance, you can feed your classmates different snacks and time how long it takes for them to run or how fast they run. Experiments like this require a good sample size of students, but after that, you simply need different snacks and a stop watch!
If you are thinking about something more elaborate, think about growing mold. Mold and fungi require heat and a substrate to grow, and one way to figure out exactly what molds look like and how they develop is to try growing them on different substrates. Try growing molds on bread, on cheese and on a slice of lunchmeat, and seeing what develops. Keep an observation log of the mold and how it spreads.
When you are looking for a great science fair experiment, remember there are plenty of projects that do not require a lot of cash. Keep things simple, keep good records, and you can be sure to get a good grade.