We get it: As a parent or kid, when it comes time for that latest science fair project to bubble up to the surface, it’s time to hit up Google for something relatively easy to get done that will hopefully give the kid a winning “A+” grade in their science class.
As one who’s been privy to several winning science projects and beloved technical classroom lessons, here are some ideas to use, whether you’re a teacher, parent or student:
Use a CAD program to create paper airplanes or a soapbox car
My 7th-grade son’s favorite teacher is a guy who leads his “Gateway to Technology” class. Not only did the man win a $5,000 grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement and use it to buy the class a 3D printer, he also spent money on a computer-aided design (CAD) program that cost at least $500 and loaded it onto all the computers so that the kids could make their own paper airplane designs and soapbox derby cars.
Therefore, consider using a computer-aided design program (or tap into companies like IndiaCADworks to create CAD designs for you), and use the output to create airplanes, wooden soapbox cars that are then sanded with wheels added to facilitate actual racing – or whatever your science-minded heart desires.
Make slime using Borax
Another science fair project that turned out to be a pretty fun experiment involved making slime. Kids love playing with it, and adults can learn along with the children all about the process.
About.com has a pretty simple recipe to make slime. The hardest time I had with the project was in finding the correct type of “20 Mule Team Borax” at Target, but other than that, the whole experiment turned out to be a fascinating journey into how easily you can add basic ingredients like water, Elmer’s glue, Borax and food coloring together to create squishy slime.
Measure the CO2 in soda
Measuring the carbonation levels in a variety of sodas was a bit more intense of a science project, but it ended up earning my child high marks nonetheless. Ehow.com has a wonderfully illustrated step-by-step article that helped us discover how to make the whole thing work.
My son chose five different soda bottles, and it was kind of tricky getting the plastic tubing just right through the top of each of them and filling up the water in the correct manner so that we could invert the glass jar in the bowl as shown, but eventually it worked out.
Admittedly, it took a few visits to the store for more soda bottles when things failed, and a run to a home improvement store for more putty that would provide an airtight seal around the tubing as it flowed through the bottle cap. This is the kind of project that students (and let’s admit it, parents) can undertake if they are seeking something intricate, outside of the common vinegar and baking soda combination to create a pseudo-volcano kind of science experiment. The teachers have seen that kind of old hat science project a million times anyway. Hopefully all of the above will provide something a lot more fascinating.