Ideas for Science Fair Investigation

There are an infinite number of questions which can be asked. Below are quite a few to get you thinking. They are divided into the science fair categories for ease of search, but you will see that many questions could fit into two or more different categories. (Click here for descriptions of the categories.) There are also many web sites that contain project ideas.

Behavior & Social Sciences

Earth & Space Sciences

Medicine and Health

Biochemistry

Engineering

Microbiology

Botany

Environmental Science

Physics

Chemistry

Gerontology

Zoology

Computer Science

Mathematics

Consumer Science


Behavior & Social Sciences

Do young children perform better in school using fluorescent light or natural light?

How does gender determine the way an optical illusion is interpreted?

How does the appearance of food affect the perception of taste?

Can a mouse be conditioned to run to the right side of a T-shaped tube?

Does a smile affect a person's behavior toward you?

Can hamsters learn to discriminate between geometric shapes?

Can animals distinguish different types of music?

Does music affect the egg-laying rate of chickens?

How does practice or reward affect learning (a specific task)?

Can human mothers identify their infants by odor?

Can an earthworm learn?

Does the phase of the moon affect the activity level of guinea pigs (or some other animals)?

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Biochemistry

Does filtering your water really make it safe?

Do some fabrics absorb stains more than others?

How do petroleum products affect plants?

Does the temperature of a potato affect the way it cooks as a chip?

Which method of cooking allows vegetables (or some other food) to retain the most nutrients?

What are the effects of different kinds of plant food on plant growth?

Do antioxidants promote plant growth?

Does temperature affect the acidity of grapefruit juice?

How does vitamin C content of packaged orange juice compare to that of freshly-squeezed orange juice?

How does temperature affect enzyme activity?

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Botany

What medium produces the healthiest ___________ plants?

How much salt can a ___________ plant tolerate and still grow?

Do heavier apples have more seeds?

In what medium do plant cuttings root the best?

Does different colored light affect the development of chlorophyll in leaves of houseplants?

Do different kinds of potatoes have different amounts of starch?

What is the best way to control damping-off?

What effect(s) does caffeine have on the growth of ___________ plants?

How much weight can a growing seedling lift?

How do storage conditions affect the germination of seeds?

How does soil composition (or soil pH) affect seed germination?

How does amount of water affect seed germination?

How do different light sources affect seed germination?

How does temperature affect seed germination?

How does temperature affect plant growth?

How does amount of water affect plant growth?

How do different soil compositions affect plant growth?

What are the effects of different minerals on plant growth?

Which type of fertilizer is best for ___________ plants?

Can you give a plant too much fertilizer?

What is the affect of centrifugal force on plant growth?

How does the duration of insolation affect plant growth?

Which color of light is best for plants?

How does pot size affect houseplant growth?

What is the best medium for hydroponics?

Which is more effective at controlling aphids on rose bushes: pesticides or lady bugs?

Does aspirin really extend the life of cut flowers in water?

Which is best for plants: tap water, distilled water, or rain water?

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Chemistry

How do home permanents affect the strength of hair?

How does temperature affect the growth of crystals?

How does washing affect the flame-retardant properties of sleepwear?

Which solvent separates ink samples the best in chromatography?

What best retards the rate of rusting of various metals?

Will antacids help soil polluted by acid rain?

How does amount of carbonation affect the pH of soft drinks?

What is the effect of octane on gas mileage?

How do the sizes of cookies baked with butter, margarine, and shortening compare?

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Computer Science

Can a computer program predict weather?

How accurate is the polygraph?

Which coders are the most efficient for digital video?

How much damage is imparted by a magnet on a computer disk?

Is there really randomness in computer games?

How does computer enhanced learning compare to conventional learning?

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Earth and Space Sciences

Which ground cover best prevents soil erosion?

Which mulch is best at conserving moisture in soil?

Which absorbs and radiates more energy: soil, sand, or water?

How do various aquatic plants affect the pH of pond water?

How do different types of insulation affect the efficiency of a solar wall?

Which type(s) of barrier best prevent sand dune erosion?

Rocket fins: What do they do for the rocket?

Does shape or placement of a rain gauge affect its accuracy?

Does cracking a car window affect internal temperature?

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Engineering

Which type of bridge construction supports the most weight?

How do servomechanisms work?

What is the best wing design for flight longevity?

Which airfoil design provides the most lift during flight?

How does the size of the combustion chamber affect the thrust of a rocket engine?

What type of antenna radiates the most effectively?

How does blade design affect energy generation of a windmill?

Which turbine configuration creates the most electricity?

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Environmental Science

How quickly do the the toxic chemicals in pressure-treated (CCA) wood leach into the surrounding soil?

Which type of wood is the most resistant to decay? (Is pressure-treated wood more resistant?)

How biodegradable are various detergents?

How does rain affect the pH of a pond?

How does acid rain affect various building materials?

How does acid rain affect ___________ plants?

How does radiation affect ___________ plants?

How do various ice-melting salts affect grass?

How does car exhaust affect grass?

How does a landfill affect its natural surroundings?

What effect(s) does thermal pollution have on aquatic life?

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Gerontology

How does age determine the way an optical illusion is interpreted?

How does age affect memory?

How does age affect the ability to estimate distance?

How does age affect the pupil's reaction to light?

How does age affect sense of taste?

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Mathematics

Do the dimensions of dice affect the probability of falling by chance?

Is winning the lottery a matter of strategy or luck?

Is there a quantitative difference in newspaper coverage of selected stories?

Which battery is the most economical?

Which detergent is the most economical?

Do parking meters give us our money's worth?

Which costs more: a leaky faucet or hiring a plumber?

How much money can a pool cover save?

Are compact fluorescent light bulbs worth the money?

How does cost relate to the effectiveness of shampoo?

When it is raining, do you get wetter walking or running?

Which network has the most reliable weather forecast?

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Medicine and Health

What is the best method for measuring lung capacity?

What are the effects of diet pills on fruit flies (or some other organism)?

What will happen to muscle circumference during a basketball game?

What effect does fish oil have on cholesterol level in mice?

Toothpastes: Are name brands worth your money?

Is soda pop really bad for your teeth?

Does hypertension exist in seventh graders?

What are the short-term effects of junk food on blood pressure?

Is hand-washing really effective?

What cleans dirty skin the best?

Do respiratory allergies affect the sense of smell?

How effective are cigarette filters?

How does smoking affect lung capacity?

How does caffeine affect blood pressure?

Does sitting in a hot tub affect blood pressure?

Does eating breakfast affect short-term memory?

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Microbiology

What effect(s) do various preservatives have on rate of food spoilage?

What preserves food the best: Tupperware, foil, or cellophane?

Do light and temperature affect the way bacteria grow?

What is the effect of temperature on bacterial growth in buttermilk?

Does the milk-fat content affect the shelf-life of milk?

Can antibiotics be found in our soil?

How does light affect the growth of pond organisms?

Which common food preservative would be best for preventing mold growth in bread?

Which bread molds most quickly?

How do electric fields affect the growth of yeast?

Which form of sugar causes yeast to grow the fastest?

Does antibacterial soap really work?

Do microwaves inhibit mold growth?

Does toothpaste (or mouthwash) kill mouth bacteria?

How does temperature affect the growth of phytoplankton?

Does diet affect the color of Paramecium?

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Physics

Why does a curve ball curve?

Which form of insulation works best on water heaters?

Which substances make the best sound insulators?

What color water absorbs the most heat?

How does temperature affect the height a ball can bounce?

How does the tail affect the flight of a kite?

Which wavelength(s) of light best penetrate fog (or smoke)?

Does a bubble always take the shape of a sphere?

What design enables a paper airplane to fly the farthest?

How does shape affect the distance which a Lego car can travel?

How does the angle affect the distance a projectile travels?

How does the number of coils affect the strength of a magnetic field?

Does the shape of the container affect the freezing rate of water?

How does soap affect the surface tension of water?

How does storage temperature affect the life of a battery?

Do rechargeable batteries last as long after they have been recharged?

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Zoology

How does water pH affect goldfish?

Which plants are best for sustaining fish in a contained environment?

Can caffeine be used as a pesticide?

How do various pesticides affect beneficial insects or butterflies?

Can defects in white mice caused by B1 deficiency be reversed by vitamin replacement?

How does temperature affect the calorie needs of rabbits?

What is the difference in effect of sugar and Equal on the hyperactivity of hamsters?

Which color liquid do hummingbirds prefer?

Which color corn do chickens prefer?

What is the effect of caffeine on developing chicken embryos?

How does caffeine affect a spider's ability to spin a web?

Which color porch light attracts the fewest moths (or other insects)?

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Consumer Science

Which brand of diaper is the most absorbent?

Which paper towel is the strongest / most absorbent?

Which brand of laundry detergent is the best at removing grape juice?

Which brand of toothpaste gets teeth the whitest?

Which brand of popcorn pops the biggest?

Are stain-resistant carpets really stain resistant?

Which spot remover is the most effective on different stains using different types of materials?

Which brand of household glue is the strongest?

Are store-brand detergents as effective as name-brand detergents?

Are liquid detergents as effective as powdered detergents?

Which bandage stays on the longest under water?

Are name-brand sunscreens more effective than generics?

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Questions? Contact the GPHSF Director. Last modified: 31 August 2004