Science Fair Ideas!

The following is a subset of the ideas for science fair projects found on this science fair site.

For each project, your assignment is to come up with an experiment that would test the idea.

  1. Make a computer model of the Flood currents.
  2. Statistical occurrence of giants, and midgets and dwarfs and giantism. Use Princess Flo, Goliath, and brothers.
  3. Does Tanning leather affect C14 content and date?
  4. How much voltage or current can a human take before he is killed? …
  5. How much electricity does an eel put out?
  6. What was life like before the Flood?
  7. Trilobites prove Noah’s flood because they are curled up or not?
  8. Can salt water and fresh water fish live in the same water or not?
  9. How long can flies survive freezing in a frig?
  10. Is intelligence influenced by physical attributes. i.e. are blondes “dumb” or does skin color influence intelligence?
  11. Can a dog run a maze faster than a gerbil?
  12. Could a person function without thumbs? or What would it be like to not have thumbs?
  13. Is energy ever destroyed or created?
  14. What makes an animal wild?
  15. Why do some foods give you a stomach ache?
  16. Why does the ocean appear blue but when it is in a bucket it is clear?
  17. Why is hair thicker on the head than the rest of the body?
  18. Why does the Bible say there is one glory of the sun, one glory of the moon, and one glory of the stars?
  19. Why is snow 6 sided?
  20. Where are teeth stored?
  21. What was the weather like before the Flood?
  22. Were all the animals friendly to man before the Flood? Idea: raise several baby animals like snake and mouse together to see if they remain friends as they are older.
  23. Why did God create the moon to control the tides?
  24. What affects skin color? Is one color better than another? What was God’s purpose in this?
  25. What color is our brain?
  26. What is the fastest speed something can go?
  27. Why do cats always land on there feet when they fall? Do other animals do this?
  28. How do mice react after 24 hours of confinement? What about other animals?
  29. What is God made of?
  30. What is plastic made out of?
  31. What is rubber made out of?
  32. Why did God make pests like bugs and mosquitoes?
  33. Why are there joints and cracks in the earth’s crust?
  34. Why do our joints crack?
  35. Why do people believe in Evolution?
  36. What events caused them to become evolutionists?
  37. Is posture related to digestion? Greeks lay down to eat, we sit up.
  38. Why do some animals lay eggs and others bear babies alive? Why did God do it this way?
  39. Are humans mammals? We thought they were made in God’s image and not related to animals.
  40. Why did God make birds to fly?
  41. Were dinosaurs alive at the same time as humans?
  42. If there were aliens, why would they visit humans?
  43. Where was the Garden of Eden? Is it around today?
  44. Why do cats hate dogs and dogs hate cats?
  45. What are aliens and are there really any in our world? see Lamentations 5:2, Eph 2:12, Heb 11:34.
  46. Can plants affect your growth?
  47. Why does earth (dirt) crumble in your hand but is hard when you walk on it?
  48. What is the difference between cold and warm blooded? Why did God do it this way?
  49. What shape is outer space?
  50. If people stayed in caves with no clues to day and night, how long would their daily sleeping and waking times be? Would they set a 24 hour day? If not, what keeps us on schedule?

Comments

  1. #1 01jack
    February 1, 2010

    The project descriptions that presume young-earth creationism are easy targets asking for ridicule, and it’s obvious what they expect to come from studied ignorance.

    But for the life of me I can’t quite figure out what “Can plants affect your growth?” is driving at.

  2. #2 WMDKitty
    February 1, 2010

    RE: can plants affect your growth?

    Fruits. and. Vegetables.

    Healthy diet = optimal growth

    Therefore plants affect your growth.

  3. #3 Greg Laden
    February 1, 2010

    kitty, what is the experiment that you would design to test this?

  4. #4 01jack
    February 1, 2010

    So, then, animals can affect your growth (sub-optimally)?

    It’s just such a weird way of phrasing the idea, if that’s what they’ve got in mind.

  5. #5 Ian
    February 2, 2010

    Wow – those are horrible. Seriously – how hard would it be to come up with YEC-compatible ideas of science? Properly indoctrinated, you can let children do experiments, have fun, and tie them to bible verses without contaminating their mind with “naturalism”. But maybe that’s the point – teach them to do all sorts of nonsense in the name of “science”, and they’ll continue to see creation “science” as science. Or maybe that’s as far as these people’s understanding of science goes…maybe they think this is what science really is. They’ve seen these people called ‘scientists’, and they know they do certain things, and talk in a certain way, and these ‘scientists’ do certain things and speak in a certain way. And like a child waving a stick pretends to be an orchestra conductor, without a clue of what the conductor does, they imitate the ‘scientist’, without a clue what the scientist does…

  6. #6 peter
    February 2, 2010

    # What is God made of?
    # What is plastic made out of?
    # What is rubber made out of?

    Very strange neighbourhood

  7. #7 peter
    February 2, 2010

    Why did God do it this way?
    Why did God make pests like bugs and mosquitoes?
    Why did God make birds to fly?

    What the fuck? asking children to explore the mind of a god they believe in? Does their idiocy know absolutely no bounds?

    What a pile of shit.

  8. #8 Equisetum
    February 2, 2010

    #20 Where are teeth stored?

    In a glass on the nightstand.

    Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.

  9. #9 jaf
    February 2, 2010

    This might be painful.

    Also, God is made out of plastic. Everyone knows that. We just don’t know what kind of plastic.

  10. #10 jaf
    February 2, 2010

    And for next year:
    51. How did got make the earthquake in Haiti?

    If I go, will someone please pick me up off the floor if I turn into a quivering mass of wince?

  11. #11 Nemo
    February 2, 2010

    49. Banana.

  12. #12 MadScientist
    February 2, 2010

    Huh. A lot of those cannot be tested ethically. To some degree we can use proxies, but there is always uncertainty about how relevant the proxies are (for example drugs tested on other animals are not necessarily as effective on humans and some may be more toxic to humans).

    As for the tummy-ache thing – there are numerous causes of tummy aches from food. The question to ask is what directly causes spasms of the stomach and what can trigger those causes.

    #29: God is made of snips and snails … oh, wrong book.

  13. #13 NewEnglandBob
    February 2, 2010

    OK, I see now: Twin Cities Creation Science fair. Not anything real and rational. I am surprised there were actually so many real science entries.

  14. #14 Deen
    February 2, 2010

    These are amazingly stupid – some more than others. A few of my favorites:

    Why do cats always land on there feet when they fall?

    They don’t. Dropped from too low and they don’t have time to turn mid-air. Dropped from too high and it won’t land, but simply crash.

    Why did God make birds to fly?

    To escape predators? Then why did God make predators in the first place? Besides, what about predator birds?

    Besides, what about birds who don’t fly? And mammals that do?

    How on earth are they supposed to show experimentally why God did something?

    What are aliens and are there really any in our world? see Lamentations 5:2, Eph 2:12, Heb 11:34.

    Ah, ok, now I get it. “Create an experiment” apparently means “Quote the correct Bible passages”.

  15. #15 Greg Laden
    February 2, 2010

    Dropped from too high and it won’t land, but simply crash.

    Actually, there is a detail you’re leaving out. If you drop them form a low to medium height, cats will accelerate using the usual dropped-cat formula. But if you drop them from a higher height, they flatten out and fly. Poorly.

    Thus, in one study, cats that fell from something like 5 to 9 floors in Manhattan and brought to the vet were less injured than those from lower floors.

    (There may be problems with that study)

  16. #16 Greg Laden
    February 2, 2010

    Ian[5] Well put. I like the conductor simile.

    Equisetum: I thought the same thing. I wonder what they are getting at.

    jaf [9]: I love your new blog!

  17. #17 James
    February 2, 2010

    9. How long can flies survive freezing in a frig?

    Put a bunch of frigging flies in the freezer and measure the time to expiration.

    There are a couple of frigging questions that need to be answered. Do flies that stop frigging before they freeze count as a valid data point or must they freeze mid-frig? Also, since abstinence before marriage is a mantra, would the experimenter have to supply a copy of the marriage licenses of the frigging participants?

    I really am surprised that this frigging project would be included in a Christian Science Fair.

  18. #18 bug_girl
    February 2, 2010

    eek. Some of those are some serious animal experimentation, and say a lot about the attitude of the experimenters :(

  19. #19 Deen
    February 2, 2010

    @Greg Laden: Ah, but when they flatten out, they don’t land on their feet either, they land on their chest. And I imagine that the problems with the study that you refer to include at least the distinct possibility that most cats falling more than 9 stories wouldn’t be brought to the vet at all, because they’d be dead.

    But we’re really nitpicking here (which can be fun, though). The point is that they put in an obviously false claim and then expect the kids to explain it. Right. And while I can understand the ideological reasons why they would do that to topics related to creationism, I don’t understand why they didn’t bother to do a quick google on more religiously neutral factoids like the cats landing on their feet thing. It just shows how little they care about factuality in general, in my opinion.

    Should some atheists go to this fair (as suggested in the other thread), and should they find a poster about this topic which points out that cats don’t, in fact, always land on their feet, I hope they will loudly and publicly praise the kid. Because I doubt the organization will.

    Unless the kid discovered this by actually throwing cats out of high rise buildings, of course.

  20. #20 Salad Is Slaughter
    February 2, 2010

    My favorite:

    4. How much voltage or current can a human take before he is killed?

    So for this experiment do you wire up your siblings and turn on the juice? Should you repeat the experiment using people of different weights? If you claim that this is for the Twin Cities Creation Science Fair will the authorities drop the murder charges? How many people do you have to use before they start calling you a serial killer?

  21. #21 JRO
    February 2, 2010

    My favorite-
    18.Why does the Bible say there is one glory of the sun, one glory of the moon, and one glory of the stars?

    My hypothesis:
    Someone between 10,000 and 1,000 years ago wrote that in a book, which was then compiled into the Bible. QED.

  22. #22 Jared
    February 2, 2010

    I often found myself wondering why “science fairs” so frequently involve expeiments where the answer is already known. This sham of one brings it to new heights of redundancy while simultaneously decreasing the “science” to a brief reading of Wikipedia. I can think of hundreds of easy experiments-ranging from evolution (I know that isn’t allowed here) to observational studies of geckos or anoles regarding hunting behavior to biochemical changes associated with food preparation-which have not been done. Are the individuals putting on this “make your little sheltered child feel like they understand our twisted idea os ‘science'” really that oblivious and devoid of creativity to think these ideas actually merit investigation?

    While a couple of them are legitimately scientific questions, they have all been investigated to the point of additional basic experiments being an example of futility taken to an extreme case.

    There is no sense in waiting for that one billionth apple to fall just to see if this one finally falls upwards.

  23. #23 slightlymadscience
    February 2, 2010

    I can just see the little kidlets science fair proposals now…

    4. (how much electricity kills) Subject a volunteer to increasingly higher amounts of voltage and current, and asking them afterwards if they are “not dead.” Earlier tests will use a larger increase each time to better find a terminal amount quickly. It can be refined later. If enough subject material is found, include variance in where on the human body the electrodes are applied (head, chest, toes) and see how that impacts the results. Submit findings to state government to improve the energy efficiency of executions.

    12. (no thumbs) Using a combination of super-glue and duct-tape, see how well the subjects manage without thumbs. Prefer those addicted to mobile texting and console gaming as they may murder themselves in fascinating ways in epic frustration.

    25. Verify the color of the brains from those volunteers who perished in #4 and #12, combining experiments in the name of efficiency.

    Twin Cities Creation Science Fair: Training the sociopaths of tomorrow!

  24. #24 Deepsix
    February 2, 2010

    In regards to the cat landing on its feet, I always thought a great Onion headline would be “Your Cat Lands On Its Feet 87% Of The Time Report Neighborhood Kids”.

    4. How much voltage or current can a human take before he is killed? …

    Any volunteers? It’s for, like, science and stuff.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    February 2, 2010

    Deen, well, they unflatten at the last moment, of course.

    The idea is not totally nuts. The idea that from a great height, cats can parachute makes sense.

    But yes, the study I read of, and I read this in a Readers Digest article when I was about 12 years old in a waiting room, did include some dead cats that were brought to the vet but the presumption is that most of the cats that died would not have been brought in.

  26. #26 rob
    February 2, 2010

    the science fair is at har mar mall. so close. so tempting to go and have a good laugh.

  27. #27 WMDKitty
    February 2, 2010

    Greg @3 — I have no clue, compare the health of two groups of people, one on a diet including plenty of fresh fruits and veggies, and the other, like… with few fruits and vegetables. How you’d control for genetic variance, though, I have no clue. I am not a scientist.

  28. #28 Jared
    February 2, 2010

    WMDKitty, you have to create two populations utilizing clones!

  29. #29 davem
    February 2, 2010

    Some there would take 1 minute googling, and others that’d take a lifetime’s study. But I’d go for no.4, and I’d explain the virtues of a binary search to the director who set these questions up: “OK, so 5V didn’t kill my friend, director, so let’s see if 500,000V kills you. If it does, then the answer is somewhere betwetween 5 and 500,000″…

  30. #30 Cthulhu's minion
    February 2, 2010

    But what if you glued a piece of buttered toast to the back of the cat?

  31. #31 DuWayne
    February 3, 2010

    Jared –

    I often found myself wondering why “science fairs” so frequently involve expeiments where the answer is already known.

    Mainly because we are usually talking about relatively young kids. I mean hell, I think I was maybe twelve at the oldest when I participated in one. The idea is to help kids understand the concepts involved in doing science. Have a question about a phenom, take a broad related theory and develop a specific hypothesis that is falsifiable, define and design an experiment (or study) and at the fair (as apposed to publishing in a journal) communicate your findings. I learned all that more than twenty years ago – I couldn’t for the life of me begin to remember what I actually did – except that it involved electricity.

    I am not saying that that is how sci-fairs always work in practice, but the bottom line is that the actual experiment/subject is largely irrelevant (unless we are talking about the majority of the list in Greg’s post). And honestly, there are a very few kids who are going to be remotely capable of coming up with an even seemingly original topic. But of course that is also part of doing science – replicable results.

  32. #32 Jared
    February 3, 2010

    DuWayne, I understand that only a few kids could come up with a decent novel hypothesis, but how about something not-already-repeated-ad nauseum? I mean, “plant growth rates and CO2″ wouldn’t be bad. Most kids know plants require water, CO2, and sunlight. Another one off the top of my head would be population densities of (insert species name here) in (whatever region you live in). The ones I did in elementary school involved something about photoperiods and plant flowering or frog reproduction (total eggs laid per female).* It’s not difficult to come up with something new if they have a decent understanding of some aspect of science.

    *one of these I did in junior high, the other in 6th grade, I do not know the order…

    Still, does the lack of creativity in science fairs reflect a lack of childhood creativity, or a lack of scientific literacy?

  33. #33 DuWayne
    February 3, 2010

    Well I also think it is important to recognize that most kids go with what they have been learning about – the more “creative” going for a book of projects in the library. And for the record (not to be critical – seriously) plant growth and tadpoles both are rather common. So are, these days, wind driven and even water driven turbine generators.

    Some high school students I know even went in for a group competition. They built wind turbine generators with old motors (such as a treadmill motor and about that size) and designed a turbine – the competition obviously being to produce the most power. It is actually quite impressive the amount of power motors that small can produce. They had to explain exactly why they felt their design should be the winner. The person who won the actual school competition didn’t actually win the personal contest between them – he was able to explain his reasoning rather well, if he were a better fabricator, he would have probably won.

    I think there tends to be a great deal of trendiness to science fair projects. But again, I honestly don’t think it really matters. The actual subject of the experiment or project is irrelevant to the goal (unless it happens to be “proving” some biblical point. The goal is for kids to come out of it understanding how science works.

    The bottom line, is that it is really hard to come up with original ideas for science fair projects with the materials most kids have on hand and the level of knowledge they have…

  34. #34 Rod
    February 4, 2010

    As the chairman of our local Scifair, I find several troubling elements here. Many of the suggested topics are completely unethical… no experimentation on vertebrates, no ingesting anything (ie. vegetables), no electrocution of anyone… we’d have problems with a 9 volt battery and a cockroach!
    As to the questions involving god… find a better question!
    Make a testable hypothesis! learn about independent methods of verification.
    We see a lot of the same stuff year after year, but as judges we have to remember that when you are 11 or 12, a lot of cool stuff is new to you… the key is how well you investigated it how well your conclusions supported your hypothesis.
    Even a cheesy topic such as does playing rock music to plants make them grow better can be done well by a 12 yr. old, and they learn a lot from the process… controls, blanks, identifying variables, sources of error, tabling results, making a decent presentation… all of these can make a winning project at that grade level, while not a colpetitor at the national level. If they do well with a trivial, project, they’ll come back next year with a better one, and the process is reinforced. If we as judges crap on their efforts we’ll never see them again and they’ll have a mad on for science that may last a lifetime.
    In 25 + yrs of SF involvement, I’ve seen ‘em all.

  35. Hmmm… a thought provoking post.

    Although I thought science fair projects are supposed to explore questions that can be tested. Isn’t this what separates science from what is not science?

    These examples take the cake for me:

    Why do people believe in Evolution?

    Why do cats hate dogs and dogs hate cats?

    What shape is outer space?

    I won’t even elaborate…lol

    Great post though, I can see it has invoked the inner passion of some.

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