Science Fairs at all levels are great learning experiences, They not only teach basic scientific principles, but allow the students to pursue things they are interested in and socially interact on a “scientific” level. In High School science fair projects are usually a bit more competitive and a bit more detailed than for students in younger grades. However that doesn’t mean that they can’t be fun or that there aren’t easy projects for the science fair that demonstrate sound scientific principles. Science should always be fun and interesting. The important thing is to pick a project the student is excited about doing that isn’t to complex and yet demonstrates valid science. Let’s look at some easy projects that can be done by most High School students.
One simple and easy biology project is embryology. It requires about 4 dozen fertile eggs, a light bulb connected to a thermostat, and 20 glass jars. The eggs are incubated using the light bulb as a heat source for the incubator (these can actually be hand made or obtained from the Internet, one can talk about how they work if you want to include physics) and break one egg open each day to demonstrate embryo development. The eggs are placed in a jar after they are opened and carefully labeled, the student describes what is happening. There are only 21 days and the last egg hatches so will need to be in a pen with some food and water. The other way to do this is to put two eggs (good to always have a spare for each day) into the incubator at the same time each day and then open them all at once. This saves needing to store anything, but may get some people upset. This project is easy to do, but does require scientific thought and research.
Most science fair projects overlook insects, and insects can make some very interesting and simple science projects; bugs are easy to find the world over. Collections are always fascinating, showing differences between types. You can also try feeding living ones different things, the larva can and will change with many species. Another simple experiment is to take a few aquatic insects and change water temperatures, decide which one is “optimum” for each insect, then speculate why! A student will find that they can even change the size of some insects by changing the temperatures at with the nymphs live. A few projects simply requiring jars of water and a bit of thought, easy enough to do and studies the science of entomology. Not usually as controversial or messy as using eggs or live chickens!
Not into Biology? Maybe the student would rather deal with Physics and Math? Think about magnets and metals. Why are some more attracted that others? How about showing magnetic poles repelling and calculate how much lift could be obtained this way, an easy project but some complicated math. There are some amazing magnetic kits easily affordable on the Internet today even using super magnets to create levitation, and they can have a strong attraction for students studying physics. Light is also fascinating and easy to demonstrate with some of the hand-held lasers available today: try light absorption (black vs white vs different colors), concentrating light or splitting light using a prism. All are easy to do and again some very interesting, easy science projects that illustrate sound principles.
Chemistry is another topic taught at High School and that lends itself to some very easy and simple science fair projects. Electrolysis and the breakdown of water to produce hydrogen for fuel is the first that springs to mind, very much “in vogue” with the talk of fuel cells today. It only requires water, salt, batteries, and something to catch the hydrogen. Caution is needed as hydrogen is explosive, that is how it powers an engine.
How about using different chemicals for cooking to add flavor? That is all seasoning really does. A student can show how chemicals breakdown to form different products (Starch to sugar is one)and is a taste example of science at work. This type of project it simple to cook up, just make sure the students don’t use anything toxic!
Psychology is considered a “soft” science that is hard for many people to understand, but there are several very easy and good projects in this field as well. A student can check out optical illusions and explain how vision effects our perception on the world around us or do surveys and demonstrate that people are controlled by their environment an. A easy project is to have people look at a drawing for 30 seconds and then remove the drawing and write what they see, and easy enough project but you will get a variety of answers based upon people’s experiences.
These are but a few of the simple, easy science fair projects available for the High School student. These projects are not only easy to do but are great for teaching real scientific principles. The important thing about these and all science fair projects is that the students take good notes and learn what is happening. There are numerous others; gears, plants, and even the stars! The sky is the limit and maybe not even that!