One of the most memorable moments from a child’s education is their first science fair. The countless volcano models that line the aisles, the hours of hard work put into a project, and the anticipation to see who placed first; there’s truly nothing like it. But, looking for a project that might pique your child’s interest while also upping their chances at victory can be a daunting task. Give these sure-to-win, cool science fair projects a try and let your child become a science fair legend!
5. Tornado in a Bottle
Topping our list is a classic science experiment that will wow both your child and the judges. In the project, a device connecting two bottles together will create a channel as the water is emptied from one bottle into the other, creating an awe-inspiring, tornado-like effect. According to SciNado, “by rotating both bottles a few times, the water in the upper bottle starts moving in a circular motion. As the water is emptied into the bottom bottle, a tunnel forms. The movement of the water remains the same as it moves inward. The speed of water around the center increases as it approaches the center of the bottle.”
To make the water move in a circular motion, centripetal forces (forces that make something move in a circular path) created by a combination of air pressure, water pressure, and gravity come together to produce the tornado-like motion. This project is a sure-fire way to captivate anyone who views it! To make this experiment come to life, check out the full assembly instructions on SciNado.
4. The Leakproof Bag
All it takes is a plastic bag, water, and a few pencils to create an unforgettable science fair project that teaches the chemistry of polymers. In this project, the plastic bag used is made out of a polymer called LDPE, or low-density polyethylene. The flexible property of this polymer allow for pencils to be easily slipped through the bag, without a drop of water being spilled. According to Steve Spangler Science, “when the pencil is removed, the hole in the plastic bag remains because the polyethylene molecules were pushed aside permanently and the water leaks out.” It’s advised to practice this project over the sink a few times before presenting the final result.
This project is a guaranteed way for your kid to wow the judges! Your child can learn how to create this mind-boggling experiment on Steve Spangler Science.
3. The Floating Stick Figure
Shock the science fair judges this year by making a stick figure come to life with just a plate, a dry erase marker, and water. With a minimal adhesive ink, insoluble dry erase markers allow for writings and drawings to be easily wiped away afterwards. Because these markers are insoluble, that means the ink can’t be dissolved in water and it’s less dense than water. According to Gizmodo, “When you pour water onto a dry erase stick figure doodled on a smooth surface, a strong buoyancy force overcomes the stickiness of the ink, pulling the doodle off the surface and causing it to not-so-magically float on the water.” Draw a stick figure with a dry erase marker, pour water over it, and bring it to life with this remarkable yet easy science fair project!
2. Floating and Sinking Soda Cans
Some of the most classic science experiments answer the “Does It Float?” question. With this project, your child can discover what brands of soda float in water or sink to the bottom. All that’s need is a large bucket, water, and unopened soda cans of the same shape, size, and volume. Be sure to incorporate regular and diet soda to spice things up, too. According to Cool Science Experiments Headquarters, “the density of the cans cause them to either float or sink. The cans of diet pop are less dense than water, so they float. The cans of regular pop are more dense than water so they sink.”
The reason the densities of the cans are different is due to the type of sweetener used in each soda. Regular soda uses a large quantity of sugar, causing the can to become more dense than water. But in diet soda, the small amount of artificial sweetener allows the can to be less dense than water. Let your child try this experiment for themselves and dig into density!
1. Escape the Quicksand
When you think of quicksand, you probably think of the countless suspenseful movie scenes where the protagonist struggles to get out of the slippery pit of sand. Because of quicksand’s unique and dangerous texture, it’s without a doubt tricky to escape. Quicksand is both a solid and a liquid. How does that work? Look no further than how quicksand forms, when water rushes into sand quickly.
In this hands-on experiment, your child can learn about the uniqueness of quicksand, the safe way. For this experiment, you need cornstarch, a mixing bowl, a pitcher of water, a spoon, a gallon size zip-top bag, and a small toy of your child’s choice. Once your child experiences playing with the quicksand, they will begin to learn about the best ways to escape quicksand. According to Education, “the best way to escape from quicksand is actually to float on your back and slowly paddle to firmer ground.” To learn how to conduct this experiment, check out the full instructions and let your child learn about the unique liquid and solid properties of quicksand!