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We know of several middle school science fair projects that may be perfect for your middle schooler. There will be a wide range of middle school science fair projects, though, because each student will grasp the basic concepts of science at a different rate.
Here are a couple of our favorite middle school science fair projects:
· Separating water (H2O) into oxygen and hydrogen.
You will need:
Two pencils (#2 pencils will work the best)
Two pieces of electrical wire about 30cm each
A glass jar (approx. 500ml)
A square piece of cardboard to cover the mouth of the jar
A lantern battery
First, sharpen both ends of each pencil. (remove the erasers and metal first)
Second, fill the jar to just below the top with water.
Third, add a few tablespoons of salt to the water filled jar.
Fourth, tape the piece of cardboard to the top of the jar.
Fifth, carefully, push one of the pencils through the cardboard so that the lead is completely under water. Then about three centimeters away, do the same with the other pencil.
(Make sure that the leads of each pencil are at approximately the same level under the water)
Sixth, using the wire, connect the exposed lead of the first pencil to the negative terminal of the battery, i.e. you need to wrap one end of the wire around the lead and the other end around the negative terminal.
Seventh, connect the exposed lead of the other pencil to the positive terminal of the battery.
We should now have one pencil connected to the negative battery terminal and another pencil connected to the positive battery terminal.
The non-connected ends of the pencils should be submerged in the water.
Bubbles should now begin to form at the two submerged leads of
This is one of my favorite middle school science fair projects. If you have done this, you have created an electrolytic cell. The lead of a pencil is made of graphite, which will act as a conductor. So that the electric current from the battery will flow from the negative terminal of the battery down through the lead then the current travels through the water and up the lead connected to the positive terminal.
The lead attached to the positive terminal of the battery is an
anode and the lead attached to the negative terminal is a cathode.
The bubbles that are formed around the anode are oxygen gas (O2),
and the bubbles that form around the cathode are hydrogen gas (H2).
The bubbles are a result of electrolysis: a process that makes a
chemical change in an electrolytic cell. The chemical change in
this case, in your middle school science fair project is the production
of hydrogen and oxygen gas from water. You should note that you
get two hydrogen gas molecules for every one oxygen molecule. This
is one of the coolest middle school science fair projects.
—Make sure that the water is lightly salted for this middle school science fair project. If the water is too concentrated there is a slight chance that chlorine gas will be produced.
—If you want to add phenolphthalein (an ingredient found in some laxatives) to the system it will show the increase in pH near the cathode. It will turn pink.
—Also, try adding more batteries for a more dramatic bubbling effect.
Another of my favorite middle school science fair projects:
· Making a pizza box solar oven
There are many designs to choose from in this middle school science fair project. Improvise if you want to. Or make something other than pizzas.
The pizza box solar oven can get as hot as 275 degrees. So be careful. Your middle school science fair project will be able to get hot enough to cook food and kill germs in water. One tip is to get the food in early. Your solar oven middle school science fair project can be used for six months of the year in northern climates and year-round in tropical locations. It will need about a half an hour to preheat. The cooking time will take about twice as long as conventional methods.
What to do:
First, around all four sides of the top of the pizza box, draw a one-inch boarder. Cut along three of the sides of the pizza box leaving the line along the back of the box uncut.
Second, make a flap by gently folding back the top of the pizza box along the uncut line to make a crease.
Third, cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit on the inside of the flap and make sure there are no wrinkles in the aluminum, then and glue it into place.
Fourth, measure a piece of plastic to fit over the opening i.e. the flap in your pizza box. Remember that the plastic should be cut larger than the opening so that it can be taped to the underside of the box top. The plastic must become a tightly sealed window. No air can escape from the oven interior or the middle school science fair project will not work right.
Fifth, cut another piece of aluminum foil to line the bottom of the pizza box just like you did before—gluing it into place
Sixth, cover the aluminum foil with a piece of black construction paper and tape that into place.
Seventh, close the pizza box top, and prop open the flap of the box with a wooden dowel, straw, or other device and face it towards the sun.
Eighth, adjust it until you can see that the aluminum is reflecting the maximum amount of sunlight through the window into the oven interior.
Test how hot your oven can get using a simple oven thermometer!
This is one of the greatest middle school science fair projects—you can use the homemade pizza box oven on different days. For example—one day when it is cloudy and another when it is very sunny and see what difference it makes.
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