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Three Suggestions For Science Fair Projects Using Plants

By Keren Perles

These middle school science fair plant projects are perfect for middle school students who are interested in botany. These projects involve plants plus the use of music, temperature, and leaf colors.

Music and Plants

Middle school science fair plant projects can test whether commonly believed ideas about plants are true. For example, many people believe that playing music can affect how plants grow. You can test this out by planting several groups of identical plants and playing different types of music for each group for a set amount of time each day. You might play classical music for one group, rock music for another group, and religious music for a third. One group, of course, should never be played music; this will be the control group. Measure the plants each day to see how quickly each group of plants is going. Then analyze your data and decide whether music truly does have an affect on plant growth.

See this article for more science projects involving music.

Too Hot or Too Cold?

Do you think that high or low temperatures will affect the sprouting of bean plants? You can test it out in this experiment. First, prepare several pots (or foam cups) with bean plants and wet paper towels, as described in this article about bean plant experiments. Place some of the pots near a heating source (such as a space heater), some of them in a shallow bucket of ice water, and some of them in an area with a normal temperature. This last group will be your control group.

See which of the groups has the most plants sprout, how soon they all sprout, and which ones grow the tallest. Then use that data to evaluate your hypothesis. You may want to research dormancy before beginning this project, as well as the effect of high temperatures on bean plants.

Chromatography and Leaves

Chromatography is the study of colors, and you can perform your own chromatography experiment with some green leaves. This experiment will show all of the different colors that are "hidden" within the leaves; these colors show when the green pigment disappears in the autumn. To do this, tear a leaf into tiny pieces, and put the pieces into a small jar. Cover the pieces with rubbing alcohol and mix well. Cover the jar and place it into a shallow pan filled with very hot tap water, leaving it there for an hour. Then place a strip of coffee filter paper into the jar and watch the colors travel up the filter paper over the next hour or more. These colors are the ones that were contained in the original leaf. See this article for more science fair project ideas involving colors.

No matter which project you choose, be certain to document your daily observations.These projects are fun for kids who enjoy working with plants. They'll help you learn about how plants grow and what is inside of them.