# Four Ideas For Your Science Fair Project

By Keren Perles

It can be hard to think of a winning middle school science fair project that actually interests you. These fun project ideas will help you to do just that!

## Building a Better Battery

Did you know that you can build a battery with various items from around the house? Just stack dimes and pennies, alternating them, and placing small squares of paper towels soaked in lemon juice between them. Then connect your "battery stack" to an ammeter (a device that measures battery voltage) to see how many volts your battery has. Write about how lemon affects the metal in the dimes and pennies.

Then brainstorm ways you could change your battery to make it more powerful - such as doubling the battery's size, soaking the paper towels in a higher concentration of lemon juice or in a different liquid, or cleaning the coins before using them. Test each sample battery that you make to see whether it has more volts than the first one you created. You may be surprised by your results.

## Which Type of Cleaning Product Works Best?

After hearing and seeing all of the ads for cleaning products, have you ever wondered which one really works the best? Create the same stain on several pieces of cloth and put them through the washing machine with different detergents. To see which one works most effectively, you can simply compare the resulting stains or use a color scale for a more accurate result. This project works just as well with bathtub cleaners (mark off different sections of a dirty tub) or other cleaning products.

You can even do a project to test which brand of paper towel is truly most absorbent. Start with the same amount of water each time, measured in a graduated cylinder. Then leave a square of paper towel in the water for a given amount of time, remove it, and measure the remaining amount of water to see how much the paper towel absorbed.

## The Longest Lasting Candy

So many different candies are promoted as being “long lasting.” You can test out which one is telling the truth by testing out three of these candies on your friends. Time each classmate to see how long it takes for them to finish sucking each type of candy. Consider changing the order that you give them the candy, so you know that the order that the candies were given in will not skew your results.

You can do some similar experiments with bubble gum.

## The Impact of Age on...

What impact does age have on hearing? On the ability to solve a complex puzzle? On the speed at which you can run a race? To find the answers to these questions, you'll need a lot of volunteers of all ages. Give each of them an identical test, and see what levels of sound they can hear, how successful they are in completing the puzzle, or how long it takes them to reach the finish line. Then graph your results, using the average of each age group.