Free Middle School Science Fair Projects

Free Science Fair Project Ideas for Middle School Students

Start with an interesting question.
Start with an interesting question. Hero Images/Digital Vision/Getty Images

It's hard enough to come up with a middle school science fair project, but it's even more challenging to find one that won't cost you any money. Here's a selection of ideas for middle school science fair projects that use materials you likely already have on hand or else allows you to collect data from free sources.

For a middle school project, try to propose a hypothesis and design an experiment to test it.

Choose a project you can do fairly quickly so that you will have time to work on the report or poster.

  • Do you have a pet? Devise an experiment to determine whether it can see in color or is right/left pawed, etc. If you have multiple pets, see if their "handedness' is related to gender (male or female). 
  • Do any household chemicals repel (or attract) insects?
  • What ratio of vinegar to baking soda produces the best chemical volcano eruption?
  • What type of plastic wrap prevents evaporation the best? Is plastic wrap more effective than aluminum foil?
  • What plastic wrap prevents oxidation the best?
  • What percentage of an orange is water?
  • Are night insects attracted to lamps because of heat or light?
  • Do white candles burn at a different rate than colored candles?
  • Does the presence of detergent in water affect plant growth?
  • Can a saturated solution of sodium chloride still dissolve Epsom salts? Can it still dissolve sugar?
  • Does magnetism affect the growth of plants?
  • How does the shape of an ice cube affect how quickly it melts? What effect does size have?
  • Do different brands of popcorn leave different amounts of unpopped kernels?
  • Can you determine how long it takes people to fall asleep? What factors affect how quickly they fall asleep?
  • How do differences in surfaces affect the adhesion of tape?
  • If you shake up different kinds or brands of soft drinks (e.g., carbonated), will they all spew the same amount?
  • Are all potato chips equally greasy? How about chips made from other vegetables (e.g., beets, sweet potatoes)?
  • Do the same types of mold grow on all types of bread? Does the same mold grow on bread as on tortillas?
  • Does light effect the rate at which foods spoil?
  • Can you use a household water filter to remove flavor or color from other liquids?
  • Does the power of a microwave affect how well it makes popcorn?
  • Compare labels on foods. Is the nutritional content of different brands of a vegetable the same?
  • How permanent are permanent markers? What solvents (e.g., water, alcohol, vinegar, detergent solution) will remove the ink? Do different brands/types of markers produce the same results?
  • Is laundry detergent as effective if you use less than the recommended amount? More?
  • Do all hairsprays hold equally well? Equally long? Does type of hair affect the results?
  • What effect do additives have on the crystals? You could add food coloring, flavorings, etc.
  • What steps can you take to maximize crystal size? You can affect vibration, humidity, temperature, rate of evaporation, purity of your growth medium, and time allowed for crystal growth.
  • How do different factors affect seed germination?
  • Is a seed affected by its size? Do different size seeds have different germination rates or percentages? Does seed size affect the growth rate or final size of a plant?
  • How does cold storage affect the germination of seeds?
  • What conditions affect the ripening of fruit?
  • How are different soils affected by erosion? You can make your own wind or water and evaluate the effects on soil. If you have access to a very cold freezer, you can look at the effects of freeze and thaw cycles.
  • How does the pH of soil relate to the pH of the water around the soil?
  • How effective are natural pest deterrents?