Science Fair Project Ideas

Students doing scientific experiment in classroom
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Science fair is an opportunity for students of all ages to ask big questions, conduct meaningful research, and make exciting discoveries. Browse hundreds of science fair project ideas to find the ideal project according to grade level. 

Preschool Science Project Ideas

Preschool is not too early to introduce children to science! Most preschool science ideas aim to interest kids in exploring and asking questions about the world around them.

  • Play with silly putty and examine its properties.
  • Look at flowers. How many petals does each flower have? What parts do flowers share in common?
  • Blow up balloons. What happens when you release an open balloon? What happens when you rub a balloon on your hair?
  • Explore color with fingerpaints.
  • Blow bubbles and look at how bubbles interact with each other.
  • Make a telephone with cups or cans and some string.
  • Have preschoolers categorize objects into groups. Discuss similarities and differences between objects.

Grade School Science Project Ideas

Students are introduced to the scientific method in grade school and learn how to propose a hypothesis. Grade school science projects tend to be quick to complete and should be fun for the student and the teacher or parent. Examples of suitable project ideas include:

  • Determine whether insects are attracted to lights at night because of their heat or their light.
  • Does the type of liquid (e.g., water, milk, cola) affect seed germination?
  • Does the power setting of the microwave affect how many unpopped kernels are in popcorn?
  • What happens if you pour a liquid other than water through a pitcher-type water filter?
  • What type of bubble gum produces the biggest bubbles?

Middle School Science Fair Ideas

Middle school is where kids can truly shine at the science fair! Kids should try to come up with their own project ideas, based on topics that interest them. Parents and teachers may still need to help with posters and presentations, but middle school students should have control of the project. Examples of middle school science fair ideas include:

  • Examine food labels. How does the nutritional data for different brands of the same food (e.g., microwave popcorn) compare?
  • Is laundry detergent effective if you use less than the recommended amount?
  • How permanent are permanent markers? Are there chemicals that will remove the ink?
  • Can a saturated solution of salt still dissolve sugar?
  • Do green bags really preserve food longer?
  • Are goldfish water chemicals really necessary?
  • What shape of ice cube melts the slowest?

High School Science Fair Ideas

High school science fair projects can be about more than a grade. Winning a high school science fair can net some nice cash prizes, scholarships, and college/career opportunities. While it's fine for an elementary or middle school project to take hours or a weekend to complete, most high school projects run longer. High school projects typically identify and solve problems, offer new models, or describe inventions. Here are some sample project ideas:

  • Which natural mosquito repellents are most effective?
  • Which home hair color holds its color through the most washings?
  • Do people who play car racing video games have more speeding tickets?
  • Which high school sport is associated with the most injuries?
  • What percentage of left-handed people use a computer mouse with their left hand?
  • What season is worst for allergies and why?

College Science Fair Ideas

Just as a good high school idea can pave the way for cash and college education, a good college project can open the door to graduate school and gainful employment. A college project is a professional-level project that shows you understand how to apply the scientific method to model a phenomenon or answer a significant question. The big focus on these projects is on originality, so while you might build on a project idea, don't just use one someone else has already done. It's fine to use an old project and come up with a new approach or different way of asking the question. Here are some starting points for your research:

  • What plants can detoxify gray water flowing from a home?
  • How could the timing of a traffic light be changed to improve intersection safety.
  • Which home appliances use the most power? How could that energy be conserved?

This content is provided in partnership with National 4-H Council. 4-H science programs provide youth the opportunity to learn about STEM through fun, hands-on activities and projects. Learn more by visiting their website.

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Your Citation
Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Science Fair Project Ideas." ThoughtCo, Apr. 5, 2023, Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2023, April 5). Science Fair Project Ideas. Retrieved from Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Science Fair Project Ideas." ThoughtCo. (accessed June 2, 2023).