School science fairs can spark tremendous creativity in students of all ages, and help to develop a lifelong love of science. In order to see a science fair project as more than just another assignment, it’s important that the student chooses a project that is not only a learning experience, but fun as well! Here are a few ideas for science fair projects that are fun for elementary school students.
Video Games and Heart Rate
What child doesn’t love playing video games? A fun way to tie science into video games is to explore the changes in heartbeat rates while playing a video game! Does the subject’s heart rate increase during a difficult part of the game? Do certain types of games increase heart rate more than others? Encourage the student to observe the changes in the heart rates of the subjects and record the findings, maybe plotting the data on a chart.
Music and Mood
Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to the style of music they prefer. It’s been suggested that the types of music that we listen to can affect our moods. Suggest that your student spend some time listening to very different types of songs from several major genres. How does each song leave the student feeling? Does opera make someone feel sad? Do soft instrumentals make you sleepy? Does a fast-paced song make you feel energetic? Record the data and then recruit volunteers to use in the experiment too!
Appearance vs Taste
Does the way something looks affect how it tastes? Help your student to cook a few of his or her favorite foods, and alter the appearance with food coloring. Do eggs taste different if they are green? Is milk still tasty if it is purple? Experiment with different ways of altering the appearance of the food and ask for the opinions of others. Are people hesitant to drink orange juice that’s not orange? Have fun with it and make sure to record your data!
Can Cats Be Taught?
If your family has a pet cat, your student can explore how easy or difficult it is to teach a cat a trick. Lots of people can teach a dog a trick, but how difficult is it to teach a cat? Encourage your student to find a special treat that your cat loves, and use it in a positively reinforcing way to teach the cat a simple trick. Have your student record his progress and take notes about techniques and results. Photos or a video of the cat performing the trick would be a perfect addition to the science fair project display!
The Science of Laughter
What makes a person laugh? Is everyone ticklish? What exactly happens when a person laughs? These are just suggestions of questions that your student can pose in a science fair project. Have your student observe various people as they laugh. What happens to their facial expressions? Do they experience any other physical effects when laughing, such as increase in heart rate or respiration? Is laughter truly contagious? There are so many ways to experiment with laughter, and your student will likely be giggling right along!
These are just a few examples of science experiments that could be very fun for science fair projects. The most important thing is to make sure your student is interested in the subject that the project pertains to. Be encouraging and helpful, but allow your student to explore and experiment in his or her own way. A fun science fair project in the elementary grades could very well lead to an interesting and rewarding career in a scientific field!