looking for science project ideas

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looking for science project ideas

Post by njitgrad »

My apologies if I am posting this in the wrong forum.

My 4th grade son has two microscopes (an AmScope LED battery operated one and a much older recent-hand-me-down Bausch & Lomb model). My wife and I are in the process of purchasing a still/motion camera for the AmScope so that he can view, capture, and print images (and video) of specimens being examined.

For his upcoming school science project he wishes to investigate and report on something that involves the use of a microscope. Not being that familiar with biology I am looking for suggestions to get him started. His project will need to contain a hypothesis, research, experimentation, and recorded results. All artifacts (pictures, sequences of pictures, graphs, formulas, etc) will need to be glued to a tri-fold board. No props other than the tri-fold are allowed at the science fair. The tri-fold must speak for itself.

My suggestion would be to study the effects of a particular specimen over a period of time when it is exposed to a certain stimulus. The only problem is that I can't think of any time of experiment that would take a prolonged period of observations (approx 5-10 days). I am a software engineer and my experience is limited to electronics and computers.

Any suggestions are welcome!

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Post by ChrisR »

Grow some small seeds? (Spices?) Mould?
Change the moisture/temperature, see what happens.

Or rust.
Take some nails, clean harshly with sandpaper, don't touch, but again leave in differing conditions.
Acidic or salty vapour would speed things up. You'll need to look close, but rust should start in your time window.

Or crystals - see how they start growing from a scratch or something like sand grains (scrape sandpaper)
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Post by Norm »

Experiments with Microscopic Animals

http://www.amazon.com/Experiments-Micro ... 0385065280

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Post by Troels »

It is not difficult to find a manual for preparing some petri discs with sterile agar and then incubate them in differnt ways: Fingerprints, tissue used for different cleaning purposes, a little soil, etc. And of course remember a blind sample.
Then keep them under cover at around 30 degrees Celsius for a week and observe and descibe the different colonies of bacteria and fungi.

Troels Holm, biologist (retired), environmentalist, amateur photographer.
Visit my Flickr albums

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Post by rjlittlefield »

One caution: before starting any project that involves culturing, be sure to check the rules & precautions for your science fair. At least here in the U.S., organized fairs have gotten quite strict about culturing anything that might be pathogenic. That includes essentially all environmental samples. Students are allowed to do the sampling, but then culturing, testing, and disposal have to be done under approved and supervised conditions. The concern is that the culturing process will allow dangerous levels of pathogens to build up.

These restrictions may seem painfully rigid to those of us who grew up culturing swamp water in open jars on a kitchen countertop, but no doubt it avoids some unfortunate incidents.

Anyway, you don't want to have a lot of time and energy sunk into a project, and then find out that it's disqualified from presentation.


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