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Projects For Inquisitive Minds
By fifth grade you will have learned that science is a process of asking questions that can be answered by observing, collecting data, and drawing conclusions. You will be expected to use math and science skills you have previously learned and apply them to design scientific experiments and make observations. The experiement you choose to do can cover a variety of scientific topics including physical science, life science, and earth science. Below are just a few ideas you can use for a science fair or to complete on your own.
How Does Pollution Affect Plants?
Does a plant sprout more quickly in a polluted environment? Plant two pots of bean seeds. In the first one, fill with garden soil, water the seeds with tap water, and keep it in a clean environment. Fill the second pot with a mixture of soil and the seeds, a bit of trash, and some polluted water with oil in it. Next, pollute the pot’s environment by spraying chemicals around it. Observe which plant sprouts faster in a few days.
What is the Difference Between Field & Forest Soil?
Do fields and forests have different soil composition? Study the amount of water in different soils, soil salinity, and pH organisms that live in the soil by collecting samples from two or more locations. Soil without gardening or other development is best to study its natural composition. Dig soil 5-6 inches below the surface (away from large plants) and fill a clean jar halfway with it. Label the sample with the location name on the jar in permanent marker. Fill the jar with water at home, close it, and shake lightly until the soil breaks up in the water. Keep the jar in a safe place for a week and all soil components will settle. When rocks, pebbles, sand, silt, clay, and organic remains settle, measure the relative thickness of the layer and compare soil composition from the different locations.
How Does Soil Change as it is Further in the Earth?
Does the relative wetness of soil from various depths differ? Using the above procedure, measure the relative wetness of soil from different depths. Compare soil composition of the surface layer, a sample from 10 inches deep, and a sample from 2 feet deep.
Will Cold Water Freeze Faster than Warm?
Does the starting temperature of water affect how long ice takes to freeze? Make ice cubes with varying starting water temperatures and time which cube freezes first, second. . . and last.
How Does Light Affect Plant Growth?
Does colored light affect seed growth? Put seeds in three pots and place red colored lights in the first, white lights in the second, and blue lights in the third. Wait about a week and see which seeds grow more quickly. If the white light helps the plant grow more quickly (hint, hint!), why?
Will Differently Shaped Ice Melt at Different Speeds?
Does ice shape affect melting time? Put equal amounts of water into different shaped containers and freeze. Time how long it takes each piece of ice to melt.
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Presenting Your Results
As a part of the science project, you will probably write a report describing your process and results. In the report, be sure to clearly state the question and the hypothesis, explain the procedure, identify the variables, and state the outcome. Use charts or tables to illustrate data. Draw conclusions by explaining why the outcome turned out the way it did. Finally, read over the typed report and check for mistakes in spelling and grammar.
Some ideas in this article were adapted from chemistry.about.com/od/sciencefairprojectideas/a/5thgradeproject.htm.