Last Minute Science Projects

last minute science project

Think fast! Your 3rd grader just walked in the door and announced that she has a science project due in 2 days! Do you:

A. Collapse into a fit of hysterical panic
B. Completely ignore the announcement (Maybe this is just a bad dream after all)
C. Search the internet to find easy science projects for 3rd graders

If you chose answer “C,” guess what?! You are headed in the right direction! Coming up with and completing an easy last minute 3rd grade science project doesn’t have to be stressful. In fact, since many science projects use ingredients found around the house, you might not even have to leave your home. So, relax, finish your cup of coffee, and simply follow the directions!

Click here to find an easy science project for your 3rd grader!

Quick and Easy Science Fair Projects Random Thoughts

easy science project list

If You Only Listened To Me……   Science could have been fun, and quick and easy science fair projects  could have made the difference!

There is a big push in education today on boosting math and science curriculum in our schools in the United States.  It is a big wake up call for this country as the stats show that we are falling behind many other countries.  the president has made this an important  issue as well.  I keep saying, if you only listened to me , we wouldn’t be in this mess!

Recently I have  become more tuned in to the science side of education and the benefit of quick and easy science fair projects.  Do not get me wrong,  as a teacher  and then as a parent I was actively involved in science.  In fact it was the Science Fairs at my school in my first years of teaching that first sparked my interest and when I realized if they had just listened to me  as a student and in the years since then there would not be this big problem today.

When I was growing up, Science was the most hated subject on Earth, and I kid you not.  We had big heavy text books, we had to outline chapters and answer questions at the end of the chapter.  Every once and awhile we did something fun, like draw the solar system, or plant beans  in a glass with brown paper towels and collect rocks and leaves.  My grades on science tests were generally poor which made me hate the class even more.  There was no connection between science and every day life.

At the same time, my parents were good at giving us those fun experiences, we cooked, we planted gardens,  we went to museums and when we got involved in Scouts it went even further with all the fun activities you did for badges.  Any time I would say, “This is fun,” my parents would sigh and say, “Darling, this is science.”  Then I would ask why they could not make science in school as fun.  If they had only listened to me…..

It really was not until High School Chemistry I lucked out and had a great teacher, who saw me as a challenge to see my grades could be as good in his class as they were every where else.  In fact he tried to do that with all the students and had a way of teaching the abstract and showing how the effect on every day life.   Now I am not saying high school chemistry should be all fun and games and full of fun activities, but I am saying with a better foundation, you could hit that class and it would not have to be as stressful as it is for most kids.  At least your attitude would be better.

When I saw my first Science Fair at my school as a teacher, I kept saying why don’t all schools do this?  Each kid had their own  project, most would  fall into the quick and easy science fair projects category as they were doing a lot of this on their own,  and the Reading Teachers ( that would be me) helped their students  with the write ups, posters and set up.  Our school was a multi-sensory education pioneer back in the day, so it was second nature to us.  I learned more “science” from helping these students than I ever did in school.  If they had only listened to me…

Now, here is where it gets tricky and I am still shaking my head.  Where we lived  it happened that they changed the science curriculum to a more hands on, no formal textbook just as our eldest child hit first grade.  At that point I was thinking, Wow! They DID listen to me.  There were many quick and easy science fair projects done throughout the year, that taught science and also the scientific method.   But guess what?  That was 25 years ago, and we are still suffering from a lag in science knowledge and background.   For my kids there was a definite line of demarcation when they hit middle school.  They tried to make it hands on but the textbooks,  tests and traditional science teaching snuck back in.  By the time you hit high school you either were a science geek and took the advanced classes or just took what you needed to graduate.

I do not know what the answer is, these are just my random thoughts, but  I have been saying for years the disconnect comes between science and real life.  The more you see and use science in your life, and KNOW that is what you are doing, the better off you should be.   Solar and wind power, ecology, gardening,  automobile engines and cooking are all science and part of what we do each day.  Don’t even get me started  on how important the human body is in both science and in real life and the number of kids who do not get it!

For a great supply of quick and easy science fair projects that are kid tested and teacher approved, just click this link!

Dirty Laundry Lessons

Science at Home:  Dirty Laundry Lessons, Part 1

It shouldn’t have come as a shock to my family that I went to college and majored in a scientific field.  After all, I showed an early proclivity for experimentation, long before the days of chemistry class or science fair projects.  At the ripe age of 9, I conducted an “experiment” to see what types of materials burn faster.  (NOTE:  Do NOT try this at home, or at least not without extreme adult supervision!!)  All went well until I tested a Kleenex…which I promptly had to drop into the metal trash can…filled with Kleenex…well, you get the picture.  A few seconds later and after a mad fire stomp by several members of my family (Metal trash cans get hot when engulfed in flame and cannot be carried out of the house; that was my mom’s take home lesson), my first science lab was finished.  As was the carpet.  Not a stellar start to my science career, but it didn’t slow me down.  Much.

However, I would like to suggest some fun and SAFER “science-y” things to do at home.  These ideas can be used as a simple introduction to the scientific method, or you can take it further and use it as a starting board for a full-blown science project.  First off, we’ll start in the laundry room, since I seem to spend a large portion of my life there!

1)  What are the effects of hard/soft water on detergents?  Or, what are the effects of certain salts on detergents?  To do this experiment, create a universal stain on several cloth strips(all made of same material).  Be sure to leave some material unstained as a point of comparison.  To create a consistent stain, consider soaking in something like grape juice or coffee.  Stain all the material at the same time for the same amount of time.  Start with ½ liter of purified water in several 2 Liter bottles (this will be your washing machine).  Leave one “machine” as purified water only.  This is your control.  To each of the other two liters, add salts.  You can try different salts (Magnesium, Calcium, Sodium), OR try using different amounts of the same salt in different two liters.  Add a cloth strip and the same amount of detergent to each “machine.”  I recommend using only a teaspoon of detergent.  Count the number of shakes (do whatever your arms can handle; but do your best to shake each two liter the same amount of time/number of shakes).

Oh, my mind races with the possibilities with this one:  comparing detergents, amounts of salts, lather, time, etc.  However, try to keep it simple.  Only test one thing at a time.

Well, tune in next time for more laundry lab.  Who knows, if nothing else, you might get Suzie or Johnny interested in science and the upcoming science fair.  Or, at the very least, maybe they’ll do the laundry for you next time!

Yours in Science,
Cecilia
PS:  Want more details on a quick, easy science project….

Check out 24 Hour Science Projects

Fun Science Projects

Don’t look now, but it’s science fair time – time to search for those fun science projects…that also have to be educational. They’re not easy to find, but they do exist. Here are some wildly fun science projects. Some of these are so cool that you’ll do them later just for the fun of it!
24 Hour Science Fair Topics:
fun science project

Finding a fun science project isn’t impossible. Whether you’re looking for an experiment or a demonstration, there are some great ideas that don’t cost a lot, are easy to do, and will teach your child basic scientific practices. We have four sons, and over the years we’ve done more projects than we can count. Here are some of our boys’ favorites:

• Find out which citrus fruit has the most Vitamin C? Make a solution with iodine and starch (it’s EASY to do!), and test different kinds of citrus juices to see which contains the most vitamin C.

• Take the shell of an egg – without boiling it. This wildly fun project is so cool you’ll do it over again for the sheer fascination of it! Soak a raw egg in vinegar, and the shell will come off. The egg membrane is so tough that the shell-less egg will bounce!

• Show how yeast gives of gas. Place a yeast and sugar solution into a bottle, put a balloon on top, and watch the yeast have so much gas that the balloon blows up!

• Watch static electricity work. Grab your wool socks, make a little piece of aluminum foil bounce between your finger and a pie plate.

• Use toy cars to find out about friction! Set up a hot wheels track, and find out how far they will roll across different floor surfaces.

• Are two ears better than one? Hide a ticking clock in a room, and send your friends in to find it – half using both ears, and half with one ear blocked with a cotton ball. (Birthday party idea?!)

These science projects are part of all the fun science projects in the 24 Hour Science Project package. They are easy to design on your own, visit 24 Hour Science Projects to find out how to purchase step by step instructions for each.

Middle School Science Projects – They’re Here!

Need middle school science projects? A whole new set of science project has just been developed – with science fair topics that are perfect for middle school! In fact, the projects are called just that: Middle School Science Projects. There are five fabulous topics:
science fair topics for middle school
1. How does hair change as a result of different hair care products?. Girls are especially interested in doing a science project about hair. In this project, we treat hair, then test its strength.

2. How does the type of soil affect water flow? This experiment involves doing a soil analysis – which is fascinating – and then seeing how water flows – or drips – through.

3. What makes yeast grow best? This yeast project finds out what that little fungus likes to eat best. Balloons are involved – and gas.

4. What’s the best model for a solar heater? You can scavenge through the trash to find the elements to build this solar heater that really works!

2. Does the amount of Vitamin C in Orange juice change over time? This is a slightly more advanced version of the popular Vitamin ‘C’itrus’ project.

Check all these projects out today at the Middle School Science Projects site!

Kayla Fay

PS You don’t have to wait for the new package. Get a free science project guide here.

Facebook Fan Page

Today we decided to make ourselves a Facebook Fan Page. Since most kids spend a good amount of time on Facebook and MySpace, we think it’s a great place to share pictures of science projects and experiments from our guides – or not!

Here’s our page:

Won’t you be our fan?!

Marsher Gaming