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Thread: Science Fair Ideas!

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    Jimmy's Avatar
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    Science Fair Ideas!

    This year I have to do a science fair project - I'm still disappointed that I broke my track record by not participating last year.

    So I am asking you, my esteemed colleagues, to present possible ideas for an extremely scientific and quantitative project. I have a few ideas in mind - ranging from entomological projects, to botanical experiments, to robotics, and aerospace concepts (I'm having a little trouble choosing at the moment, but robotics looks like it's the way to go)...But I'd love to hear your ideas! (Plus, I figure that this hobby has loads of ideas that need controlled investigating.)

    Potential awards at the regional science fair include scholarships, cash prizes, and stuff to load onto my high school resume - but I'm looking to make it to the nationals!

    Plus, if I make enough off of the science fair, I may be able to pay (at least partially) for a trip to Nepenthes territory (Borneo!) and plenty of pics will result, for sure!

    I sincerely appreciate any input that anyone can contribute!
    "I'm just a scientist without the proper documentation."

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    Two flies one pitcher. Minus the crap eating. obregon562's Avatar
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    wow, way to go man!

    Ok, im not sure what is within your bounds, but what about simple testing for carnivory in byblis/ibecella/other "maybe" carnivores? Using isotopes may be out of your leage but hey! Good luck doing whatever you do!
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    Doing it wrong until I do it right. xvart's Avatar
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    I'm guessing the old find what taste buds taste which tastes is out of the question, eh? Sounds like a fun competition. I'll try and think of some ideas. I love science projects.

    xvart.
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    War. War never changes. Est's Avatar
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    They've got books with metric tonnes of ideas and things to help you get started.

    I did two good science fair projects.

    The more-scientific one investigated the effectiveness of difference sunscreens. Measurements were made by using different sunscreens to "protect" UV sensitive paper. Was pretty neato.

    The less-scientific one was in my tripos phase. I investigated their form of suspended animations. In hindsight, it wasn't particularly scientific, but I liked learning about it.

    So what I can tell you is this: Do something that you'd really enjoy doing, but keep scale in mind. I had fun with the triops one, but it wasn't particularly good because it wasn't scientific. The sunscreen one was less in my area of interest, but it ended up being pretty cool and practical. Don't limit yourself to only things about plants or things that'd just take too long.

    Best of luck!
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    Californian in DC DrWurm's Avatar
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    BAM. You've come to the right place. You're talking to a 2 time Florida state science fair competitor. I did my projects on robotics, won 1st place and hella awards at the regional competitions, and placed high in the state level competitions. Of course, this was in middle school, but I'm pretty sure I can provide some very valuable input.

    Est is right, the first step is to always pick something you enjoy, preferably something you want to build a career around.

    So, what do you really think is interesting?

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    Jimmy's Avatar
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    Thanks for the replies everyone! Hope to hear some great ideas soon.

    As for my limits - Black Holes are the limit! Anything from astronomy to microbiology interests me, but engineering seems the way to go at the moment. Thing is, I don't have the math or ability to study black holes, but everything else is a possible project.

    I'm sure that if I planned a great experiment, I could work with an institution that actually has radioisotopes and the facilities to measure any sort of carnivory in the protocarnivores...great idea, Obregon! I think I might consider doing that next year, since I'd need to plan it well and get to know the right people. But hey, this is New Mexico - we've got more radiation here than we know what to do with!

    Xvart - I'm sure you have plenty of nice ideas too - hope to hear them soon!
    Est - I did a triops project in fifth grade. You're right - their fun, but qualitative rather than quantitative experiments. Since I'm interested in pretty much anything even remotely scientific, I'm open to any ideas, although I have about two or three dozen already on paper of what I'm really interested in doing...

    DrWurm - Sounds like we have similar interests and backgrounds - I've placed top in science fairs from Kindergarten to Eighth Grade, doing geological, biological, and robotic projects. I really look forward to any ideas you can offer!
    "I'm just a scientist without the proper documentation."

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    Tropical Fish Enthusiast jimscott's Avatar
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    You may try a cross between two sundews as a legitimate project.

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    Californian in DC DrWurm's Avatar
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    Haha, my first science fair was in 5th grade, I did mold on bread and I won. I've found that science fair projects are 50% science, 50% show. For my robot projects, i made the line following robot in this book: http://www.robotroom.com/RBFB.html and then tried to modify it using 2 water sensors so that if it came across a wet trail, it would follow that instead.

    I never actually got it working, but I had the robot running around on the table and a prototype board to show the judges. I backed it up with the idea that I was giving this robot another sense in addition to light, so I was improving upon the AI, and that it also related to the search for water on distant planets.

    So, in the field of robotics, anytime you attempt to improve or create AI, people are impressed. Add to that having the robot on the table to observe, and you have a competitive project. If you want to go to nationals with something like this though, you'll have to do a lot more than I did. If you have knowledge of circuitry and/or programming, you could probably set up something nice. Intelligence algorithms are always a hit, and they're often not that hard if you're clever, see here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOEP603VRdE

    This is a popular robotics platform to do projects with here: http://www.parallax.com/tabid/411/Default.aspx

    What did you do for your robotics projects?

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