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Thread: science fair project suggestions for first grader?

  1. #1
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    science fair project suggestions for first grader?

    Hi there! I googled and was overwhelmed by all the options, so I thought I would ask if anyone has an EXTREMELY simple, tried and true project for a 7 year old. It is voluntary and she has a partner to work with, so we would like something that can be displayed on a poster board and does not need an elaborate set up. I would REALLY like something food related, but I am wracking my brain and cannot come up with anything. Thanks so much for your help!

  2. #2
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    back in 2nd grade, i did a study of mold on bread. i put one piece in a ziploc regular, and one with some water on it. it was to see how much moisture plays a role in mold. i checked it every day and took pictures. it was easy and fun, and the cleanup is easy too!

  3. #3
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    Or how about growing some beans in a paper cup under different conditions (light, water, soil or cotton, etc)? Take pics as they grow -- every 2 or 3 days-- and post them on the board. The actual plants can sit on the table in front of the board.
    Galinda didn't often stop to consider whether she believed in what she said or not; the whole point of conversation was flow. -- Gregory Maguire: Wicked
    The only time a cold, blank stare is a correct response is when a stranger invites you to get better acquainted with his deity or the contents of his trousers.
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  4. #4
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    What is she interested in? Even staying with something food related you could do something related to gardening, chemistry, physics (all on a first grade level, of course). I recently went to a course that had a lot of science projects to do with kids, many of which probably could be modified to use a science fair project, and to use with food. How much time do you have before it is due?
    Claire

    It doesn't matter what you think, just that you do.

  5. #5
    When I did wetlands education I did one with celery that all the kids liked. It illustrates how plants can help keep water clean. Anyways, put some food coloring in a glass with water. Then put in a few stalks of celery (works best if you have freshly cut the end in the water). The food coloring represents the pollutants or "dirty stuff" as younger kids say. And the celery represents wetland plants. Anways, let the celery sit in the glass (I think we kept it in the fridge, too) at least over night, and a few days is best (especially if you used a lot of food coloring). The celery should suck up the pollutants. Sometimes we had to cut open the stalks to notice the coloring.

  6. #6
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    I used to be in charge of the Youth Division of the Internet Public Library. Their Science Fair Project Resource Guide has been one of the most popular pages on the site for almost ten years. It has a bunch of links to sites that can help you find a topic. After you pick a topic, it will help you with the rest of the process too
    <)>>< Candace ><<)>

  7. #7
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    We just had a science fair at school a couple of weeks ago, and my sons are in first grade, so I saw a couple of great ideas. One was to "test" whether more expensive diapers were better than cheaper diapers. The girls made a display of the different diapers, and how much water they each could hold before "leaking".

    Another really good project involved showing what happens if you do not have enough calcium in your bones. Using cleaned chicken bones, they put half in a vinegar solution that drew out the calcium - with not as much calcium, the bones could bend like rubber. Of course, my boys thought it was "magic".

    Another project was to show how to make static electricity using rice krispies - you put about a cup of rice crispies under a glass dish. Using steel wool, you rub the top of the glass, which creates a charge and the rice krispies "stick" to the top.

    I found the simpler the project, the more fun it was for the kids. Another project that the kids liked - but it requires adult help/supervision is whether you can make water flow upward. You put a candle on a saucer dish. You pour about 1/2-3/4 cup of water on the saucer dish. You light the candle and then put a glass jar over the top. As the oxygen is depleted, the water "rises" up the inside of the glass jar.

    Good luck!!
    Sherri

    Never look down on a person unless you are offering them a hand up.

  8. #8
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    oh, that calcium one reminded me of one we did in school - if someone has a loose tooth that happens to fall out in time for the fair, that is

    we put the tooth in a plastic cup and covered it with coke to see how the sugar caused cavities. after a few weeks, it dissolved into nothing! it was really gross but we all LOVED it!

  9. #9
    My DD is in 1st grade and had to do a science project. She chose to layer liquids to show the different densities of liquids. She used water, oil, glycerine, and corn syrup. Dye the glycerine and water in different colors using food coloring. Pour the corn syrup into a jar, then the glycerine, next the water, and finally the oil. It's a super easy project and is really intereting for 1st graders.

  10. #10
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    Oooo! You guys are awesome! I am going to email this thread to my daughter's partner's mom and see what she thinks!

    clairea-it is not due for a month, so we do have time to do a project that needs to evolve over a period of a few weeks. I want to get something in mind soon so I do not feel a mad rush right before!

    cangoss-I found a great project using that link you provided...one where you use graham crackers, gelatin and pudding in a glass bowl to represent the earth's layers. The other involves putting "smarties" (candies) on a special paper and dripping water on them and watching color rings form.

    Really, all these suggestions are great. I really do appreciate this board!

  11. #11
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    These are great ideas!!!

    I remember that the 'best project' for my kids was usually a hands on that drew all the kids in the room. They talked about it for days...of course there was always a 'volcano' every year!

  12. #12
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    If she has a month, she could grow something (lima beans are easy). See how they grow under different conditions (lighting, moisture, temperature, etc.) If you want to keep the display on a posterboard instead of using the actual plants, they can use photographs or draw pictures of their results.

    I think a "sink/float" experiment with fruits and vegetables would be fun. A speaker I heard recently (a children's science teacher) told us that all fruits and vegetables that grow above the ground float in water. I have no idea if this is true or not, but I think it would be a neat hypothesis for kids to test out (and you could probably google it first and find out if it would work). This would be an easy one for first graders to do and for them to document.

    I love the volcanos. I know this is an old one, but kids adore it and they could do some neat research/presentation materials to go with the demonstration. There is currently an active volcano in Alaska, and you can get good information (including some great photos) here .

    I'll try to pull out some materials when I have more time and post some other ideas if you still need them.
    Claire

    It doesn't matter what you think, just that you do.

  13. #13
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    I've chaired our elementary school's science fair a couple of years, plus I do an after-school science club for the kids. A couple of additional ideas that might work:

    One year, a girl brought in two jars, both had been layered identically with sand, soil, leaves, grass, etc. She added worms to one of the jars a couple of weeks before the fair. It was amazing to see to what extent the worms had agitated the soil compared to the "control" jar.

    Another project I like to do with the kids: take two or three breakfast cereals with varying amounts of iron. Crush or blend them finely, and then take magnets and shake them through the crumbs. You can actually see the difference in the iron shavings that are collected.

    Good luck, and have fun!
    Alicia

  14. #14
    My dd just completed her science project and did it on yeast in bread. She made a loaf with yeast and a loaf without yeast and compared them. Shesis a lot of reading about yeast too. Last year she did fat in foods, tested them by smearing them on a brown paper bag and checking for a grease stain.

    We went to the science fair last week. Some interesting projects were there. One was a kid trying to see if you could teach a fat cat to do tricks for exercise (only if you rewarded it with food), another one checked if chickens layed more legs while listening to a classic-rock station (they didn't). There were a few involving eggs that were rubber-shelled (GROSS!) and a number of bread mold experiments. The most interesting bread experiment showed the effect of preservatives...it had mold growth on home made bread, 'healthy bread', french bread, and Wonder. French and home made were almost alien creatures and the 'healthy bread' and wonder did not look too bad!

  15. #15
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    I just took a look at the benchmarks and indicators for science in Ohio. In grades K-2, students should really be able to ask a question. Here are the benchmarks for first graders in the area of Scientific Inquiry:
    1. Ask "what happens when" questions.
    2. Explore and pursue student-generated "what happens when" questions.
    3. Use appropriate safety procedures when completing scientific investigations.
    4. Work in a small group to complete an investigation and then share findings with others.
    5. Create individual conclusions about group findings.
    6. Use appropriate tools and simple equipment/instruments to safely gather scientific data (e.g., magnifiers, timers and simple balances and other appropriate tools).
    7. Make estimates to compare familiar lengths, weights and time intervals.
    8. Use oral, written and pictorial representation to communicate work.
    9. Describe things as accurately as possible and compare with the observations of others.



    What really leaps out at me is the emphasis on understanding the beginning of the scientific method: ask a question, and make a prediction. If the display is more of a model (tornado in a 2-litre, volcano, etc) it's not allowing the students to experience asking and answering a question. (You sounded very excited about a "cool" display of earth's layers, but is there really a testable question involved?)

    Here is a link to Florida's standards for PreK-2.
    --Mary Kate--

    "In all our woods there is not a tree so hard to kill as the buckeye. The deepest girdling does not deaden it, and even after it is cut down and worked up into the side of a cabin it will send out young branches, denoting to all the world that Buckeyes are not easily conquered, and could with difficulty be destroyed." - Daniel Drake, 1833

  16. #16
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    I did this with my third graders last year...they LOVED it!
    Which weighs more, chewed or unchewed gum? This is a very fast easy, one afternoon project. Get the sugary stuff, get the two kids and a few family memembers. Let's say you have 5 people. Weigh all five of those piece unchewed in a cup (remember to weigh the cup empty and subtract that from data), record the weight. Then everyone chews it for two minutes (this is a good time to take photos of bubbles being blown, etc. Then everyone puts thier gum in the cup, weigh it...project is done. Quick, simple, easy, and the scienctific method can be applied. Use clear cups for good photos. Most people think the chewed gum weighs more because of the saliva when in truth the unchewed weighs more because all of the sugar that has not been dissolved by spit.

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