It’s that time of year again when the presentation boards come out – Science Fair Season. While there are innumerable science topics for kids to choose for their research, we thought it would be helpful to offer suggestions that relate to environmental science. With Earth Day and Science Fairs on the horizon, there are many great themes to help students examine an environmental topic in depth and educate their classmates and parents at the same time. Here are some ideas for environmental science fair projects:
Water Science Fair Projects:
1. How does the water cycle work? [Create a working model]
2. Where does fresh water come from? [Do the demonstration in “Water, Water Everywhere.”]
3. How do we clean dirty water to make it clean enough to drink? [Demonstrate different filtering techniques.]
4. Why is water scarce in parts of the world and who is most affected?
5. What are the main culprits of water contamination? [Do the demonstration in “Like Water and Oil” to show the effects of oil spills.]
6. What are water-borne diseases and how do they affect public health?
Air Quality Science Fair Projects:
7. How does polluted air affect human health? [Show the effect of pollutants on the respiratory system.]
8. How does transportation affect air quality? [Do the experiment in “Catching Pollution.”]
Climate Change Science Fair Projects:
9. What is the greenhouse effect? [Create a model]
10. How do certain human activities contribute to global warming? [Examine the calculations in “Global Warming Begins at Home USA.”]
11. What do ice core samples tell us about the history of global temperatures?
12. How does climate change affect the habitats and migration patterns of different species?
13. What are the consequences of global sea level rise? [Map the effects of various sea level increases, showing where impacts occur.]
Biodiversity Science Fair Projects:
14. What are invasive species and why might they pose a threat to different ecosystems? [Use a local example from your area - your County's Extension Office is a good place to research.]
15. How have we derived medicines from different plants and animals?
16. What are the major threats to biodiversity?
Agricultural Science Fair Projects:
17. What are the pros and cons of genetically modified foods (GMOs)?
18. Can we feed the world with organically grown foods?
19. What are the short and long-term effects of commercial fertilizer use on the land?
20. What sort of diet would be optimal for human health and the environment? [Calculate the ecological footprint of various diets.]
21. Has the amount of arable land changed over time and how might this help predict future cropland availability? [Use “World Real Estate” to chart historical changes in the amount of arable land per person.]
22. How might climate change affect crop yields in different parts of the globe?
Renewable Energy Science Fair Projects:
23. How do solar panels work? How about wind turbines?
24. What is geothermal energy and how is it used?
Solid Waste Recycling Science Fair Projects:
25. Which materials decompose the fastest in landfills? In compost piles? [Try “Scraps into Soil” to get started and see results over time.]
26. Paper vs. Plastic – Which kind of bag has the greater impact on the environment and why?
27. How can changes in daily habits change the amount of trash we create? [Do the experiment in “Waste A-Weigh.”]
Population Themed Science Fair Projects:
28. What is carrying capacity in nature and what happens when different species exceed the carrying capacity? [Read "How Many is Enough?" to learn the basics of carrying capacity.]
29. How does reproduction vary among different species (ex. number of offspring, length of gestation, mating habits)?
30. How and why did human settlements change over time and what effect have these changes had on ecosystems?