Science fair judges have seen all of these projects many times, some of them are not valid, some are just flaky. Some break the rules. Know what to avoid.
There are thousands of science fair projects every year, and judges have seen the same projects over and over again. There is plenty of scope for new ideas. Consider the new technologies, new issues, and new generations growing up in a different world because of communication and opportunity. And there are the unchanging facets of life, plants are still our only source of oxygen, the Coriolis Effect still takes airborne particle towards the poles, the ocean currents still govern heat balance in the oceans.
Students still want to devise a completely original and stunning science fair project. The following list was inspired by MarvelEssay – Do My Project for Me, Please!. After 56 science fairs you can assume they have a little experience. So, avoid these topics, mostly because the judges are not very enthusiastic and you would be wasting your time.
Forget about these
- effect of colored light on plants
- effect of music on plants
- effect of talking on plants
- effect of cigarette smoke on plants
- effect of cola, coffee, etc. on teeth
- effect of running, etc. on blood pressure
- effect of music on blood pressure
- effect of video games on blood pressure
- effect of almost anything on blood pressure
- effect of color on memory, emotion, mood, etc.
- effect of color on taste.
- effect of color on strength.
- pyramid power
- optical illusions
- reaction times
- basic maze running
- basic planaria regrowth
- basic solar collectors
- basic flight tests
- basic popcorn volume tests
- basic flower preservation techniques
- taste comparisons, e.g., Coke vs Pepsi
- taste or paw-preferences of cats, dogs, etc.
- male/female comparisons, especially if bias shows
- color choices of goldfish, etc
- any project which boils down to simple preference.
- mold growth
- crystal growth
- many detergents vs. stains
- acid rain projects
- sleep learning
- stills of any kind
- balanced diets
- ball bounce tests with poor measurement techniques
- battery life tests
- strength/absorbency of paper towels tests
- most consumer product testing of the “Which is best?” type
- wing, fin shape comparison with mass not considered
Some of these are difficult to measure, some are just too qualitative, others are beyond the scope of a science fair or do not produce reliable data. Some are just not scientifically valid.
Obey the rules
The following are to be avoided because they are against the rules of science fairs and will not be accepted.
- any topic that requires dangerous, hard to find, expensive, or illegal materials
- any topic that requires drugging, pain, or injury to a live vertebrate animal
- any topic that creates unacceptable risk (physical or psychological) to a human subject
- any topic that involves collection of tissue samples from living humans or vertebrate animals
Do your own thing
So, make sure your project conforms to the rules, and make it a little bit different. Consider some of the newer technologies and what measurable effect they might have. Remember that everything has some kind of scientific basis, maybe in the materials used for manufacture, maybe in the physical effect something has on a human body. Maybe in the amount of energy a household uses after making changes, either replacing an appliance or changing behavior. Start looking for things to record. Look around you and take notes.
Look at the news, consider the events going on in the world. Recent science fair successes include a method of attaching prosthetic limbs after amputations. Do you see a need for a new way of doing something? Do you have the spark of an idea? Write it down and start your research.