Biology is an exciting field for students, for they begin to come to understand how the world around them works and how living organisms function. One of the best opportunities for students to gain practical experience is through science fair projects, where the scientific method can be applied and conclusions can be drawn. However, planning and designing unique and exciting biology-based science fair projects can be a chore. Here is a wide range of project ideas and the kinds of results you can gather.
Effects of Various Stimuli on Humans
If you have the right tools, you can easily see how a particular outside stimulus affects some measurable factor of the human body.
For instance, with a cheap blood pressure cuff, you could measure the effect of music, exercise, television, video games, room temperature, or just about anything else on a person's blood pressure. You could do the same for other measurable quantities, such as heart rate. These kinds of experiments are relatively simple, as the list of necessary materials is small. You do need willing volunteers for the experiments though
You could also test human responses such as reflexes and memory retention. Devise a plan where subjects perform a series of exercises while trying to remember various sets of numbers or letters, then test to see if the exercise inhibits or enhances memory. Make sure you always have a control group, one that didn't do the experiment, to compare to.
Conditions and Plant Growth
These kinds of experiments take a bit more planning, time and effort, as you have to grow and care for the plants over time. To have a sizable data set, you need more than just one plant. But once you have the materials, these experiments can be very rewarding. Here are a few ideas.
You could measure the effect of a magnetic field on plant growth by mounting magnets near plants in different arrangements. Then you allow the plants to grow for some period of time and take note of what happens. Does the position of the magnets affect the plant growth rate? Does the position of the magnet alter the direction the plant grow?
Also, you could see how cold affects plant growth. Place some plants in the refrigerator, while you leave the others in a warm spot. Then you can see how their growth rates are affected over time.
By watering a set of plants with salt water with different levels of salinity, can you change the plant growth rate or even prevent growth? Does the size of a plant's seed determine how quickly the plant will grow or how tall it will grow? These questions and many others are also possibilities for exciting science fair projects.
Conditions and Fungus Growth
This is a science fair favorite, probably because it's fun and you can really learn a great deal about mold. You simply leave a food out that will definitely grow mold, such as bread, and test different conditions. For instance, does bread kept in a cold place grow mold faster than bread in a warm place? Also, you could moisten the bread with salt water, regular water, etc, and see if any of those conditions prevent growth.
Classic Pea Plant Experiments
This is repeating the classic experiment of Gregor Mendel, where he devised our understanding of "Mendelian Genetics". You grow and cross pollinate sets of pea plants to try to determine their basic traits, building punnet squares in the process. This one involves some time growing plants, but also a fair amount of work in study to understand the few more noticeable traits of pea plants and how to use basic genetics techniques to observe these traits.
Earthworms and Soil Quality
Another fascinating experiment is to explore how earthworms affect soil quality. Setting up some earthworm farms can take a little time, but it's fun and exciting to be working with live subjects. Also, it's a fair amount of work to grow all the plants from the soil to test the soil quality. If you are feeling really ambitious, you could also try feeding the worms different kinds of scraps to see which will create the best soil (fruit peels, leaves, etc).