If you intend to put do your science fair project the night before it is due, steer clear of botany. You just cannot make a plant grow that quickly. However, if you want a project that reflects thought, preparation, and work, this is the field for you.
Botany makes a good choice of field for a science fair project because the choices are endless. Choosing the right project for you can be a bit tricky. By starting early, documenting everything you do, and assembling a great display, a botany project can be a major contender for top honors.
The problem with high school students and science fair projects lies with the wide variation in the skills of students when freshmen are compared to seniors. At the low end, you have young people who are only one step above middle school. At the high end, you have young people who are ready for college level work.
With botany, you are dealing with project possibilities that range from extremely simple to intricate and complex. The best science fair projects in any category are those that can take a concept that is relatively simple and push it toward the limit. This means that a good project choice can be designed to fit the skills and maturity level of the young scientist. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few choices and consider how they will be made into projects.
Start by thinking Luther Burbank. Luther Burbank was a pioneer in botany with regard to grafting one plant onto another. Plant grafting is not an extremely difficult concept to grasp or to perform. Do enough research to find plants that can be naturally put together. It will be best if you can use something other than trees because of the amount of time it takes to grow trees.
Try the grafting experiments in several different ways. Use extremely small seedlings up to nearly mature plants. Try discover what size seems to work best for which plants. If you want to shortcut the process and use trees, find some trees that are already growing. Remove limbs from one tree and graft them onto another one. If you have at least two months, you should be able to get good results. You may want to try rose bushes also. Just make sure that you do not cut up your parents' prize trees, shrubs, and bushes without permission.
If you are willing to start about three to six months ahead of time, experiments with pollination can be fun. You can mix and match tomato varieties. Fruit trees can be another possibility. With these types of experiments, make sure that you make good notes about how you controlled the pollination to keep unwanted pollen from distorting your results.
Experiments with different types of growing environments can be a good project. Comparing hydroponic gardening to traditional is one possibility. Growing plant s upside down is gaining in popularity. Also, you can test the effects of various types of lighting on plant growth. Sunlight, incandescent, and florescent are three good choices. In the last decade or two, a lot of work has been done on the effects of soil temperature. This could be mixed into the project. Having several different types of environmental changes adds depth to your project.
With any project, keeping good notes, doing sufficient research to develop a usable hypothesis, and building an attractive display are all necessary to have a winner. Pictures and drawings of your plants coupled with graphs of the stages of progress all are critical to a complete project. Make sure to follow the rules regarding information needed and the size restrictions of the project.