Wednesday, September 21, 2011

10 Cliched Science Fair Projects to Avoid

Science fair competitions bring out the inner scientist in all kids. There's something truly magnificent about students asking a question, forming a hypothesis, testing it and displaying the data on a board for all to see. Every year, students from grade school to high school win over science fair judges with their forward-thinking technology and advanced science experiments. Not only is there a first place blue ribbon at stake, but some schools also give away cash prizes and scholarships. But these awards don't come easy. It takes originality, professionalism, effort and a strong understanding of your project to catch the judges' attention. All good projects start with an innovative idea that hasn't been used by 200 other students. If you want to win and impress the judges, stay away from these 10 clichéd science fair projects.

  1. Model volcano/tornado

    A model volcano/tornado science fair project might be an explosion of fun to make, but this idea is so overdone. As cool as the model volcano/tornado projects look, they don't meet many of the investigative science requirements judges look for in science fair projects and they just aren't very original. So, if you've got your eye on first place, leave the flowing volcanoes and swirling tornadoes at home.

  2. The popcorn project

    The popcorn science fair project may teach you a thing or two about the best popcorn cooking temperatures, but unfortunately, the judges will be less than thrilled to see this project for the umpteenth time. Even though it is interesting to see how temperature affects the popping of corn kernels, this project lacks a certain degree of challenge and originality.

  3. Effect of colored light on plants

    Testing the effect of colored light on plants may be an interesting experiment, but chances are 10 other people will be doing the same exact project at your next science fair. Not only should you avoid this science fair project because it is extremely clichéd, but it limits the scope of learning that could take place if you examined a more in-depth area of plant science. Also, be sure to steer clear of the effect of music or talking on plants project as well.

  4. Effect of color on memory

    Science fair projects involving the effect of color on memory, mood, strength and other factors are certainly fun to do, but extremely clichéd. This particular project is overdone and the results are highly subjective and often difficult to measure. While you're at it, go ahead and stay away from any science fair topic that requires people to remember things they did in the past because this data can also be unreliable.

  5. Taste and smell projects

    Of course it's interesting to see how sense of smell affects one's ability to taste and correctly identify certain foods when blindfolded, but this is one science fair project you should definitely leave at home. Not only is this science fair topic repeated every year, but the data can be skewed if the proper equipment isn't used.

  6. Brand comparisons

    Every year, hundreds of students test the quality and effectiveness of various household products, such as paper towels, laundry detergent, diapers, insect repellants or batteries. As much as we love product testing and brand comparisons, this science fair project is way overused. Sure, the project uses readily available materials and isn't very complicated, but it also doesn't challenge students to their full capacity.

  7. Removing bubble gum from hair

    The age-old question of how to get bubble gum out of hair remains a major talking point among mothers and even school children. As fun as this science fair project topic may be, it is also incredibly overdone. There are only so many reputable bubble gum removers to work with and variables to consider. If the student puts a unique spin on the project or uses unexpected bubble gum removers, the project may appear updated and less cliché.

  8. Van de Graaff generator

    Building a Van de Graaff generator is an entertaining science fair project that's sure to make the judges' hair stand on end, but let's face it – this project has been done one too many times. The Van de Graaff generator can produce up to 350,000 volts, which has the potential to cause pain or injuries if misused. This project comes with enough danger and potential problems that it's better left at home with parental supervision, of course.

  9. Evaporation projects

    There's no doubt that evaporation is an amazing process that's fun to explore, but testing the most efficient method of water evaporation has been way overdone in school science fairs. Every year, a large group of students will determine the rate of water evaporation by comparing heat and air flow. You can get more creative than that!

  10. Potato clock

    Making a clock out of a potato might seem like quite the challenge, but this science fair project has been done way too many times. Instead of using this clichéd science fair topic, look for other ways to produce electricity using unexpected items or natural resources other than a spud.

Taken From Zen College Life

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