Do you need inspiring Science Fair Projects? Are you feeling overwhelmed helping your elementary aged student prepare for the fair? Between finding ideas, research, the scientific method, and creating a science fair board, it can feel like a lot! Today we want to help out. We have lots of science fair project ideas for elementary students, to help you find the perfect project, then we will share tips on how to turn it into a winning science fair project.
Science Fair Ideas for Elementary
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So let’s start with the really fun part… exploring Science Fair ideas! Often this is the biggest hurdle for people. So we have put together a huge list of ideas for you including cool project ideas for the most popular elementary grades for science fairs: grade 3 and grade 4, grade 5 and grade 6. Depending on where you live, grade 6 may be considered middle school, but in some places it is considered elementary school, for our purposes we are including 6th grade.
For many of these ideas, these are actual science fair style experiments and investigations we have done. Where available we have provided links to our work so you can use that as you conduct your research and prepare your fair idea. To help make this a list of easy science fair ideas, we have presented them as a question, just like you would for your science fair topic.
Even if you are not doing the science fair, this list of hands-on activities and experiments is a fantastic resource for inspiring learning.
Read on to the end for tips on doing your own science fair project!
Elementary Science Fair Ideas
Science Fair Projects for 3rd Graders and 4th Graders
What type of bubble solution makes the biggest bubbles?
In this project we get to play with bubbles! We our first idea is to look into the science of big bubbles, but an alterative would be to explore frozen bubbles or even testing how to make bubbles more durable for handling without popping. No matter what, bubbles are fun science!
How does water temperature affect bath bombs?
In this science fair project we wanted to explore how water temperature affects the chemical reaction of bath bombs. This is very practical chemistry science as we all want bath bombs that are extra fizzy and bubbly!
Does fat content affect the magic milk experiment?
In this scientific investigation, we wanted to explore how the fat content of milk impacts the classic magic milk experiment. The results were surprising and a lot of fun. They also helped to really demonstrate the underlying scientific principles behind the Magic Milk reaction.
Which ingredients make the best Oobleck?
This was such a fun science project and perfect for grade 3! The concept is to test different ingredients to see which ones create Oobleck, a non-Newtonian Fluid. Then of the successful Oobleck recipes, we determined which is the best Oobleck recipe.
How does the density of a liquid affect how it floats?
This is a classic experiment that you can explore in so many different ways for the science fair. Perhaps you already know that diet pop cans float and regular pop cans sink. We took this idea, added in some water balloons and new liquids and had a blast exploring density and buoyancy. Learn more about our Does it Float Science Fair Project.
Exploring what common liquids are acidic and basic?
In this project we are using a simple purple cabbage solution as a pH indicator then testing various liquids to see what is acidic and what is basic. This project was especially popular with my grade 1 to 3 kids.
Does the type of salt affect the desiccation process in gummy bears?
We did this science fair project for with my son when he was in 3rd grade and he loved it. We wanted to test the desiccation or mummification process by taking big gummy bears and placing them in different types of salt. The results were really fascinating!
What alternations can you make to a toy car to make it travel faster?
Another popular challenge we called the Make it Move Challenge and it is a wonderful project idea for the science fair exploring physics. Car loving kids will love this idea for the fair.
What changes make a balloon travel faster in a balloon race?
Ready for a fast paced project? Try taking the popular physics experiment, Balloon Races, and start testing to see what changes affect the speed of the balloons.
How does temperature affect a bottle or can crush experiment?
We did this Bottle Crush experiment in the snow, but you can also do it with a bucket of ice. This is a really cool and easy experiment that requires no special supplies.
What factors affect the strength of a bridge made from paper?
A great project for our younger scientists in Kindergarten through grade 3 is to explore what variables they can change to make a paper bridge stronger.
Create a liquid density tower using candy.
This is a beautiful project idea using candy to create a rainbow liquid density tower. Students can explore how different candy types or amounts affect density. This project is especially great for grade 4 students.
Science Fair Projects for 5th Graders and 6th Graders
What materials or techniques work the best to clean up an oil spill?
We all know the environment is a big topic that will be impact this and future generations. Why not put innovation to the test and see what different ways your kids can come up with to clean up an oil spill. This idea is something professionals are constantly studying and trying to create innovative and effective new approaches in an effort to clean up our oceans. This fair idea could easily be done at a level suitable for older kids, even up to high school.
Which fruit produces the most electricity in a simple fruit battery?
This was such a fun project with the kids. They were amazed that we could actually use food to power a small motor or light bulb. You can quickly turn this into an incredible science fair project exploring everything from a Potato Battery to Lemon Battery to a Pumpkin & Squash Battery.
Which materials make the longest lasting homemade lava lamp?
This is a fun chemistry science fair project. Take the always popular Lava Lamp experiment, and test out different chemical reactions to see which one will give you the longest lasting Lava Lamp with lots of bubbly orbs.
Which ingredients make the best bioplastics?
Bioplastics are created using simple items from the kitchen. In this project ideas, students explore different recipes to see if they can find the best bioplastic recipe that could be used to make every day items. We have made both milk plastic and gelatin bioplastics.
As a follow up inquiry as part of your science fair board, why not also test, which bioplastics break down the quickest and easiest?
How does temperature affect crystal growth?
Got a kid that is obsessed with crystals? Why not tackle a crystal growing experiment for the science fair. You could test different recipes, like growing alum crystals or borax crystals. Another idea is to explore what variables can be changed to grow really big crystals.
What factors affect how far a homemade catapult launches?
Time for some physics fun at the science fair with catapults! We decided to test different catapult designs to see if we could discover the BEST catapult design.
Does the percent of acetic acid in vinegar affect how high a bottle rocket launches?
This Bottle Rockets chemistry science fair project is a total blast! Explore how using different ratios of acid to base, or different strengths of the acid, affect the chemical reaction and blast off with bottle rockets! You might need a really tall ruler for this one to figure out the height each rocket hits.
What would happen if you replaced the water in Oobleck?
This was such a cool science fair project we did based on that simple, “what if” question. We tested replacing the water with tonic water and the result was a cool glow in the dark Oobleck. Then we explored replacing the water with purple cabbage pH indicator and the result was a really cool Oobleck that changed colour based on pH.
How can you create the most successful egg drop project design?
Innovation is key in this project where students create unique designs for the egg drop challenge to see if they can find the most successful design.
What makes the bounciest egg in the naked egg experiment?
Have you tried the Bouncy Egg Experiment or Egg in Vinegar Experiment yet? If not, this is a great time to do it. Make a bouncy or naked egg with chemistry, then test different approaches to see which one gives the bounciest egg that is less prone to breaking. This is also a fantastic project to explore osmosis, which could also be a wonderful science fair topic.
Does the type of magnet (or number of magnets) affect how long your bugs stay in motion in this Jitter Bug project?
Magnetism is a wonderful project idea and provides so many different venues to explore. One idea would be to take our really fun Jitter Bug STEM project, and explore what changes to the magnets (size, number, position, etc.) give the longest perpetual motion.
Study the Greenhouse Effect and discover how climate change is affecting the Earth’s temperature.
This project is fantastic for your environmentalist in grade 6. Explore the Greenhouse Effect and the impact on the environment in this environmental sciences based science fair experiment.
How can you build more Earthquake proof buildings?
A big issue facing structural engineers, is how to construct buildings that can withstand earthquakes. In this Earthquake project you build a shaker table, then test different building designs to see which ones can withstand the force. This project could be scaled up or down easily for 3rd grade to 6th grade.
What water contaminants and pollutants are the most damaging to plants?
This acid rain based environmental sciences experiment is a great way to explore biology with your science fair project. By testing different water types in a water cycle in a jar, you can see which ones contribute to plant growth and which ones are harmful. For a simplified version for younger students interested in Earth science, try this water pollutions and plants experiment.
Do the types of tires affect how far a balloon car travels?
Want to combine your STEM skills and your physics skills? Why not test different Balloon Car designs. Maybe explore what happens when you change the type of tires on the balloon car? Or other design alterations to see which one makes the car travel the farthest.
How does the type of salt affect ice?
In this science fair project idea we explored how different types of salt affected ice melt. Living in a Northern climate this is a big issue as we are constantly battling ice to keep our roads and sidewalks safe, giving this project some powerful practical applications.
Picking the Right Project for the Science Fair
The first step in doing a science fair project is to pick your project. The best advice I can give is to go through the list above and let your child pick 3 to 5 topics they are excited about and that are suitable for their age and abilities. Then dig into the science project ideas and do a bit of research, including what materials are required and how accessible those will be for you. After doing your research decide on the perfect science fair project idea!
Remember to keep your project simple, safe, and age-appropriate. Sometimes we think a project needs to be really complicated or advanced, but it really doesn’t. Some of the most fascinating science fair projects we have done came from simple ideas and thinking about ordinary things in new ways. Don’t over complicate things!
Also, make sure there is adult supervision and guidance when working on a science fair project. We always want to keep learning safe.
What Makes a Good Science Fair Project?
You are probably wondering, what makes a good science fair project? There are a few things that should be considered.
Science Experiment Project or Demonstration?
First, is it an experiment or a demonstration? For the science fair we need experiments where we are making changes and discoveries. There needs to be a question we are answering.
Let’s look at an example, like the popular volcano project. A demonstration would be building a volcano and making it erupt. To make it into a science experiment project suitable for the science fair, we need conduct multiple experiments with a variable and constants – something needs to change creating different results. So with the volcano, we might have two or more volcanoes, one could be taller than the other, or perhaps the ratio of baking soda to vinegar is altered, or maybe in one volcano you use regular 6% vinegar and in the other you use 10% vinegar. Once you have your variable, then you compare the results between the volcanoes and report on your findings. This takes it from a demonstration to a winning science fair project!
Applying the Scientific Method
Applying the scientific method is essential to all science fair projects. It includes these steps:
- Ask a question – This is your “what if” question. For example, what if we change the concentration of the vinegar from 6% to 10% in our volcano? Once you have your question you can identify your variable and constant.
- Research – Make sure you do some research into your topic. It is always best to learn as much as you can before starting your experiments. Through your research you may identify new or better variables, refine your question, or discover issues that could impact your results.
- Make a Hypothesis – This is the time to make an educated guess on what you think will happen when you change your variable.
- Conduct the Experiment – Now the fun part, conduct your experiments and see what happens.
- Observe and Evaluate – While doing your experiments record all of your data. It could be you want to measure how high your volcano eruption went (make sure to set up a ruler), or how much was produced by the eruption, you could even place your experiment on a scale and measure the weight change before and after your eruptions. Record all of this data and analyze it. Perhaps you have an idea for a further study or experiment?
- Analyze and Share the Results – Finally, take all of your results. Come to a conclusion on your investigation, then prepare your results so they can be shared. For the science fair this will involve making a Science Fair Board.
As a member of the STEAM Powered Family mailing list you can unlock our Scientific Method Printable to help you prepare for the fair.
Science Fair Board Ideas
A big part of the science fair project, and the one that provides you with a chance to show off your exciting project, is the Science Fair Board. Here are some of our best tips, ideas and suggestions for helping make your board stand out.
What is a Science Fair Board?
It is the presentation showing off your project. It is usually a tri-fold display that includes information on your project, how you used the scientific method, your discoveries, plus pictures and more. The board can be simple or a very complex presentation of your project. It will be set up at your table during the fair so people and the judges can come and learn more about your project.
What Makes a Good Science Fair Board?
A good science fair board needs to include all of the important information on your project, including all the steps represented as tiles on the board, such as the abstract (summary of your project), question, hypothesis, variables, experimental procedure, results, analysis and conclusions, and bibliography/acknowledgements. It is best to lay out all of these tiles in a logical format that flows from one section to the next so it is easy to follow.
Pictures, charts, and diagrams are all a fantastic way to add visual interest to your board. Especially of your results.
Make sure your fonts are large and easy to read on the display (size 16 to 20), and that your title is nice and big so you can read the title from far way.
How to Make the Science Fair Board
Boards can be hand written and drawn if your child is comfortable using that approach, however most people create the tiles for their board on a computer where they can add nice borders, images, charts, etc. Then print them out, trim it, and glue into place on the display board.
I like to use a tri-fold display board, however you can also use foam core board and make a stand to hold it upright, or be eco-friendly and cut open a recycled cardboard box and use that to make your display.
You can paint the display board a nice colour to accent your project.
One of our favourite tips is to cut out coloured craft paper slightly larger than our tiles and glue the tiles onto the craft paper to make a nice border.
Make sure your titles are nicely spaced and not too cluttered. Keep the focus on our project and the most important information.
If you want to provide more in-depth information, consider making a print out that can be handed out to the judges and fair visitors.
Pro Tip! Make sure you check for any rules for your particular science fair. There may be specific features you must include in your board. Or there may be rules around using interactive or digital media such as videos or slide shows.
Now you are ready to go and have so much fun with the science fair!