Ninth grade is the first year of high school, so freshmen might find themselves competing against older students in a science fair. Even so, they stand every bit as good a chance of excelling and winning. The key to success is choosing an interesting project that doesn't necessarily take a lot of time to complete.
Gearing a Project to the 9th Grade Level
Ninth graders have a lot going on, so it's best to choose a project idea that can be developed and completed over the space of a few weeks or less. Since high school students are expected to be familiar with word processing programs and printers, the quality of the presentation is very important. Are you making a poster? Be sure to make it as professional as possible. Also, remember that accurately citing sources is critical to any successful project. Be sure to cite any references used in developing your experiment.
9th Grade Science Fair Project Ideas
- Tooth whiteners: Find the shade of white that matches your teeth. Brush your teeth using a tooth whitening toothpaste or using a whitening gum. What color are your teeth now? To obtain additional data, have other family members test different products and monitor their results.
- Seed germination: Can you affect or improve the germination rate of seeds by pre-rinsing them in a chemical before planting them? (Examples of chemicals to try would include hydrogen peroxide solution, dilute hydrochloric acid solution, dilute isopropyl alcohol solution, and fruit juice. Some of these agents are thought to be able to loosen the seed coat surrounding the plant embryo.)
- Hair conditioner: Using a microscope, determine whether hair conditioner affects the condition of hair (either comparing brands or comparing with conditioner to without-conditioner). The goal is to get empirical data, such as a diameter measurement of each hair strand and the distance a strand can stretch before it breaks.
- Bread shelf-life: What's the best way to store bread to keep it fresh the longest time?
- Optimizing appliance efficiency: What things can you do to improve the efficiency or effectiveness of your clothes dryer or water heater-or any device? For example, are there any actions you can take or changes you can make that will decrease the length of time it takes for your dryer to dry a load of towels?
- Music and memory: Does listening to music while you study affect your ability to memorize facts?
- Smoke and plant transpiration: Does the presence of smoke in the air affect plant transpiration?
- The impact of eye color on peripheral vision: Does eye color affect peripheral vision? Supposedly, people with darker eyes tend to have wider pupils for a given amount of light than people with light-colored irises. If you have a more open pupil, does it give you measurably better peripheral vision? Another idea to test would be to see if you have the same peripheral vision in bright light as compared with dim light.
- Acid snow? Most of us have heard about acid rain, but do you know the pH range of snow? If you live in an area with snow, test its pH. How does the pH of snow compare with the pH of rain from the same region?
- Soil erosion: What methods of preventing soil erosion work best? For example, what is effective at preventing erosion in your yard?
- Localized noise reduction: What can you do to reduce noise pollution in a room? What factors contribute to noise pollution inside a residence?
- Seed viability: Is there a test you can perform to predict whether or not a seed will germinate? What factors can you measure that might be used to construct a test?
- The effects of magnets on insects and brine shrimp: Does an external magnetic field have any noticeable effect on animals such as brine shrimp, cockroaches, or fruit flies? You could use a strip magnet and containers of sample organisms and make observations to address this question.
- How is phosphorescence affected by light? Is the brightness of glow-in-the-dark (phosphorescent) materials affected by the light source (spectrum) used to make them glow or only by the intensity (brightness) of the light? Does the light source affect the length of time a phosphorescent material will glow?
- How do preservatives impact Vitamin C? Can you affect Vitamin C (or another measurable vitamin) levels in juice (or another food) by adding a preservative to the juice?
- Insulation variables: What is the best thickness of insulation for preventing heat loss?
- How does energy input impact light bulb lifespan? Is light bulb lifespan affected by whether the bulb is run at full power? In other words, do dim bulbs last longer/shorter than bulbs run at their power rating?
- Speaker acoustics: What type of box material gives you the best sound for your speaker?
- How does temperature affect battery life? When comparing different brands of batteries: Is the brand that lasts the longest at a high temperature the same as that brand lasts the longest at a cold temperature?