science fair

Yellowing Paper

I got the idea for this experiment while working on the rocks we collected recently. When we got home last weekend, we unloaded the 750 pounds of quartz crystals from our Arkansas trip onto the back patio. Then I left for Philadelphia to present some electricity shows. Today, I went out to unpack some of the boxes. We had wrapped the best crystals in newspaper, and all the newspaper that was exposed to sunlight had turned yellow. Cool! A chemical color change that happens fairly quickly, and is caused by exposure to light!

Thoughts on a Science Fair Project, part 1

“Science Fair Project!”

Ahh, those three special words that can strike terror into the hearts of students, parents, and teachers. I have already begun to get emails requesting fun, quick, easy projects that no one has ever done before, and that will win the science fair. I wish I had a few hundred thousand projects that fit those requirements, but even that would not take the frustration out of this annual ordeal.

A Class Science Project

“I hear and I forget; I see and I remember; I do and I understand.”

Confucius, Chinese philosopher

Many of the things that students struggle with in the process of doing a science fair project are the result of not fully understanding unfamiliar tasks. If they have never written an abstract, or even read one, the challenge of composing one for their project can be truly daunting. The same is true for selecting a good topic for their project, properly stating their hypothesis, controlling variables, etc.