Below are ideas to get you started developing a project of your own. Choose a topic that interests you, then begin your research and build your project's hypothesis from there!
All high school projects require a high level of original thought and development, so these ideas are merely springboards to help you develop your own project. To participate in upper-level competition, a project should be relevant to current science and technology and should present a benefit to society. Start brainstorming by looking at the ISEF categories; it's also a good idea to check the ISEF guidelines before you choose a topic.
– For tips on performing your experiment and presenting your project, see our free science fair guide.
– Browse our Science Fair Supplies category for more project ideas and helpful kits.
- Compare the effect of antibiotics on gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. (Grow your own cultures with agar & petri dishes. For a sample procedure and more project ideas, see our bacteria science project guide.)
- Run a bioassay to test for toxicity in water or soil.
- Test the effect of ultraviolet radiation on bacteria growth.
- Do different types of bread grow different types of mold? Does temperature or light affect mold growth?
- Experiment with plant genetics (plant hybrids, cross-breeding).
- Test factors like smoke or pollution that might affect transpiration rates for plants.
- Investigate the effects of increased oxygen or carbon dioxide concentration on plant germination.
- Find out the differences in properties and effects of organic vs. chemical fertilizers.
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- Explore methods of erosion prevention, test effects of different soil composition on erosion (e.g. how does more clay compare to more sand?).
- Experiment with methods of flood management and containment.
- Investigate the effects of sunspots on weather patterns.
- Work with methods for forecasting weather.
- Test the concentration and effect of minerals and pH in soil and water samples. (Use water test strips and a soil analyzer.)
- Determine chemical makeup of rain in your area; test possible hazardous effects.
- Study acoustic models and methods of noise control. (A sound measurement kit might be helpful.)
- Experiment with the effect of storage temperatures on batteries.
- Develop improvements in battery chargers; try methods of using solar cells to recharge batteries.
- Compare the bending strength and durability of different building materials.
- Experiment with building materials that are fire-preventative.
- Design industrial uses of magnets; test the effects of magnetic and electromagnetic fields on living organisms such as brine shrimp.
- Design a project in advanced robotic programming.
- Test the effects of the pH level of a solution on the corrosion of iron and copper; explore different methods of corrosion prevention.
- Experiment with types, effectiveness, and the impact on nutritional value of preservatives in food.
- Compare the properties and effects of artificial sweetener vs. sugar or other natural sweeteners. (For this and the following tests, you might consider the Chemistry of Food kit.)
- Test the chemical properties and physiological impact of saturated, unsaturated, and trans fats.
- Use indophenol to test the effect of different cooking methods on the depletion of vitamin C in food.
- Investigate the role of enzymes and yeast in the fermentation or cheese-making process.
- Experiment with different methods of water filtration/purification (such as solar distillation).
- Analyze the by-products of gasoline; compare efficiency of various octane levels.
- Compare or develop methods of hydrogen production and storage for use in fuel cells.
- Investigate methods of improving home insulation.
- Experiment with expanded uses of solar energy.
- Test methods for cleaning up and neutralizing the effect of oil in salt water with this oil spill cleanup kit.
- Work with methods of processing/recycling non-biodegradable items; experiment with decomposition aids.
- Experiment with design and function of wind turbines or water wheels.
- Test for harmful effects of pesticides; test or develop natural/organic alternatives; test the effectiveness of common pesticides such as DEET.
- Which type and color of roofing material provides the most energy efficiency?
For more in-depth project ideas, we recommend the Science Buddies website.