STEM Fair Student Project Path A Instruction

Path A: General scientific experiments

Entries can highlight a wide range of themes including experiments, collections, hands-on activities, and projects which involve growing, making, or designing something, answering questions, or making comparisons. The ideas are limitless. But if you need inspiration or examples, here are some ideas that you can begin with.

  • Cleaning Oil Spills In this activity you mix oil and water in a container and add some feathers to represent marine life. Then take the role of an engineering company tasked with cleanup duty by using various materials like sponges, paper towels or spoons to remove the oil from the water and feathers. The goal is to separate the oil,placing it into another container, without removing too much water or harming any marine animals. How does an oil spill affect an environment and the animals in it, and how can these instances be prevented?
  • LEGO Boats Legos can be used as the building blocks to create boats (or use any other material). Each boat can then be floated in a shallow storage bin full of water to see which type of boat construction is the most efficient. Try filling the boats with pennies, Lego figures or pebbles to see which can hold the most weight without taking on water.
  • Salt Crystals Table salt, distilled water, a clear glass container, string and a spoon is all you need. Stir salt into boiling water until it is dissolved, then pour the solution into a jar, being careful to let the mixture cool enough to not break the glass jar. Suspend a string in the water by tying it to a spoon resting atop the opening of the jar. Leave it undisturbed and see crystals grow on the string over time. See how other types of salt or water create different crystal formations.
  • Plastic Bags Plastic bags are difficult to recycle. Can you upcycle it to create something new and useful?
  • Balance Create a balance scale with a clothes hanger, some plastic cups and string. Punch holes into two cups and tie them to either end of the hanger with pieces of string. Suspend the hanger on a door handle and present students with a number of fun objects, such as action figures. They can then experiment with the weight of different objects and estimate which will have similar weights.
  • Towers Build the tallest tower by connecting toothpicks with treats such as jellybeans, marshmallows or gumdrops. How can you build a tower that is both tall and structurally sound? Another take on this activity involves building bridges and seeing which can hold the most weight. Older children can also think about design and the technology behind structural engineering while honing their problem-solving skills.
  • Earthquakes The ground under our feet may feel solid, but an earthquake changes that pretty quickly. Use Jell-O to simulate the earth’s crust, then see if you can build an earthquake-proof structure.
  • Hurricanes In a hurricane zone, houses must be able to stand up to strong winds and possible flooding. Design a house that makes it safer to live in these dangerous areas.
  • Solar Oven Learn about the value of solar energy by building an oven that cooks food without electricity. Enjoy your tasty treats while discussing ways we can harness the energy of the sun, and why alternative energy sources are important.
  • Build a Bird Nest Birds build incredibly intricate nests from materials they find in the wild. Take a nature walk to gather materials, then see if you can build a sturdy, comfy nest of your own!
  • Water Quality Test your water to see how clean it really is! Then head out to test other types of water. Discover what’s in the water in your local streams, ponds, and puddles. Student water testing kits are readily available online.
  • Ice Conventional wisdom says we sprinkle salt on ice to melt it faster. But why? Is that really the best method? Experiment with hot water, sugar, and more to find out. Or try NOT to melt the ice! Experiment with different forms of insulation to see which keeps ice frozen the longest.
  • Roller Coaster Can you make a marble roller coaster out of a pool noodle, cardboard, or other materials? How about designing an entire amusement park? Create a map and write about one of your ride designs.
  • Math Game Invent a math game that practices something you have been learning in math this year.
  • Coding Code a game or a cartoon on Scratch.

All Path A projects can be displayed on a Tri-fold board following the suggested pattern below.

Display Tips:

All projects should include a display board with: title, student name(s), teacher name and grade.

  • For security reasons, valuable property including computers will NOT be allowed and cannot be the format for display. Projects are not monitored at all times.
  • Do NOT display fragile or valuable equipment that could get lost, stolen, or damaged. If you do NOT want people to touch your project, please include a “Do Not Touch” sign or use a sealed container.
  • Live animals will not be allowed on display at school. Instead, share what was learned through photos or videos, and of course, projects harmful to animals are prohibited.
  • Entries can not involve the use of toxic, hazardous or flammable materials.
  • Keep projects within the space of a standard tri-fold board as there will be many projects to display.
  • Parents – please watch small children while touring the fair so they do not damage the displays.

Please contact Juliet Gong/Laura Ni via if you have any questions regarding the project.


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