Great Science Project Ideas for All the Family

ScienceProjectIdeas is the ideal place for parents, teachers and carers wanting to explore science with children. It is a regularly reviewed and updated collection of articles full of ideas for science projects in biology, chemistry, physics, maths, and environment & meteorology.

Solids, Liquids and Gases: Ice, Water and Steam

Water exists in three states – solid ice, liquid water and gaseous steam. Solids have a fixed shape and size. Liquids can change in shape, but have a fixed size. Gases can change shape and size. Ice Water freezes at 0 degrees Centigrade and becomes ice. On a cold, dry, …

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Bending Light: Disappearing Glass Bowl and Bending Pencil

As light passes through transparent objects, it bends. This can create optical illusions like disappearing bowls, bending pencils and mirages. This is called refraction, and is useful in magnifying glasses and spectacles. Disappearing Glass Fill a glass bowl with cooking oil (it can still be used afterwards) and gently lower …

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Ice Cream: Colloidal Chemistry

What is a summer without ice cream cones, or a slice of apple pie without a melting scoop of vanilla ice cream? Though it looks simple – cream, milk, sugar and eggs – ice cream has some interesting science keeping it together. Solutions, Emulsions and Colloids A solution is the …

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Soap and Detergent Chemistry

Soap is made from animal fats and vegetable oils, mixed with a caustic chemical called sodium hydroxide (also known as lye). The sodium hydroxide reacts with the oil to make soap. Detergents are generally made from synthetic compounds. How Do Soaps and Detergents Work? Washing clothes, hands or crockery and …

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Invisible Ink

Invisible ink, sometimes called ‘sympathetic ink’, is a way of writing secret messages. Spies have used invisible inks to pass on secret messages, as have prisoners and hostages. Invisible Messages and Heat Write a message using a cotton bud or a fine paintbrush and lemon juice. Let it dry and …

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Make a Soda Fountain

Drinks are fizzy because they have carbon dioxide in them – the gas is forced into the drink at low temperatures and dissolves. Homemade fizzy drinks can be made using a SodaStream – watch the bubbles of carbon dioxide from the cylinder go into the water or you could try …

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Making an Emulsion

Oil and water are described as immiscible liquids – liquids that do stay mixed together (see ‘Why Oil and Water Don’t Mix’). Even if oil and water are thoroughly shaken up, or whisked together, they will always separate out. An emulsion is a stable mixture of oil and water that …

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Making Polymers: Cornflour Slime and Silly Putty

Polymers are made of long molecules like chains that stick to each other (cross-link). Natural polymers include hair, wool and cellulose (in plants). Plastic is a synthetic polymer. ‘Silly Putty’ Silly Putty is the brand name for a polymer that bounces like a rubber ball, stretches when pulled slowly and …

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Acids and Alkalis: Which Are Which?

The pH scale is a scale of numbers that describes how acid or alkaline (another word for alkaline is ‘basic’) something is. A pH indicator is a liquid or paper that changes colour – each colour corresponds to a number on the pH scale. Making an Indicator Solution To make …

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Soft and Hard Water: Making More Bubbles

Different parts of the country have soft or hard water. Hard water is water that has travelled through certain types of rock, including limestone, chalk and dolomite, and has forms (salts) of calcium and magnesium dissolved in it, such as calcium carbonate, calcium bicarbonate and calcium magnesium carbonate. Soft water …

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