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" The Amateur Scientist, Science Fair Edition" all 810 columns from Scientific American magazine. ~1000 amateur projects from C.L. Stong, Jearle Walker, Shawn Carlson. $24.99
Now also out on CDROM: Amateur Astronomer, Also a book: Amateur Biologist


Guestbook script from Matt's Script Archive


Name: Coaster Dude
About two years ago I did a project on roller coasters and why you don't fall out of your seat when you go through a loop. I tested it with three experiments. #1 was to fill a bucket of water and swing it over my head. With nothing holding the bucket of water in, the gravity or G forces kept it in the bucket. Then I launched a Hotwheel car through a loop. It went through. Then I bought the set of K'nex roller coaster and assembled it. Even though nothing held the car to the track, it went right trough the looop with no problems. It was really fun. Plus I got to go to the amusement park (Paramount's Great America) and ride all kinds of stuff. People stood and looked at my pictures for the longest time. I got first place in my school and an honorable mention at the regional fair. People still ask me today about all the roller coasters.
Vallejo, CA USA - Monday, August 18, 1997 at 15:40:15 (PDT)
Name: David VAn NEst
Does Different Concentrations of salinity have an effect on the Growth of Red Mangroves? This project got me second place in the engineering fair and there were 102 others in my same category and I would second out of all of them. I grew them hyproponicaly it was a fun project that any one can do.
Cocoa, Fl USA - Sunday, August 17, 1997 at 11:47:38 (PDT)
Name: Anna
Devise a way to drink coca cola hot and carry out research to see what the public think
New Zealand - Thursday, August 14, 1997 at 12:44:42 (PDT)
Name: Jo
I did an experiment called "Distinctive Eyesight" for my 6th grade project. Though it was a little higher level that 6th grade. I got 2nd at my school fair but I won Best of Fair in the county SF and 2nd at regionals. I took 10 illusions out of a Magic Eye book and I showed them to 10 (you can use more) different people in each of 4 age groups. I tested them by making up a test with the illusions.
Welling, OK USA - Wednesday, August 13, 1997 at 14:25:36 (PDT)
Name: Angela Miller
the effects of electromagnetic fields on eremosphaera algae cells (any type of microscopic algae can be used)
Angela Miller <Storm863>
Coral Springs, FL USA - Tuesday, August 12, 1997 at 19:05:16 (PDT)
Name: NONE
Last year I did a science project on computers. The topic was "How much RAM (Random Access Memory) Do You Need for Your Computer?" The catchy name was "Should You CRAM Your RAM?" I won Superior at my school fair & went on to win Superior, again, at the county fair. I put different amounts of RAM in my computer & timed how long it took to open & close programs. I looked to PC World magazine for helpful reference. It was a lot of hard work, but it was worth it
SORRY, NO USA - Friday, August 01, 1997 at 17:16:13 (PDT)
Name: Henrietta
Can plants make photographs??
Henrietta <>
solon, oh USA - Thursday, July 31, 1997 at 19:02:20 (PDT)
Name: Christie Klein
Well, I haven't done this yet, but I thought that it would be really neat. What is very interesting, is that rats can swim, walk on tight ropes, and climb on almost anything. My idea was, you could take 30 mice, 15 females and 15 males, and see which gender can do better in the maze that you make. You should make the maze, so it has some of it underwater, and some of it above water. Mice learn quickly, and make sure that when you make the maze, that the mice can't climb out. Also make sure, that they don't have to go under water too long. If you have any questions, go ahead and e-mail me at
Christie Klein <>
Leesburg, VA USA - Thursday, July 31, 1997 at 11:06:54 (PDT)
Name: Steven Schwartz
In school, I did a science project on acid rain and its effects on plant growth. In an earlier experiment, we determined (using pH paper) that there indeed was acid rain in the Los Angeles area. We recreated a solution of acid rain that matched the pH of the actual rain. We then grew tomato plants in both local soil and plain sand and watered plants with "acid rain" and with normal tap water with less acid content. We then measured the growth of the plants and compared results. Very cool. Enjoy!!
Steven Schwartz <>
Springfield, VA USA - Thursday, July 31, 1997 at 06:50:17 (PDT)
Name: Terri Lawson
What bat weight will allow you to hit the ball farthest?
Terri Lawson <>
Woodbridge, va USA - Wednesday, July 30, 1997 at 07:34:14 (PDT)
Name: Jocques Stalkes
To test the way animals react to different types of music.
Jocques Stalkes <>
Paris, USA - Monday, July 28, 1997 at 17:06:11 (PDT)
Name: Vicki Brown
Many of the science fair projects compare different brands or types of products. My project tested the difference between different types of ear plugs. Get a wig stand made of styrofoam, drill holes where the ears belong, put a decimeter (sound measuring device) into the center of the head, and place the ear plugs into the ear holes. Varying sounds can be made outside of the head which are recorded by the decimeter. The exact same sound must be used for each of the ear plug styles. The sound that we used was a song from a CD at the same volume, and a gun shot. This project received a first place at the regional science fair.
Vicki Brown <>
Seminole, tx USA - Saturday, July 26, 1997 at 13:12:00 (PDT)
Name: Mandy Brown
Build an apparatus that measures the amount of capacity that you have in your lungs (called a spirometer). Take two plastic buckets (one which fits into the other). The idea is to fill the larger bucket with water, invert the smaller bucket into the water, and blow air into the smaller bucket through a tube. The small buycket will rise as the bucket is filled. Yardsticks were glued to the outside of the large bucket so that the rise of the top of the small bucket could be measured in centimeters. As different people try the apparatus you will bet different amounts of air and different measurements of the rising of the bucket. This project has been used to test which sex has the greatest lung capacity, and whether athletes or non-athletes had the greater capacity. The two projects each took first place overall in the regional science fair.
Mandy Brown <>
Seminole, tx USA - Saturday, July 26, 1997 at 13:05:17 (PDT)
Name: James Lyon
My idea is you take 10 kids at the same age (as close as possible) and give them an E.S.P test to find out how common E.S.P is in their age group. You would have to test them about 10 times to make sure it's not just luck. I have a basic E.S.P test programme and if you would like it E-mail me with your address and i will send the file to your address (file will be pkziped) My address is

Auckland, -- New Zealand - Friday, July 25, 1997 at 16:58:53 (PDT)
Name: Kristen wesoly
What is the effect of a disinfecant on the growth of bacteria? Fun experiment, I placed high in school fair, controlled
Kristen wesoly <>
USA - Thursday, July 24, 1997 at 08:33:36 (PDT)
Name: Unknown
Can Earthworms Be used to Recycle Kitchen Wastes into fertile Garden Soil?
USA - Thursday, July 24, 1997 at 08:10:21 (PDT)
Name: Derek Butchart
Music's Affect On Teen Studying
Derek Butchart
Sturgeon Falls, ONT Canada - Monday, July 21, 1997 at 15:59:03 (PDT)
Name: Alice Everage
There are many different ways to do science fair-- what are the real reasons that you may be doing one? If you think of this as a opportunity then you science fair will be more fun. If you need help with the whole project E-mail me. I am a pharmaceutical chemist and a science advisor to 4 different high schools. I encourage parents to e-mail too for help with their children's project. Hope to be hearing from you soon.
Alice Everage <>
Columbus, OH USA - Saturday, July 19, 1997 at 09:18:14 (PDT)
Name: Desarae Muller
for science fair, i found that impressing the judges with what you know about your project is the most important thing. i did an extensive study of aquatic habitats. i created environments in jars and sealed them. simular experements can be done. e-mail me at if you have any questions.
Desarae Muller <>
Lolo, MT USA - Thursday, July 17, 1997 at 22:15:24 (PDT)
Name: Fred Niell
I suggest building a small particle accelerator. I built three: a linear accelerator, and two cyclotrons. Particle accelerators demonstrate and prove several laws of physics. They are not so hard to build, either. For more information, see my web site.
Chicago, IL USA - Monday, July 07, 1997 at 09:07:05 (PDT)
Well, when I was in the seventh grade I did a project called 'How does
lack of sleep affect behavior?' Well I typed up a questionaire for four
different ages groups: 
well some of the question were to determine how much sleep that person
usually gets and how did they feel when they didn't get there normal
hours of sleep. I got third place at my school and went on to the
Regional Science Fair.

Jxn, MS USA - Saturday, July 05, 1997 at 10:18:42 (PDT)
Name: Stephanie
I kinda' read this idea in a science fair book, so it's not really mine, but this one girl at our science fair used it and she won best in fair. Ok, it's about using beta carotene to fight cancer in plants. You need to infect the plants with Agrobacteri um tumefaciens(some plant carcinogen) first and then treat them with beta carotene. The rest is up to you to figure out, it's really not that hard, good luck! Oh, and I'm kinda looking for a good science fair project too, so if you have any great ideas then pleeeaaassseeee e-mail. Thanks a bunch!!!
Stephanie <>
Round Rock, TX USA - Saturday, June 28, 1997 at 17:32:41 (PDT)
Name: Laura Cohn
Please visit our school's Virtual Science Fair website for lots of fantastic science fair ideas! Drawings, photographs, and related websites are included.
Maitland, FL USA - Monday, June 23, 1997 at 14:24:27 (PDT)
Name: Matt Graham
Last year, I did a project using a cheap $45 laser and measured with a solar pannel how different kinds of mirrors and "strobing" the laser beam with a cardboard disk affected its output. It took me to the regionals and won we a couple awards. This year I am manufacturing my own holograms, but now I am unsure what parctical experiments I can do using this teachnology can you help me?
Matt Graham <>
Bolton, Ontario Canada - Friday, June 20, 1997 at 18:43:26 (PDT)
Name: Meghan
At my school science fair I recieved a superior rating, third place, the best in my category, and the principals award. I caught 15 tadpoles and divided them into 3 groups of 5 and gave each the same amount of food, water, and sunlight. I gave each a different kind of food though. High protein freeze dried worms, Tetra fin fish food, and the tadpoles natural pond plant were the three different kinds of food I fed them. Then I weighed them once a week.I wanted to find out which food would cause them to gain the most weight over a period of 15 weeks. High- protein made them gain the most weight!
Ostrander, Oh USA - Saturday, June 14, 1997 at 10:57:15 (PDT)
Name: meghan eyerman
which food would cause tadpoles to gain the most weight? high-protein freeze dried worms, tetra fin fish food, or their natural pond plant?
meghan eyerman
ostrandetr, oh USA - Saturday, June 14, 1997 at 10:46:25 (PDT)
Name: Lindsay Trawick
I'm interested in doing a science fair project on the Microsoft Voice software that came with my computer. I'm thinking about things such as finding the most needed voice commands and then the words that are needed to train the program to recogize that command. The word won't always do it. If you have any suggestions on this project or any suggestions on Science Fair projects in general PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE e-mail me at Thanks in advance.
Lindsay Trawick <>
Hot Springs, AR USA - Wednesday, June 11, 1997 at 12:55:53 (PDT)
Name: Jess Zabell
What I did for my 6th grade Science fair this year was, I wanted to know if a dog's mouth or a human's mouth was cleaner so I took a sample of spit from each specimen and spread it on agar(bacteria food) then I covered it and waited to see if the dog's dish or human's dish had more bacteria on it. The specimen with the bigger and nastier black and brown spots on their plate of agar had the dirtier mouth. I guess I should tell you how it turned out but you might get different results. It all depends on how you do the project. Back to what I was saying, in my project the dog had the dirtier mouth. In the science fair there was 69 people in the 6th grade this year and I got 3rd place so it's a pretty good project. This is a good project if you one can't think of anything else or just wants an easy project. Email me for more details if you need 'em.
Marietta, GA USA - Wednesday, May 28, 1997 at 17:44:17 (PDT)
test which bubblegum flavor lasts the longest
sara <>
USA - Sunday, February 02, 1997 at 08:56:33 (PST)
If you grow 16 plants, 4 in soda, 4 in coffee, 4 in vinegar and 4 in water as your control, which plant will grow faster? Answer: coffee
Wilmington, DE USA - Saturday, February 01, 1997 at 16:49:58 (PST)
We used a Fresnel lens to boil water and compared the results to that of gas and electric stove's time. If you have any more ideas on what we could do with a Fresnel lens let us know.
USA - Saturday, February 01, 1997 at 08:06:08 (PST)
You grow 18 plants from seeds. 6 of them you grow in sand, 6 in half sand and half dirt, and 6 of them in all dirt. Fertilize half of the plants in each growing substance. See how tall each grows and how many leaves. It's easy and got me third place last year.
Martinsburg, WWWV USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 08:27:45 (PST)
My sons won first place at the county science fair by answering the question "How does the size of the sand particles used to make bricks affect it's strength?" They took sand and sifted it into three different size particles and made flat bricks by combining the sand with Elmer's glue and water. The bricks had to sit for a week or so before they hardened. They then tested which brick was strongest by clamping the bricks to the edge of a table surface and gradually increasing weights attached to the brick using vise grips until the bricks broke.
Dawn Baddock <>
Arnold, Md USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 08:01:23 (PST)
Beer drinkers normally are loyal to a brand. Let them try different brands on unmarked glasses, ask them wich one is their preferred brand. I did it with beer and orange juice, I submitted the orange Juice because is more "politically correct".
Javier Andres Rivas <>
Miami, FL USA - Friday, January 31, 1997 at 02:54:19 (PST)
The best sceince fair project is cryobiology. It is when you freeze somthing and then bring it back to life. I got first place at the regional science fair. GOOD LUCK!!!
North Bay, Ont. Canada - Thursday, January 30, 1997 at 18:46:25 (PST)
does the colour of your skin affect the amount of friends you have?
khurram <>
georgetown, ont canada - Wednesday, January 29, 1997 at 12:49:23 (PST)
What about taking bread and the affect of different amounts of say sugar and yeast.E-mail me for more info P.S I got good in Grade 6
Jenny Greenop <>
Canada - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 16:34:34 (PST)
Last Year I did projecton mold. It was really interesting. What I did was I took bread; homemade and storebought and put them in 3 different temperatures. We also got different types of bread brown and white. It got is really far in the science fair like A+
Jenny Greenop <>
Canada - Tuesday, January 28, 1997 at 16:21:23 (PST)
Iam going to do my science project on what precentage of people really stop at at the stop sign. All you have to do is stand near a stop sign and see if they completly stop, slow down and roll past or if they just go. You can record if it was a male, female, young, or a old person. Other variables can be at what time you do it and at which stops you do it at.
Christine Philip <>
Dallas, TX USA - Saturday, January 25, 1997 at 12:43:12 (PST)
my project is on bio rusting you get eight jars and 4 common nails 4 galvinized nails put water in all jars but two which you just leave with for a control sand the common nails add salt to two jars and stir leave one with water and one I'm not telling. then you wait a few days and see what happens.
Matt Wlos
Lansing, Il USA - Friday, January 24, 1997 at 15:27:43 (PST)
We used a Fresnel lens to boil water and compared the results to that of gas and electric stove's time. If you have any more ideas on what we could do with a Fresnel lens let us know.
USA - Sunday, January 19, 1997 at 09:12:34 (PST)
What do you do if you have to orient in space and have no "horizon", such as we have on earth? I am thinking of a space ship situation, where events can happen in any direction from your position, but there is no easy and immediate way to identify the direction. Current co-ordinate system (cartesian co-ordinates) has three axes in 90 degree co-ordination. But the three axes only cover a squarish space that is delimited by the axes, such as a room, with the axes starting in one of the corners of the room. This is not very good for orientation in space, as in that case, we have to look beyond the enclosed space of the room. We normally do this, by assigning negative figures to the distances on each axis in order to distinguish 'inside' from 'outside'. Too complicated for immediate orientation in space. My idea is, to use the geometry developed by Buckminster Fuller, and make a system of four axes, which cover all space, in 120 degree co-ordination with each other. Each one of the axes is assigned a color, starting as full intensity at the axis, and gradually lessening in intensity as the direction diverges towards the next axis. If we do this with each one of the four axes, we get a unique color coding for each and every possible direction. You can "attach" this system to your spaceship and everyone in the ship can immediately agree which direction you are indicating, without any complications. Important in battle situations... Read more about my idea in my home page
Josef Hasslberger <>
Rome, Italy - Friday, January 17, 1997 at 05:44:59 (PST)
test the memery of a mause
USA - Thursday, January 16, 1997 at 12:34:18 (PST)
cut a bunch of flowers and then try to find which one can stay alive the longest using different kinds of water, fertilizers and maby even soils
Matt Morrison <>
North Vancouver, B.C. Canada - Wednesday, January 15, 1997 at 16:55:25 (PST)
people are still talking about this project ! I tested false nutrition claims against true nutrition claims . I told what kind of foods are OK to eat and put out good cooking tips and nutritional information . I had samples of food which caused a greatintrest in the project . It is really great but a little expensive. I think it was a good price to pay for an A though !!
Leslie Dewees <Star2be 12>
Dallas, PA USA - Monday, December 09, 1996 at 12:07:56 (PST)
More science fair ideas can be had at AMATEUR SCIENCE webpage. Don't miss the Hand-drawn Hologram project. Go here to find links to other sites for science fair ideas.
Bill B <>
USA - Friday, November 22, 1996 at 15:53:59 (PST)


Guestbook script from Matt's Script Archive