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Okay, this is the hardest part of the whole project…picking your topic. But here are some ideas to get you started. Even if you don’t like any, they may inspire you to come up with one of your own. Remember, check all project ideas with your teacher and parents, and don’t do any project that would hurt or scare people or animals. Good luck!

  • Does music affect on animal behavior?
  • Does the color of food or drinks affect whether or not we like them?
  • Where are the most germs in your school? ( CLICK for more info. )
  • Does music have an affect on plant growth?
  • Which kind of food do dogs (or any animal) prefer best?
  • Which paper towel brand is the strongest?
  • What is the best way to keep an ice cube from melting?
  • What level of salt works best to hatch brine shrimp?
  • Can the food we eat affect our heart rate?
  • How effective are child-proof containers and locks.
  • Can background noise levels affect how well we concentrate?
  • Does acid rain affect the growth of aquatic plants?
  • What is the best way to keep cut flowers fresh the longest?
  • Does the color of light used on plants affect how well they grow?
  • What plant fertilizer works best?
  • Does the color of a room affect human behavior?
  • Do athletic students have better lung capacity?
  • What brand of battery lasts the longest?
  • Does the type of potting soil used in planting affect how fast the plant grows?
  • What type of food allow mold to grow the fastest?
  • Does having worms in soil help plants grow faster?
  • Can plants grow in pots if they are sideways or upside down?
  • Does the color of hair affect how much static electricity it can carry? (test with balloons)
  • How much weight can the surface tension of water hold?
  • Can some people really read someone else’s thoughts?
  • Which soda decays fallen out teeth the most?
  • What light brightness makes plants grow the best?
  • Does the color of birdseed affect how much birds will eat it?
  • Do natural or chemical fertilizers work best?
  • Can mice learn? (you can pick any animal)
  • Can people tell artificial smells from real ones?
  • What brands of bubble gum produce the biggest bubbles?
  • Does age affect human reaction times?
  • What is the effect of salt on the boiling temperature of water?
  • Does shoe design really affect an athlete’s jumping height?
  • What type of grass seed grows the fastest?
  • Can animals see in the dark better than humans?

Didn’t see one you like? Don’t worry…look over them again and see if they give you an idea for your own project that will work for you. Remember, find something that interests you, and have fun with it.

To download and print this list of ideas CLICK HERE .

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80+ Best Science Investigatory Project Ideas You Should Try

Explore engaging and creative Science Investigatory Project ideas. Spark your curiosity with a range of scientific topics and experiment possibilities. Get inspired for your next SIP adventure!”

Science, with its boundless wonders and limitless curiosities, is the ultimate adventure waiting to happen. It’s about questions, experiments, and those eureka moments that ignite your passion for discovery. Now, enter the realm of Science Investigatory Projects (SIPs), and you’ll find a playground for your imagination and a stage for your scientific wizardry.

SIPs are not just dry classroom assignments. They’re like treasure maps leading to hidden knowledge, where “what if” and “I wonder” are your guiding stars. They’re the keys to unlock the secrets of our world, from the tiniest particles in physics to the grand ecosystems in environmental science. With SIPs, you’re the scientist, the detective, and the creator, all rolled into one.

From concocting potions in the chemistry lab to decoding the secrets of the stars, from deciphering the language of DNA to saving our precious planet – it’s all here, waiting for you to dive in. These project ideas are more than just words on paper; they’re the stepping stones to your own scientific adventure.

Table of Contents

What Is a Science Investigatory Project?

Imagine you’re a young scientist with a burning question. Maybe you’ve wondered why plants grow towards the sun, or why some things float while others sink. That’s where a Science Investigatory Project (SIP) comes into play.

An SIP is like a grand adventure into the world of science. It all starts with a question that’s been itching at the back of your mind. That’s your scientific mystery to solve.

Next, you dive into research. It’s like becoming a detective, gathering clues from books, articles, and the internet. You want to know everything about your question – what others have discovered and what remains a puzzle.

With all that knowledge, you craft a hypothesis, which is just a fancy way of saying an educated guess about what you think might happen when you start your experiments.

Now comes the fun part – experimentation! This is where you get to play with chemicals, build contraptions, or watch things grow. You carefully design your experiments, gather data, and record your observations.

Once you’ve collected all this data, you put on your scientist hat and analyze it. You figure out what it means and whether it supports your guess from the beginning (your hypothesis).

And finally, you get to share your epic adventure with others. You write a report or make a presentation explaining what you did, what you found, and what it all means. You’re like a storyteller, recounting your scientific journey.

SIPs aren’t just school assignments; they’re your chance to be a real scientist, exploring the mysteries of the world around you. So, whether you’re dreaming of curing diseases, building robots, or saving the environment, SIPs are your ticket to the amazing world of scientific discovery!

Why Are Science Investigatory Projects Important?

Why are Science Investigatory Projects (SIPs) such a big deal? Well, let’s break it down in a more engaging and relatable way:

Hands-On Adventure

SIPs are like embarking on a thrilling scientific adventure. You don’t just read about science; you get to live it! It’s like stepping into the shoes of a detective, only your mystery is a scientific question.

Brainpower Booster

SIPs turbocharge your brain. They make you think deeply, analyze data, and come up with creative solutions. It’s like a mental workout that builds problem-solving muscles.

Google Who?

SIPs teach you how to be a research ninja. You won’t need Google for everything. You’ll learn how to dig into books, articles, and other resources to find the answers you seek.

BFF with the Scientific Method

SIPs introduce you to the scientific method, which is like the secret code to understanding the world. You become a scientist-in-training, learning how to ask questions, make educated guesses, and prove your point with experiments.

Inventor Mode

Ever dreamt of inventing something amazing? SIPs are your chance to be an inventor! You get to create, test, and experiment with your ideas. Who knows, your project could be the next big thing!

Subject Superpowers

SIPs help you master a specific subject. Whether it’s chemistry, biology, or anything in between, you’ll become a superhero in your chosen field.

Merging Marvels

SIPs are like the Avengers of the science world. They bring together different scientific fields. Imagine combining the powers of Iron Man, Thor, and the Hulk – that’s what SIPs do for science!

Real-Life Prep

SIPs prepare you for the real world. They mimic how scientists work in labs and research institutions. So, if you ever dream of being a scientist, you’ll be well-prepared.

Speak with Impact

SIPs teach you to communicate like a pro. You’ll learn how to share your discoveries in a way that captivates your audience, whether it’s your classmates, teachers, or even the world.

Your Superpower Origin Story

SIPs can be a turning point in your journey. They could inspire you to pursue a career in science, setting the stage for your future as a scientist, inventor, or researcher.

In a nutshell, Science Investigatory Projects aren’t just about grades or assignments; they’re your chance to dive into a world of wonder, learning, and scientific exploration. So, get ready to unlock the scientist within you and let the adventure begin!

Selecting a Science Investigatory Project Idea

Certainly, let’s make the process of selecting a Science Investigatory Project (SIP) idea feel like an adventure:

Step 1: Follow Your Passion

Begin this epic quest by thinking about what truly sparks your scientific curiosity. Do you get a kick out of dissecting frogs, mixing chemicals, or stargazing? Your adventure begins with what makes your scientific heart race.

Step 2: Niche Down

Now, narrow down your quest. If you’re into biology, do you want to dive into genetics, study ecosystems, or maybe explore the animal kingdom? It’s like choosing your quest within the larger world of science.

Step 3: Map Your Curriculum

Check your academic treasure map! What does your curriculum or your teacher’s guidelines say? Make sure your chosen quest aligns with your academic journey.

Step 4: Seek a Mentor

A wise mentor can be like your trusty sidekick. Consult your science teacher. They’ve battled through the scientific world and can guide you towards a path that suits your level and interests.

Step 5: Scour Your Arsenal

Take inventory of your gear (or in this case, your school resources). Do you have a laboratory with microscopes, a chemistry set, or a garden to explore? Your project should be something you can tackle with the tools in your kit.

Step 6: Real-World Impact

Think about how your quest could change the world. Could it help solve a real-world problem? Science heroes often aim to make the world a better place!

Step 7: Brainstorm and Dream

Go on a brainstorming quest! Jot down all the wild and wacky ideas that pop into your head. Don’t worry about practicality at this stage; just let your imagination run wild.

Step 8: Investigate the Scrolls

Dive into the archives of past SIPs. What have other scientific adventurers done before you? Maybe you’ll find inspiration or uncover a new, uncharted realm of science to explore.

Step 9: Assess the Quests

Look at your list of quest ideas and consider which ones are feasible given your resources and time.

Step 10: Declare Your Quest

With your trusty quest in hand, decide what you want to achieve. Are you out to answer a burning question, test a daring hypothesis, or maybe save the day with an ingenious solution?

Step 11: Refine Your Hypothesis

Sharpen your sword and craft a crystal-clear hypothesis. This is your declaration of what you’re setting out to prove or discover on your scientific adventure.

Step 12: Blueprint Your Journey

Plot out your path. What experiments or investigations will you undertake? Your adventure needs a roadmap, so make sure it’s detailed and well-organized.

Step 13: Seek Royal Approval

Before you embark, make sure you have the blessings of the scientific council (your teacher, maybe your school’s ethics committee). This is especially important if your adventure involves any ethical concerns, human subjects, or hazardous materials.

Selecting your SIP idea is like choosing the quest of a lifetime. You’re the scientific hero, and your adventure awaits! So, pick your quest, arm yourself with knowledge, and prepare for a thrilling journey of scientific discovery.

Science Investigatory Project Ideas

Check out science investigatory project ideas:-

  • Investigating the Effects of Different Soil Types on Plant Growth
  • Analyzing the Impact of Light Intensity on Photosynthesis in Aquatic Plants
  • Studying the Regenerative Properties of Earthworms
  • Investigating the Antibacterial Properties of Herbal Extracts
  • Analyzing the Impact of Temperature on Enzyme Activity
  • Studying the Behavior of Ants in Response to Various Food Types
  • Investigating the Growth Rate of Mold on Different Food Substrates
  • Analyzing the Effects of Different Types of Water on Seed Germination
  • Investigating the Impact of Pollution on Fish in Local Rivers
  • Studying the Microbial Diversity in Soil Samples from Different Environments
  • Testing the Efficiency of Homemade vs. Commercial Cleaning Products
  • Investigating the Chemical Composition of Different Brands of Cola
  • Analyzing the Effects of Temperature on the Rate of Food Spoilage
  • Creating Natural Dyes from Various Plant Sources
  • Investigating the pH Levels of Different Brands of Shampoo
  • Analyzing the Chemical Reactions in Baking (e.g., Bread Rising)
  • Testing the Efficiency of Natural vs. Synthetic Insect Repellents
  • Investigating the Effects of Different Cooking Oils on Food Quality
  • Analyzing the Chemical Components of Natural Perfumes
  • Investigating the Factors Affecting the Rusting of Iron
  • Building and Testing Different Types of Paper Airplanes for Maximum Flight Distance
  • Investigating the Effect of Various Surfaces on the Bounce of a Ball
  • Analyzing the Factors Affecting the Swing of a Pendulum
  • Building a Simple Electric Motor and Studying Its Functionality
  • Investigating the Factors Affecting the Speed of Sound in Different Media
  • Analyzing the Behavior of Light Using Prism Experiments
  • Investigating the Efficiency of Different Types of Insulation Materials
  • Analyzing the Relationship Between Magnet Strength and Distance
  • Studying the Effects of Air Resistance on Falling Objects
  • Investigating the Principles of Lenses and Their Applications in Optics

Environmental Science

  • Analyzing the Impact of Urbanization on Local Bird Populations
  • Investigating the Water Quality of Local Streams and Its Effects on Aquatic Life
  • Analyzing the Effects of Air Pollution on Plant Health
  • Investigating the Impact of Oil Spills on Marine Ecosystems
  • Analyzing the Factors Affecting Soil Erosion and Prevention Methods
  • Investigating the Impact of Different Waste Disposal Methods on the Environment
  • Analyzing the Diversity of Microorganisms in Different Water Sources
  • Investigating the Effects of Deforestation on Local Climate
  • Analyzing the Impact of Noise Pollution on Wildlife Behavior
  • Investigating the Eutrophication of Lakes and Its Effects on Water Quality

Earth Science

  • Studying the Formation and Types of Rocks in a Local Area
  • Analyzing the Effects of Weathering on Different Types of Rocks
  • Investigating the Impact of Tides on Coastal Erosion
  • Studying the Properties and Formation of Different Types of Soil
  • Analyzing the Impact of Geological Faults on Local Landscapes
  • Investigating the Formation and Properties of Different Types of Volcanoes
  • Analyzing the Factors Affecting Groundwater Pollution
  • Investigating the Impact of Climate Change on Local Glaciers
  • Studying the Effects of Coastal Processes on Beach Formation
  • Analyzing the Impact of Landslides on Soil Stability
  • Observing Solar Flares and Their Impact on Earth’s Magnetic Field
  • Studying the Orbits and Moons of Planets in Our Solar System
  • Analyzing the Properties and Evolution of Stars in Different Stages
  • Investigating the Effects of Light Pollution on Astronomical Observations
  • Analyzing the Movement and Behavior of Comets
  • Investigating the Occurrence and Characteristics of Meteor Showers
  • Studying the Phases and Cycles of the Moon
  • Analyzing the Impact of Space Weather on Communication Systems
  • Investigating Exoplanets and Their Potential Habitability
  • Observing and Tracking Near-Earth Asteroids and Their Trajectories

Computer Science

  • Developing a Computer Program to Predict Earthquake Patterns
  • Creating a Virtual Reality Simulation for Educational Purposes
  • Analyzing the Efficiency of Various Data Compression Algorithms
  • Investigating the Impact of Social Media on Human Behavior
  • Developing a Simple Artificial Intelligence Chess Player
  • Analyzing the Impact of Algorithms on Internet Search Results
  • Investigating the Efficiency of Different Image Recognition Software
  • Developing a Program for Predicting Stock Market Trends
  • Analyzing the Effects of Encryption Techniques on Data Security
  • Developing a Program for Facial Recognition and Authentication
  • Investigating the Effects of Different Music Genres on Mood and Productivity
  • Analyzing the Impact of Smartphone Use on Sleep Quality
  • Investigating the Factors Affecting Human Memory and Recall
  • Analyzing the Effects of Color on Human Emotions and Behavior
  • Investigating the Impact of Social Media Use on Self-Esteem
  • Analyzing the Effects of Mindfulness Meditation on  Stress Reduction
  • Investigating the Factors Affecting Decision-Making in Humans
  • Analyzing the Impact of Different Learning Styles on Academic Performance
  • Investigating the Effects of Nutrition on Cognitive Function
  • Analyzing the Impact of Video Games on Attention and Reaction Time

These project ideas encompass a broad range of scientific disciplines, allowing students to explore various aspects of science and conduct hands-on experiments. Students can choose projects that align with their interests and resources for an engaging and educational experience.

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Science Investigatory Project

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you embark on your SIP journey:

Title and Abstract

Your project’s title should be clear and concise. The abstract summarizes your project’s objectives, methodology, and findings.


The introduction outlines the problem or question you intend to address. It provides context and explains the significance of your project.

Review of Related Literature

This section explores existing research on your chosen topic, helping you understand the background and current knowledge.

Clearly state your project’s objectives. What do you aim to achieve or discover through your experiments?


Explain the methods and materials you’ll use for your experiments. Ensure it’s detailed enough for others to replicate your work.

Data Presentation and Analysis

Present your findings through tables, graphs, or other visual aids. Analyze the data and draw conclusions.

Summarize your findings and state whether your hypothesis was proven or disproven.


Offer suggestions for further research or improvements to your project.

How do I choose a science investigatory project?

Picking the perfect science investigatory project is a bit like choosing your next adventure – it should be thrilling and tailored just for you. So, how do you go about it in a natural and engaging way?

1. Follow Your Passion

Think about what makes you curious and excited. Do you love animals, chemistry experiments, or solving mysteries? Your passion is your compass.

2. Look in Your Toolbox

Consider your strengths and skills. Are you a master of observation, a lab genius, or a data wizard? Your talents are your secret weapon.

3. Explore Previous Explorations

Take a peek at what other scientists-in-the-making have done before you. It’s like reading through other people’s travel diaries for inspiration.

4. Seek Wisdom

Don’t hesitate to chat with your teachers or mentors. They’re like your trusty tour guides in the world of science. They can suggest awesome trails for you to explore.

5. Zoom In on Your Focus

Once you have a general area in mind, zoom in. For example, if you’re into space, do you want to study planets, stars, or black holes? Being specific is like choosing the perfect path for your adventure.

6. Set Your Sights High

Have clear goals in mind. Do you want to answer a burning question, solve a problem, or create something new? Your goals are your treasure map.

7. Check Your Supplies

Make sure you have the tools you need, like lab equipment, materials, and if required, permissions and safety guidelines. It’s like packing your backpack for an expedition.

8. Think Real-World Impact

Consider how your project connects to the real world. Could it help people, animals, or the environment? The best projects often have an impact beyond the classroom.

9. Dive into Brainstorming

Let your creativity flow. Brainstorm a list of project ideas. Crazy or conventional, they’re like potential adventures waiting to happen.

10. Weigh the Feasibility

Review your ideas with a practical lens. Can you realistically do it in the time you have and with your resources? It’s like making sure your adventure plans are doable.

11. Share and Get Feedback

Talk to others about your ideas. It’s like discussing your travel plans with friends. They might offer awesome tips and insights.

12. Choose Your Adventure

Finally, pick the project that truly fires you up. It’s like selecting the destination that makes your heart race with excitement. Science should be a thrilling journey, so choose an adventure that you’ll enjoy from start to finish!

In the grand finale, let’s talk about science investigatory project ideas in a way that’s not just informative but also engaging and naturally conversational.

Think of science investigatory projects as your passport to an adventure in the world of science. These projects aren’t just school assignments; they’re your chance to embark on a journey of curiosity, discovery, and fun.

Imagine you’re exploring a treasure chest of ideas. Whether you’re into the nitty-gritty of biology, the wild experiments of chemistry, or the laws of physics that govern the universe, there’s something for every science enthusiast.

The key to picking the perfect project? Choose something that truly excites you! When your eyes light up with curiosity, your project becomes a thrilling quest, not a chore. It’s like choosing the video game you’re most eager to play.

These projects aren’t just about test tubes and data tables; they’re about nurturing your scientific spirit. Along the way, you’ll sharpen your problem-solving skills, master the art of critical thinking, and become best friends with the scientific method.

So, think of your science investigatory project as a magic carpet ride into the world of discovery. Be open to surprises and let your imagination soar. Science is all about turning questions into answers and mysteries into knowledge. Your journey promises to be a rollercoaster of wonder and enlightenment, full of “Eureka!” moments. Enjoy the ride!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of presenting my sip findings to a wider audience.

Presenting your findings can boost your confidence, receive feedback, and contribute to the scientific community.

How can I ensure the validity of my results?

Proper experimental design, data collection, and rigorous analysis are key to ensuring valid results.

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25 Science Projects Ideas From Easy to Hard

research project science experiment ideas

By Alex Yang

Graduate student at Southern Methodist University

14 minute read

Science fairs can be invaluable experiences that help you explore a specific topic and also teach you the principles of scientific discovery. They also offer opportunities for you to showcase your creativity and can be a great springboard to further academic or career pursuits in STEM. An added bonus is that you usually have a finished product that you can proudly showcase to others and put on your resume.

However, it’s easy to get stuck on what science fair project to do as there are so many ideas to choose from. In this article we’ll go over 25 science fair project ideas that can hopefully provide some inspiration and also don’t require fancy or expensive materials.

1. How Different Types of Light Affect Vitamin C Content in Fruits

This project involves studying how different light sources affect the vitamin C content of fruits. You can expose samples of  different fruits to varied light conditions, including natural sunlight, LED, and fluorescent light. Then, using some potassium iodide and a sheet of watercolor paper, you can measure the vitamin C content of the fruits. Here’s an article and video to help you with the vitamin C test .

Difficulty: Easy

Topic: Chemistry 

Materials Needed: Fruits, light sources, ​​3% aque­ous so­lu­tion of io­dine in potas­si­um io­dide, a sheet of wa­ter­col­or pa­per, a cot­ton ball, a dis­pos­able plas­tic cup.

2. The Effects of Exercise on Heart Rate

This project investigates how different types of exercise impact heart rate. By measuring heart rate before, during, and after activities such as running, cycling, and jumping jacks, you can analyze how the heart and body responds to exercise and which movements push your heart rate the most. You can then do further research into the science behind why certain exercises lead to a higher heart rate than others.

Topic: Kinesiology

Materials Needed: Stopwatch, heart rate monitor or pulse oximeter if you have one (if not you can just count your heartbeats)

3. The Aerodynamics of Paper Airplanes

Learn about aerodynamic principles by observing the flight of paper airplanes. By constructing paper airplanes with different designs, including variations in wing shape, size, and folding techniques, you can analyze their flight performance and see what design flies the farthest or is airborne for the longest. After testing, you can explore further by presenting why the top design did well based on theories of aerodynamics, and how you would make the design even better.

Topics: Aerodynamics, physics

Materials Needed: Paper, ruler, tape, stopwatch.

4. How Sleep Impacts Academic Performance 

You can use yourself or your friends as test subjects for this experiment, where you analyze the correlation between sleep duration and academic performance. You can collect sleep data through your phone or a smart watch, and then have all test subjects take a test the next morning, and to repeat that for several days potentially. What’s important for this kind of experiment is that there are many other factors that could potentially impact test performance besides sleep, so in your experimental design you’ll have to think creatively to control other variables.

Difficulty: Medium

Topics: Psychology, neuroscience

Materials Needed: Phone or smartwatch, tests that you can give to subjects

5. How Urban Green Spaces Impact Mental Well-being 

Conduct surveys or interviews in a city near you to assess the perceived benefits of urban green spaces (parks, gardens, etc.) on residents' mental health and well-being. Try to gain an understanding for why these spaces matter and how residents view them. How do parks and gardens impact the day to day life of city dwellers?

Topics: Psychology, urban planning

Materials Needed: Phone to record interviews

6. Design Your Own Hydroponic System 

Construct a homemade hydroponic system using recycled materials and test its effectiveness. Hydroponics is soilless gardening that can be done either indoors or outdoors. Once you’ve made your hydroponic system you can then compare the growth rates and yields of the plants  with traditional soil-based cultivation methods. Here’s an article on how to build a simple hydroponic , but we encourage you to also do your own research while building!

Difficulty: Hard

Topics: Biology

Materials Needed: Recycled materials, twine, soda bottle, other inexpensive materials

7. Mindfulness to Reduce Smartphone Addiction 

Investigate whether mindfulness exercises such as meditation can help reduce smartphone addiction. You can choose to focus on a particular mindfulness exercise and/or participant demographic. You can then lead these mindfulness exercises for participants and also measure participants' smartphone usage over a certain period of time. There are a ton of different choices you can make in terms of designing this experiment, so feel free to be creative with it!

Topics: Psychology

Materials Needed: Smartphones

8. Memory Enhancement Techniques 

Compare the effectiveness of various memory enhancement techniques. You can start by researching popular techniques such as mnemonics, spaced repetition, and mind mapping so that you develop an understanding of how these techniques work. Then you can begin experimenting by gathering a group of subjects and creating a memory test. Remember to control other variables that could impact your data and carefully think through your experimental design. 

Topics: Psychology 

Materials Needed: None 

9. Build a Model Roller Coaster

If you’re a big fan of amusement parks this could be a great project for you. Design and construct a model roller coaster using materials like cardboard, foam tubes, and marbles. You can experiment with factors like height and angles to see what creates the most velocity for the coaster. Be sure to document how specific changes in factors affect the outcome of the roller coaster ride!

Topics: Physics

Materials Needed: Cardboard, foam tubes, marbles

10. Build a Model Suspension Bridge 

Start out by sketching your bridge design on paper and looking up images of real suspension bridges for inspiration. From there you can begin to use your popsicle sticks and glue to construct the bridge. If you’re a bit stuck on how to prepare and construct the bridge, check out this Youtube video on how to build a suspension bridge . Once you’re done building your bridge you can then begin to test its stability and how it holds under pressure!

Materials Needed: Popsicle sticks or craft sticks (for the bridge deck and towers), string or thin wire (for the suspension cables), glue (such as wood glue or hot glue) scissors or craft knife, ruler or measuring tape, cardboard or sturdy base for the bridge foundation (optional) 

11. Build a Wind Turbine to Generate Electricity

Through this project you’ll gain hands-on experience with learning about renewable energy. You’ll start out by designing the turbine blades and frame, then install the generator and wire the generator. Once you’ve built your wind turbine you’ll want to test it in an environment with sufficient wind speed and observe how much electricity you’re able to generate! You can also experiment with the shape of the frame and blades to see if that changes the electrical output.

Topics: Physics, engineering, renewable energy

Materials Needed: PVC pipes or wooden dowels (for the turbine blades), DC motor or small generator, magnets, copper wire, bearings or bushings, PVC fittings or other materials for constructing the turbine, wire connectors, multimeter (for measuring voltage and current)

12. Analyzing Different Water Purification Methods 

What would be the safest way to purify water if you were out in the wild? Evaluate the effectiveness of different water purification methods (filtration, boiling, chemical treatment, etc.) and discover which method performs the best. To test the initial quality of the water samples, use pH strips to find the initial pH of the water. Then perform the water purification method and measure the pH after to see if there’s a considerable change.

Topics: Chemistry

Materials Needed: Water source, containers to hold water, filtration materials like coffee filters, boiling apparatus, pH test strips

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13. How Soil Moisture Affects Plant Growth 

Experiment with soil moisture levels to see how it affects the growth and development of plants. An easy way to do this would be to buy a lot of the same plant and grow them all at the same time but vary the soil moisture for each plant. You can decide the increments for how much you want to vary the soil by and from there measure plant growth to see if you can find a correlation. This is also a great experiment to apply statistical analysis of your data.

Materials Needed: Plants, soil, water

14. The Impact of Light Pollution on Nocturnal Insect Populations 

In this project you can first explore the concept of light pollution and what its effects are. From there you can research nocturnal insects and learn about their behaviors. The second part of the project involves conducting an experiment to see how nocturnal insect populations vary based on artificial light intensity. You can go to several different locations that have different artificial light intensities to see whether certain locations have a greater abundance of insects or a greater diversity. Keep in mind the tricky part of this experiment is how to collect the insects - there are various methods such as light traps or sticky traps that you can try.

Topics: Biology, zoology

15. Build a Solar Oven

Construct a solar oven using reflective materials such as aluminum foil. You can explore this article that explains step by step how to build the oven, but the basic idea is that you want to line the inner flap with aluminum foil so that the sun's rays reflect off of it and also create a small opening so that sunlight can come through. You can try heating up food in the middle of the day when the sun is directly overhead to see what happens!

Materials Needed: Reflective material like aluminum foil, insulation (foam board, newspapers), heat-absorbing container, thermometer, food items for cooking.

16. How Temperature Affects Battery Performance

Explore how temperature affects the voltage output and lifespan of batteries. Select a variety of different batteries and expose them to different temperature conditions. You can also vary the length of time that the batteries are left in a given temperature. After, use a voltage meter to measure the output of the batteries. How does temperature impact the voltage output?

Topics: Electrochemistry, energy storage

Materials Needed: Multiple types of batteries, thermometer or temperature sensor, voltage meter or multimeter.

17. Testing the Strength of Different Types of Paper 

Compare the strength of various types of paper (printer paper, construction paper, tissue paper). To do this you can either measure the force required to tear each type of paper ( tensile strength ) or just observe how difficult it is to tear. Record observations and also analyze the materials used in each type of paper to hypothesize why the paper might be difficult or easy to tear.

Materials Needed: Different types of paper, ruler or measuring tape, weights or force gauge, clamps or clips.

18. Pendulums

In this project, construct your own basic pendulum with string and a weight, and see how the length of a pendulum affects its period (the time it takes to complete one full swing). You can also conduct trials where pendulums of varying lengths are released from the same angle, or vary the angle from which the pendulum is released. 

Materials Needed: Pendulum apparatus (can be as simple as a string and weight), stopwatch or timer, protractor for measuring angles.

19. DIY Catapults 

In this project you’ll explore the principles of projectile motion and trajectory. Build a simple catapult or trebuchet and investigate how launch angle and projectile mass affect the trajectory of a launched object. If you want to take the project a step further and add a history component to it, explore a few various catapults that were used in ancient or medieval times and observe the differences in their launch angles and typical projectile masses. Were these catapults effective?

Materials Needed: Catapult or trebuchet construction materials (wood, rubber bands, etc.), objects that the catapult can launch, measuring tape or ruler.

20. Friction 

Explore the concept of friction by pulling objects across different surfaces and measuring the frictional force. You can investigate how different surface textures impact how easy it is to pull the object across the surface. To take the project to the next level you can share your findings about one real world application where the concept of friction is very important (think things like sports or transportation). 

Materials Needed: Objects of different weights, various surfaces (e.g., wood, metal, sandpaper), force sensor or spring scale, ruler

21. Studying the Effects of Music on Stress Reduction 

We all have our playlists or songs that help us relax, but how can we actually confirm that music actually plays a role in reducing stress? In this project you can conduct experiments where participants listen to different types of music (e.g., classical, jazz, nature sounds) and their physiological stress responses (e.g., heart rate, cortisol levels) are measured before and after listening to the music. Before conducting the experiment see if you can do some preliminary research on the topic and what other experiments have been done. 

Materials Needed: A device to play, physiological monitoring equipment, stress assessment scales.

22. Ocean Acidification and Coral Bleaching 

Study how ocean acidification, driven by increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, impacts coral reef ecosystems. You can also look into coral bleaching and learn how it’s also related to ocean acidification. This project can be a bit more focused on research rather than actual experimentation, but if you’d like to develop a model to demonstrate ocean acidification and see how carbon dioxide affects water we encourage you to do that as well.

Topic: Chemistry, marine biology

Materials Needed: Cups, water, acid base indicator, baking soda, vinegar

23. Studying the Effects of Deforestation on Local Climate Patterns 

Learn how deforestation affects regional climate conditions such as temperature, precipitation, and humidity. Specifically, you can analyze satellite imagery to assess changes in land cover in deforested areas over time. To get you started, check out this article on how scientists have been tracking deforestation in the Amazon for decades .  

Topic: Climate, environmental science

Materials Needed: Satellite imagery or aerial photographs

24. Investigating Sinkholes 

Sinkholes may seem like a chaotic once in a lifetime phenomenon but there are actually geological processes involved in the formation of sinkholes. Explore these processes and their potential hazards to human settlements. To learn further you can research specific areas that are known to have a lot of sinkholes and try to understand why this occurs from a geological perspective.

Topic: Geology

Materials Needed: None

25. How Color Affects Mood and Emotion Description

Explore whether different colors influence people's mood and emotional state. You can design experiments where participants are exposed to different colors through images or objects and their mood responses are measured with self-reported scales or surveys. Analyze data and see if you can find any patterns. The more subjects you have in your experiment the better!

Topic: Psychology

Materials Needed: Images or objects that show mainly one color

How to Showcase Your Science Fair Project

Once you’ve completed your science fair project you can obviously present it at your local or school science fair, but we highly encourage you to also enter your project and findings for a bigger competition. There are so many great regional and national competitions where you can submit your work, and we’ve compiled a list of them below based on science topic. Keep in mind that many of these competitions have very specific submission guidelines, so you might have to adjust the format of your project slightly to fit the rules

Top 8 Neuroscience Competitions for High School and Middle School Students

Top 9 Physics Competitions for High School Students

The 10 Best Chemistry Competitions for High School Students

10 Best Engineering Competitions for High School Students

Top Psychology Competitions For High School and Middle School Students

Still Stuck On What Idea to Choose?

Work with a Polygence research program mentor who can help you brainstorm the right idea for you. From there they can help you with executing your project and making sure you’re on track to finish by your deadline. If you’re interested, apply for our flagship mentorship program !

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How To : The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Most of us have conducted an investigatory science project without even knowing it, or at least without knowing that's what it was called. Most science experiments performed, from elementary to high school students and all the way up to professional scientists, are investigatory projects.

What's an Investigatory Project Exactly?

An investigatory project is basically any science experiment where you start with an issue or problem and conduct research or an investigation to decide what you think the outcome will be. After you've created your hypothesis or proposal, you can conduct a controlled experiment using the scientific method to arrive at a conclusion.

What's the Scientific Method?

For those of us who have forgotten the various steps of the scientific method, let me clear that up right here:

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Remember, however, that a successful investigatory science project does not necessarily have to result in the intended outcome. The purpose of these projects is to think critically, and if the solution doesn't work out, that doesn't mean your project will fail.

What Kind of Investigatory Projects Are There?

In order to conduct a great investigatory experiment, you have to ask an interesting question and be able to conduct an experiment that can hopefully answer that question. The harder and more intriguing the initial question is, the better the resulting investigation and experiment will be.

I've listed a few examples below of some of the best investigatory experiments out there, so hopefully you'll have no problem coming up with an idea.

Project #1: Making Soap Out of Guava

Basic hygiene should be available to everyone, but what about people who live in areas without easy access to grocery stores or pharmacies? This is a great question that makes you think about scientific alternatives to store-bought soap.

Below is an example project that creates soap from guava leaf extract and sodium hydroxide, but there's no shortage of materials you can use to replace the guava, like coconut oil or a fat like lard, butter or even the grease from your kitchen .

Project #2: Used Cooking Oil as a Substitute for Diesel

We all know how lucrative the oil business is, but what if the next huge innovation in oil was sitting right inside your kitchen cabinet? With the high prices of regular gasoline and diesel fuel, the possibility of creating a usable diesel fuel from household cooking oils is pretty exciting.

Although creating diesel fuel out of cooking oils that will run a BMW may sound like a reach, it still makes for a great project. And who knows, maybe in doing this you'll actually figure out what was missing from previous attempts . Being an instant billionaire doesn't sound too bad to me.

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

If you're interested in trying it for yourself, there's a great step-by-step guide with a full ingredients list and photos over on Make .

Project #3: Create Another Alternative Fuel

If biodiesel isn't your forte, you can try making oxyhydrogen gas or creating hydrogen gas via electrolysis or vice versa, creating electricity from hydrogen gas .

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Project #4: Purifying Used Cooking Oil

Speaking of oil, if you use it to cook, you know that a lot of it goes to waste. But what if you could clean that oil and use it over and over again? Not only would that save money, but it would also benefit the environment since most people do not properly dispose of used cooking oil (no, pouring it down the drain doesn't count).

Your project goal would be to research methods of filtration or purification and test it on cooking oils. To easily demonstrate which method works best, try cooking some food in the oil produced by each one. Good food can go a long way when it comes to winning people over.

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Check out the abstract and description of a similar project here .

Project #5: Alternative Methods of Producing Iodized Salt

In areas isolated from the sea, IDD or Iodine Deficiency Disease, is very common. Since these areas do not have easy access to marine foods or grocery stores, the population becomes very susceptible to the disease due to a lack of iodine in the diet. In order to combat this, researchers and doctors have begun infusing iodine into regular table salts.

If not iodine is readily available, it can be chemically made either with sulfuric acid and alkali metal iodide or hydrochloric acid and hydroxide peroxide .

But perhaps there are other more accessible ways to create an iodized salt that people could make at home. For a starting point, take a look at this previous experiment .

Project #6: Making Biodegradable Plastic

Plastic bags are actually illegal in Santa Monica , CA (and soon to be Los Angeles ) because of their threat to the environment due to insane resistance to biodegradation. I didn't think they were that bad, but one plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to break down completely, and it can even ruin your car along the way. So, creating a better biodegradable plastic bag would be a huge achievement.

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

The only question is how one would go about doing so, and what materials could be used? That's the question you can answer for your project. This project used cassava starch as an effective component for a biodegradable plastic, but you could try using a few different starches and see what works best.

Project #7: Solar Water Purification

One of the biggest world problems is finding clean water. While we in the states can find purified or drinkable tap water almost anywhere, millions of people around the world don't have access to clean drinking water.

A few students decided to investigate a potential purification process using the sun's energy and an aluminum sheet. Watch the video below for more information and a complete walkthrough of their scientific process.

And if you're an overachiever, you can step it up a notch and try purifying pee instead .

Project #8: Perfecting the Paper Bridge

Of course, an investigatory project doesn't always have to answer such grand questions. This experiment looks to discover how to build the strongest paper bridge by varying how the pieces are held together. So, the question is, "How do design changes affect a load bearing structure?"

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Check out the video below for more information on replicating the project yourself.

Project #9: Making Instant Ice

It's summer time and the degrees are already hitting triple digits in some areas. When it's this hot, there are few things better than a glass of ice chilled water or lemonade. But what happens if you don't have ice? Can you create your own ice or cool drinks quickly by another method? Check out this clip from King of Random .

Cool, huh? But how does it work? Is there any other way to replicate this? Well, let the investigation begin. Figure out what your hypotheses will be and follow along with this video for you own investigatory project.

For more information and additional photos, be sure to check out the King of Random's full tutorial .

Project #10: Increase the Shelf-Life of Fruits and Veggies

Extending the shelf-life of perishable fruits and vegetables can make a huge difference for small farmers, street-side vendors and even your average Joe—groceries aren't cheap. What is an inexpensive and easily accessible way to make produce stay fresh longer?

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

That's the question behind this great investigatory science project featured here . While these researchers focused exclusively on chitosan coating on bananas, you can branch out (no pun intended) and try an assortment of other fruits, veggies and possible coating materials.

For more information on how to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh for longer, check out my previous article , or Yumi's recent illustration for other ideas.

Project #11: Slow the Ripening of Sliced or Chopped Produce

You could also focus your project on keeping fruits and vegetables from browning after they've already been cut up. There are various methods and materials you can use to slow down the ripening process, such as honey and lemon juice. Watch the video below and read this tutorial for more information and ideas.

Your project could revolve around finding the best option, and testing out some of your own browning-prevention solutions to see if you can come up with a better one.

Project #12: Improve Memory by Thinking Dirty

If my memory was any good I would be fluent in Spanish and never need to look up the Quadratic Formula again. But my problems are more superficial, like forgetting where I put my keys or what time my dentist appointment was supposed to be. There are folks out there who do suffer from real memory problems, so figuring out how to help improve memory makes for a great investigatory project.

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

There are tons of studies on memory and memory loss that you can research. But for your investigatory science project, you will want to come up with your own hypothesis based on that information and test it out. Does using colors to form associations help with memory? Does linking an image with a memory increase its hold in the carrier's head? What about drinking grape juice or sniffing rosemary ? These are the types of questions you may look to answer.

This article contends that memory can be improved by looking at NSFW images or thinking of dirty associations. Come up with your own theory and let the brain hacking begin.

Project #13: Improving Social Anxiety by Manipulating the Body & Mind

Science experiments don't always have to include chemicals or test tubes. The science of the mind can be just as interesting. So what's the investigation consist of?

Can you truly affect the way you act and feel by simply changing your posture? Does acting a certain way manipulate the mind drastically enough to actually change the way you feel?

Check out Amy Cuddy's awesome TED Talk for more ideas for additional questions you could ask.

Project #14: Kitchen DNA Extraction

You may think studying DNA is only for professionals with super expensive lab equipment, but you can actually extract DNA from any living thing with a few basic ingredients you probably have in your kitchen like dish soap and rubbing alcohol.

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Decide on something to vary, like different fruits and vegetables or types of dish soap, and come up with a hypothesis regarding which will allow you to collect the most DNA material.

You can also find more information, as well as another way to perform the experiment, here .

Project #15: Make Homemade Glue from Milk

With milk, white vinegar and baking soda, you can make your own glue right at home. Make it an investigatory project by changing up the recipe and testing which results in the strongest glue. You could also try varying the ingredients to make it dry faster, or work on different materials (wood vs. plastic vs. paper).

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Project #16: Make a Battery Out of Fruits and Vegetables

How can you power a small light or device without electricity? You can make a DIY battery with a few different types of fruits and vegetables. Anything from a lemon to an apple , potato , or even passion fruit will work.

The Best Investigatory Projects in Science: 16 Fun & Easy Ideas to Kickstart Your Project

Pick a few different fruits or vegetables and form a hypothesis as to which will make the battery that puts out the most energy or lasts the longest. Once you've built your batteries, hook up a volt meter to read the output and see which one is the best.

What's Your Favorite?

Know of an awesome investigatory project that's not on the list, like wireless electricity or cheaper x-ray machines ? Let us know in the comments below. If you decide to use any of these ideas for your own project, be sure to take some photos and show off your results over in the Inspiration section !

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It's the best thing av seen

these things are really useful............

All of this was perfect for my Investigatory Project . ! :D

"All of this 'were' perfect for my Investigatory Project"

"all of 'these' were perfect for my investigatory project

heheh !! all of these examples above are usefull.. great job kuya's ang ate's heheh muah muah

how i can make a gameor a toy based on a scientific principal for class x

It really helps me to find a good topic for my investigatory project. Thanks. :)

how about devices that remove particles from the smoke/gas

yes biodegradable plastic bag is better but how ?

i like it so much i have now a science investigatory project

thanx for these I`ve enjoy it... i have now a sip

Is it possible to invent a machine that automatically segregate our trash? I want to make it possible through SIP...

nice and amazing

Share Your Thoughts

Make slime without borax : 5 easy recipes for gooey homemade ooze, how to : make chlorine gas with pool chlorine and hydrochloric acid, how to : turn milk into strong natural glue with baking soda and vinegar, how to : make this amazing 9-layer density tower from things found in your kitchen, how to : make a crazy zigzagging stream of water using a speaker, how to : build a simple paper bridge as a science experiment, classic chemistry : colorize colorless liquids with "black" magic, aka the iodine clock reaction, how to : study planetary bulge with a science experiment, how to : make a crazy foam explosion science experiment, how to : inflate a sealed balloon in a vacuum chamber, how to : make fire 4 ways without matches by using chemistry, how to : make water freeze into ice instantaneously, how to : make soap out of guava leaf extract for a science investigatory project, how to : make hydrochloric acid from salt, how to : make boric acid from borax, how to : make diy nitrogen triiodide from ammonia & water purification iodine crystals, howto : diy glow sticks, how to : make a carbon dioxide sandwich bomb, how to : make elemental sulfur (sulphur).

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23 Ideas for Science Experiments Using Plants

ThoughtCo / Hilary Allison

  • Cell Biology
  • Weather & Climate
  • B.A., Biology, Emory University
  • A.S., Nursing, Chattahoochee Technical College

Plants are tremendously crucial to life on earth. They are the foundation of food chains in almost every ecosystem. Plants also play a significant role in the environment by influencing climate and producing life-giving oxygen. Plant project studies allow us to learn about plant biology and potential usage for plants in other fields such as medicine, agriculture, and biotechnology. The following plant project ideas provide suggestions for topics that can be explored through experimentation.

Plant Project Ideas

  • Do magnetic fields affect plant growth?
  • Do different colors of light affect the direction of plant growth?
  • Do sounds (music, noise, etc.) affect plant growth?
  • Do different colors of light affect the rate of photosynthesis ?
  • What are the effects of acid rain on plant growth?
  • Do household detergents affect plant growth?
  • Can plants conduct electricity?
  • Does cigarette smoke affect plant growth?
  • Does soil temperature affect root growth?
  • Does caffeine affect plant growth?
  • Does water salinity affect plant growth?
  • Does artificial gravity affect seed germination?
  • Does freezing affect seed germination?
  • Does burned soil affect seed germination?
  • Does seed size affect plant height?
  • Does fruit size affect the number of seeds in the fruit?
  • Do vitamins or fertilizers promote plant growth?
  • Do fertilizers extend plant life during a drought?
  • Does leaf size affect plant transpiration rates?
  • Can plant spices inhibit bacterial growth ?
  • Do different types of artificial light affect plant growth?
  • Does soil pH affect plant growth?
  • Do carnivorous plants prefer certain insects?
  • 8th Grade Science Fair Project Ideas
  • Plant and Soil Chemistry Science Projects
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  • Middle School Science Fair Project Ideas
  • Animal Studies and School Project Ideas
  • Environmental Science Fair Projects
  • Elementary School Science Fair Projects
  • The Difference Between Control Group and Experimental Group
  • College Science Fair Projects
  • Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas
  • Magnetism Science Fair Projects
  • 9th Grade Science Fair Projects
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  • 4th Grade Science Fair Projects
  • Caffeine Science Fair Projects

Teach Beside Me

100+ Easy & FUN Science Fair Project Ideas

This post may contain affiliate links.

research project science experiment ideas

Looking for FUN   science projects for kids ? Science is one of our favorite subjects around here. I have a huge list of over 100 easy science experiments for kids. You can use these classic science fair ideas when helping your child create their next science fair project. Kids will love these fun projects and experiments!

100 Fun and Easy Science Fair Project Ideas for kids

See my Scientific Method Worksheets and Posters to help teach the process of the scientific method including these 6 steps:

  • Ask a question
  • Make a hypothesis
  • Record Data

These science fair project ideas can be used for may grade levels including elementary school aged kids, middle school aged kids and some would even work for high school. Many of these science activities are quick and easy to put together and will not break the bank either.

I divided the science fair project ideas out the best I could by topic and category for you. That way if there is a certain interest, you can find just what you are looking for. You will find science fair experiment ideas in biology, physics, chemistry, electricity, magnetism, earth science, and more!

All of these simple experiment ideas can be used in some way to create an awesome science fair project. Most are from my site, but many are from some other great bloggers! Click the links to get instructions and demonstrations on how these projects work.

Want more ideas? See also my post with 200 + Elementary STEM Projects .

Easy Energy and Physics Science Fair Projects

Kinetic Energy with Rubber Band Boats – this science project is a blast to create with kids!

Kinetic Energy- Shooting Star Spinner – This is a fun one on kinetic and potential energy

Kinetic Energy Gravity Spinner  – Do this experiment to show gravity!

Candle Seesaw Science STEM project

Perpetual Motion Candle See Saw – This is a cool way to learn about motion!

How Does a String Telephone Work?  ~Raising Life Long Learners

Which Cup Will Keep Water Cold the Longest?  ~ Really, Are you Serious?

Light Refraction Science Experiment  ~ Look We’re Learning

Heat Conduction Experiment  ~ Look We’re Learning

Color Changing Sensory Bottle  ~ The Science Kiddo

Exploring Magnetic Fields

Magnet Pendulum - STEM Experiment

Magnet Pendulum

Levitating Magnets

Train Chain Reactions

Static Electricity Slime

What are Electrolytes?

Color and Light Reflection and Refraction Experiments

Simple Machines- Gears

Light Box Magic  ~ True Aim Education

Balloon Air Pressure Experiment  ~ Darcy and Brian

Make A Giant Catapult

Technology & Mechanical Science Projects for Kids

Is it Conductive? – test different objects to see if they conduct electricity.

How to Make a Coin Battery  – use coins to power a light!

lemon battery science project for kids

How to Make a Lemon Battery – the power of lemon juice is pretty amazing.

What to Make a Dirt Battery – a battery out of dirt?  yup!

How do you Make a Potato Battery? ~from STEAM Powered Family

Story book STEM- Hydraulic Elevator science experiment

How to Make a Hydraulic Elevator ~ Make a water powered elevator

How to Make a Bubble Blower Machine

Paper Circuits – learn about circuits and electricity with this simple project.

Solar Powered Lego Car – harness the power of the sun!

Make an EASY Water Pump Sprinkler

Chemistry Science Projects for Kids With Chemical Reactions

Cabbage Juice pH Experiment – test different chemicals and substances to see their pH levels.

volcano science experiment for kids

How too Make an Erupting Volcano (with salt dough)

How Do you Clean Pennies?

Why Do Baking Soda and Vinegar React?

dry ice bubble science experiment

How to Make Dry Ice Bubbles

Does it Dissolve?

How Do you Grow Crystals? (borax crystals)

elephant toothpaste experiment for kids

Elephant Toothpaste with Two Types of Peroxide

What is Non-Newtonian Fluid?  (Oobleck Experiments)

Does it Rust? Oxidation Experiment

Rainbow Absorption

Film Canister Rockets

Blooming Paper Flowers experiment in Water

Blooming Paper Flowers

Dancing Acorns  ~ Hands-on Teaching Ideas

States of Matter Experiments – solids, liquids and gases

Rubber Bouncing Egg Experiment

Color Changing Flowers Experiment  ~ Messy Little Monster

Paper Burning Experiment  ~ Preschool Powol Packets

How to Make a Paper Mache Erupting Volcano  ~ Red Ted Art

Mentos and Soda Geysers

Anatomy Science Fair Projects

How Do Ears Work?

Human Anatomy with Play Dough

Play Dough Anatomy

Animal Digestion Experiment  ~ Schooling a Monkey

Why We Need Muscles & Bones  ~ I Can Teach My Child

How Do Lungs Work?   ~ Sciene Sparks

DNA Experiment

Earth Science and Nature Science Fair Projects

How do Earthquakes Happen ?

Can You Build a House to Resist an Earthquake?

Make your Own Crystal Rock Candy Geodes

Colored convection currents science experiment

What are Convection Currents?

Study surface tension with Water Strider Insects

How are Rainbows made?

How to Clean Dirty Water

Geology Experiment: Stalactites and Stalagmites Formation

testing water- science experiment

What’s In My Water? 

What are Shells Made of?

How Can We Stay Dry During the Rain  ~ Pink Stripey Socks

What Surfaces in my House are the Dirtiest? Mold Science

Density Experiment with different liquids, also tests buoyancy!

leaf chromatography science project for kids

Why Do Leaves Change Colors? Leaf Chromatography Experiment

Rising Tide Experiment

Soda Bottle Compost  ~ Busy Mommy Media

Build a Sun Shelter  ~ Buggy and Buddy

Hurricane Model Experiment  ~Preschool Powol Packets

Easy Condensation Experiment  – Look We’re Learning

Salt Water Density Experiment  ~ The Science Kiddo

Plant Science- Observing Bulb Growth  ~Buggy and Buddy

How to Make a Compass  ~ Parenting Chaos

Why do Pinecones Open & Close?  ~ Parenting Chaos

Leaf Transpiration science Experiment

Leaf Transpiration Experiment – how leaves breathe, use a plastic bag to collect the moisture from a tree.

Pumpkin Petri Dishes  ~ Hands-on Teaching Ideas

Rainy Day Science – learn about filtering rain water

Making a Solar Still – harness the power of the sun with this cool science experiment!

Make Your Own Human Sun Dial

How are Sedimentary Rocks & Fossils Made? 

How Do Sharks Float?  ~ Preschool Powol Packets

Square Bubbles

How to Make Square Bubbles

What Soil is Best for Growing Seeds?  ~ Schooling a Monkey

Simple Food Science Fair Project Ideas

Want a food-based science fair project?  These ideas are fun and edible, too!  Who doesn’t love learning with food?

Food Science: Make a Loaf of Bread in a Bag

Why Does Gelatin Not Set with Certain Fruits ?

What Foods will Grow the most Mold?

kitchen chemistry cake experiment

Cake Chemistry Experiment

Popcorn and Salt Science Experiment  ~ Awe Filled Homemaker

What Prevents Apples from Browning?

How to Make Plastic with Gelatin  ~ STEAM Powered Family

Melting Ice Science Experiment  ~ The Chaos and the Clutter

Pie Crust Experiment

Food Chemistry Turn Juice into Noodles! science experiment

Food Chemistry~ Turn Juice into Noodles !

Green Eggs Food Chemistry (no food coloring required!)

How Strong are Eggs?  ~ Hands-On Teaching Ideas

Make Solar S’mores

Hot Chocolate Science Experiment  ~ Creative Family Fun

Bread Mold Science Project  ~ Schooling a Monkey

Other Fun & Easy Science Project Ideas

Toilet Paper Comparisons   ~ Pink Stripey Socks

Egg Drop Challenge 

Press n’ Seal vs. Saran Wrap

Hockey Science Experiment  ~ Creative Family Fun

I hope you found an idea that will work for your little scientists next science fair project. I’d love to hear what you did and see pictures of the finished project!

Former school teacher turned homeschool mom of 4 kids. Loves creating awesome hands-on creative learning ideas to make learning engaging and memorable for all kids!

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Education Corner

40 Best Science Experiments & Projects for Middle School

Photo of author

Welcome to our curated collection of top science fair projects and experiments, perfectly tailored for the inquisitive middle schoolers. Our collection offers hands-on activities that will captivate young minds and ignite their passion for learning.

Science fairs during middle school years are less about competition and more about fostering a love for exploration, experimentation, and the thrill of the “Eureka!” moment. That’s why we have ensured that all the experiments on our list are fun and easy.

Through hands-on experimentation, students can gain a deeper understanding of scientific concepts, build confidence in their abilities, and cultivate a lifelong passion for learning.

1. Crushed Can

Crushed Can

Students will be amazed as they witness an ordinary can being transformed before their very eyes. By simply heating it and then rapidly cooling it, the can will be crushed as if by magic!

Learn more: Little Bins Little Hands

2. Water Bottle Rockets

In this engaging activity, students will have the opportunity to design, build, and launch their very own water-propelled rockets.

By adjusting variables like water level and air pressure, they’ll witness firsthand how these factors impact the rocket’s flight path and distance.

3. Cabbage Ph Indicator

Cabbage Ph Indicator

In this middle school science project, students will use red cabbage as a natural pH indicator to test the acidity or alkalinity of various household substances.

Learn more: Cabbage PH Indicator

4. Build a Solar Oven

Build a Solar Oven

By building these ingenious devices using simple materials, they will discover the incredible potential of renewable energy and its practical applications in everyday life.

Learn more: Solar Oven

5. Build a Helping Hand

Build a Helping Hand

In this captivating middle school science experiment, students will have the opportunity to construct their very own “Helping Hand” device.

Learn more: Science Buddies

6. DIY Lung Model

This captivating middle school project offers an exciting hands-on opportunity to explore the inner workings of our respiratory system.

By creating their own lung models using simple household materials, students will gain a deeper understanding of how our lungs function and the vital role they play in our bodies.

7. Flying Tea Bag

Flying Tea Bag

By harnessing the power of convection currents, students will learn about the fascinating relationship between heat and air pressure.

Learn more: Flying Tea Bag

8. Egg Float Experiment

Egg Float Experiment

In this captivating middle school science project, students will unlock the mysteries of density and water displacement while discovering the fascinating properties of eggs.

Learn more: Egg Float Experiment

9. Popsicle Stick Chain Reaction

This captivating middle school project is all about the magic of potential energy and kinetic energy. By carefully setting up a series of interlinked popsicle sticks, students will create a mesmerizing chain reaction that ripples through the entire structure.

10. How to See Sound

As they watch sound come to life through colorful visualizations, students will develop a deeper appreciation for the profound impact of sound in our daily lives.

11. Orange Peel Plate Tectonics

Orange Peel Plate Tectonics

In this captivating middle school project, students will learn about the dynamic of Earth’s crust and explore the powerful forces that shape our planet’s surface.

12. Heart Pump

Heart Pump

In this captivating middle school project, students will embark on a hands-on exploration of the human circulatory system and discover the marvels of the heart’s pumping mechanism.

Learn more: Heart Pump Model

13. Invisible Ink

Invisible Ink

By concocting their own invisible ink, students will discover the science behind chemical reactions and learn how certain substances react to reveal hidden text when exposed to heat, light, or other catalysts.

Learn more: Invisible Ink

14. DIY Grow Box

DIY Grow Box

In this captivating middle school project, students will learn the wonders of plant growth and the art of nurturing a thriving garden.

By constructing their own affordable and innovative grow boxes using simple materials, they’ll have the perfect environment to observe the magical transformation from seeds to flourishing plants.

Learn more: Easy DIY Grow Box

15. Creative Ferris Wheel

By encouraging creativity and experimentation, this engaging experiment not only promises an exciting learning experience but also fosters teamwork and critical thinking

16. Alka Seltzer Rockets

Alka Seltzer Rockets

Prepare for a high-flying adventure with the Alka Seltzer Rockets science experiment! This exciting and explosive activity is a perfect choice for middle school students eager to explore the wonders of chemical reactions and rocketry.

17. Why do Apples Turn Brown?

Through hands-on exploration, middle school students will discover the role of enzymes and oxygen in this intriguing transformation.

18. Water Bending Experiment

By understanding the principles of surface tension and cohesion, you’ll be able to create mesmerizing effects, seemingly bending water with just a piece of static material.

19. Water Clock

Water Clock

Experience the magic of timekeeping in its most ancient form with the fascinating Water Clock project! In this hands-on experiment, students will learn about history, physics, and engineering as they build their own timekeeping device using just water and a few simple materials.

Learn more: Steam Powered Family

20. Paper Ball Run Challenge

Paper Ball Run Challenge

Get ready for a thrilling and creative adventure with the Paper Ball Run Challenge! In this captivating science experiment, you’ll explore the principles of motion, gravity, and engineering as you design and build your very own paper ball run.

21. Flood Barriers

Flood Barriers

As you construct and evaluate your barriers, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of how floods occur and the importance of finding effective solutions.

Learn more: Teachers are terrific

22. Exploring the Law of Inertia Experiment Using a Fidget Spinner

Law of Inertia Experiment using a Fidget Spinner

This engaging experiment will help you unravel Sir Isaac Newton’s Law of Inertia in a fun and hands-on way. By using a fidget spinner, you’ll explore how the spinning motion persists due to inertia and how different factors can influence its behavior.

23. Air Pressure Impact on Ping Pong Balls 

By investigating the effects of air pressure on these lightweight spheres, you’ll uncover the secrets of flight, aerodynamics, and atmospheric pressure.

24. Rolling Uphill

In this experiment, you’ll witness the baffling phenomenon of a ball seemingly defying gravity by rolling uphill on a specially designed track.

25. Pick Up Ice with a String

Pick Up Ice with a String

Have you ever wondered if it’s possible to lift ice using just a simple string? In this fascinating experiment, you’ll explore the principles of heat transfer and surface tension as you attempt to defy gravity and lift ice cubes with nothing but a string.

Learn more: Pick Up Ice with a String

26. Keep a Paper Towel Dry Under Water 

Keep a Paper Towel Dry Under Water

This captivating experiment will unveil the wonders of surface tension and hydrophobicity, as you attempt to create a barrier that defies the conventional wisdom of water soaking through paper.

Learn more: Keep a Paper Towel Dry Under Water

27. Upside Down Glass of Water

Upside Down Glass of Water

This mesmerizing experiment will unravel the fascinating concept of air pressure and its influence on liquids. As you turn a glass of water upside down and observe the water’s defiance of falling out, you’ll gain insight into the powerful role of air pressure in our everyday lives.

Learn more: Upside Down Glass of Water

28. Make a Wine Glass Sing

Have you ever wondered how to turn a simple glass of wine into a musical instrument? This captivating experiment will introduce you to the fascinating concept of acoustics and how sound waves interact with liquid-filled glasses.

29. Crush a Plastic Bottle

Crush a Plastic Bottle

Are you curious about the forces at play when we compress a seemingly indestructible plastic bottle? This captivating experiment will unravel the science behind how pressure and air interact to create this astonishing effect.

Learn more: Crush a Plastic Bottle

30. Ruler Changes Size

Get ready to witness an optical illusion that will challenge your perception of reality. In this captivating experiment, you’ll explore the fascinating phenomenon of light refraction and how it can make objects appear different than they really are.

31. Egg in a Bottle

Egg in a Bottle

Have you ever wondered how to get an egg into a bottle without breaking it? This mesmerizing experiment will introduce you to the concept of air pressure and how it can be harnessed to achieve the impossible.

Learn more: Egg in a Bottle

32. Water Doesn’t Leak Out Science Experiment

Water Doesn’t Leak Out Science Experiment

This hands-on activity not only sparks curiosity and amazement but also teaches you about the properties of gases and the laws of physics.

So, get ready to be astounded and dive into the magic of science with the “Water Doesn’t Leak Out” experiment – an entertaining and enlightening adventure that will leave you thirsting for more knowledge!

Learn more: Water Science Experiment

33. Pick Up a Ball with a Jar

This captivating experiment will introduce you to the fascinating concept of air pressure and how it can create a powerful force that defies gravity.

34. Glowing Water Science

This captivating experiment will introduce you to the fascinating properties of fluorescent materials and how they interact with light.

35. Fizzy Cloud Dough

Fizzy Cloud Dough

The fizzing reaction not only adds an element of excitement but also provides a great opportunity to explore the science of chemical reactions and the release of carbon dioxide.

Learn more: Fizzy Cloud Dough

36. Underwater Magic Sand

Underwater Magic Sand

Get ready to witness the marvels of hydrophobic science and explore the secrets of this captivating underwater magic sand experiment.

Learn more: Teaching Mama Org

37. Make Bouncy Polymer Balls

This captivating experiment will take you on an exciting journey into the realm of polymers and chemical reactions.

38. Use a Crayon as a Candle

Crayon candle

This hands-on activity not only sparks curiosity and excitement but also offers a safe and educational way to explore the science of combustion and the flammability of materials.

Learn more: Crayon Candle

39. Flame Test Colors

Flame Test Colors

Not only does it spark curiosity and wonder but also deepens your understanding of the emission spectra of elements.

So, get ready to illuminate your scientific knowledge with the “Flame Test Colors” experiment – an educational and visually stunning adventure that will leave you dazzled and eager to discover more about the fascinating world of chemistry!

Learn more: Thought Co

40. Grow A Bean Plant

By planting a simple bean seed and providing it with water, sunlight, and care, you’ll witness the fascinating process of germination and watch as your bean seedling sprouts and grows.

Similar Posts:

  • 68 Best Chemistry Experiments: Learn About Chemical Reactions
  • 37 Water Science Experiments: Fun & Easy
  • Top 100 Fine Motor Skills Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

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The Homeschool Resource Room

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Engage elementary and middle school students with a research based science fair project! 10 engaging ideas for your science fair or investigative report.

Science Project Research: 10 Engaging Ideas for your Fair!

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Looking for a research science project? In this blog post, we will explore the world of research based science fair projects specifically tailored for elementary and middle school students.

Science fairs are an exciting way for young minds to delve into the world of scientific discovery, exploration, and creativity. They offer students a unique opportunity to apply critical thinking and research skills, while also having fun. The best science fair projects are often research-based, allowing students to investigate questions and hypotheses, collect data, and draw meaningful conclusions.

Engage elementary and middle school students with a research based science fair project! 10 engaging ideas for your science fair or investigative report.

The Importance of a Science Project based in Research

Before we delve into project ideas, let’s first understand why a research-based science project is so valuable for young scientists:

  • Critical Thinking Skills : Research projects require students to think critically, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments. These skills are essential for future academic success.
  • Inquiry-Based Learning : Research projects encourage students to ask questions and seek answers, fostering a sense of curiosity and lifelong learning.
  • Real-World Application : Research-based projects connect classroom learning to real-world issues, helping students understand the relevance of science in their lives.
  • Data Collection and Analysis : Students learn the importance of collecting and analyzing data, which are skills that can be applied in various subjects and professions.
  • Communication Skills : Presenting research findings at a science fair hones communication skills, allowing students to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly.

Research Science Project Ideas

Now, let’s explore some exciting and age-appropriate research-based science fair project ideas for elementary and middle school students:

1. The Effects of Light on Plant Growth :

Explore how different types of light (natural sunlight, LED, incandescent) affect the growth of plants. Students can set up an experiment with identical plants and varying light sources to measure growth over time.

2. Science Project, Research The Magic of Static Electricity :

Investigate the phenomenon of static electricity by rubbing balloons against different materials and studying how they attract or repel each other. What factors influence static electricity?

3. The Water Cycle in a Bag :

Create a mini water cycle model in a sealed plastic bag. Observe how water evaporates, condenses, and precipitates, mimicking the natural water cycle process.

4. Does Music Affect Plant Growth? :

Explore whether different genres of music can influence plant growth. Set up a controlled experiment with identical plants and varying types of music to see if they grow at different rates.

5. Science Project, Research The Science of Slime :

Unleash the fascination of chemistry by experimenting with homemade slime. Investigate how changing the proportions of ingredients like glue, borax, and water affect the consistency and texture of the slime.

6. Popsicle Bridge Strength :

Build bridges using popsicle sticks and test their strength by gradually adding weight to the bridge until it collapses. What design features make a bridge more durable?

7. What Melts Ice the Fastest? :

Examine different substances like salt, sand, and sugar to determine which one melts ice most rapidly. This project helps students understand the science behind ice removal in cold climates.

8. Paper Airplane Aerodynamics :

Investigate the principles of aerodynamics by designing different paper airplanes and testing their flight characteristics. What factors influence the distance a paper airplane can travel?

9. Science Project, Research The Five-Second Rule :

Study the validity of the “five-second rule” – the belief that dropped food is safe to eat if picked up within five seconds. What bacteria are present on different surfaces, and how quickly do they transfer to food?

10. The Mystery of Mold Growth :

Examine how different variables, such as temperature and humidity, affect the growth of mold on slices of bread. Students can also research the health implications of mold.

Science Project Research Process

To ensure the success of your research based science project, it’s important to guide students through the research process:

  • Ask a Question : Encourage students to start with a question or a hypothesis.
  • Background Research : Provide resources for students to learn more about the topic. Books, websites, and visits to the library can be helpful.
  • Experimental Design : Assist students in designing controlled experiments, ensuring they have a control group for comparison.
  • Data Collection : Teach students how to collect data accurately using tables, charts, and measurements.
  • Data Analysis : Help students analyze their data and draw meaningful conclusions.
  • Presentation : Guide students in creating a visually appealing and informative display board for the science fair.

Science Project Research Conclusion

Research-based science fair projects are an excellent way for elementary and middle school students to engage with the scientific method and develop essential life skills. By exploring topics that spark their curiosity and following a structured research process, young scientists can experience the thrill of discovery and the satisfaction of presenting their findings to peers and mentors.

These projects not only prepare students for future academic pursuits but also foster a love for science and the belief that they, too, can contribute to our collective understanding of the world. So, let’s continue to nurture the curiosity of our budding scientists and inspire them to explore the wonders of the natural world through research-based science fair projects.

Related: – Science Fair Project Ideas: 50 Fascinating Ideas! – Project Based Learning Activities: 50 Engaging Ideas! – Scientific Investigation Project Ideas: 10 Projects to Inspire

research project science experiment ideas

Ashley helps parents who want to homeschool find the resources they need to successfully teach their children. Ashley is a former teacher, current homeschooler, published author, and designer behind Circle Time with Miss Fox printables as well as the creator of this website, The Homeschool Resource Room.

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110+ Best Science Investigatory Project Topics: Dive into Science

Science Investigatory Project Topics

  • Post author By admin
  • September 29, 2023

Explore a wide range of science investigatory project topics to engage in innovative research and make significant contributions to the field.

Get ready to dive headfirst into the thrilling world of Science Investigatory Project (SIP) topics! Imagine a journey where you become a scientist, an explorer of the unknown, and a solver of real-world puzzles.

This is what SIP offers – a chance to channel your inner curiosity and creativity into the fascinating realm of science.

From unlocking the secrets of life in biology to experimenting with the wonders of chemistry, from unraveling the mysteries of the universe in physics to addressing vital environmental issues – SIP topics are your keys to a world of exploration.

In this adventure, we’ll guide you through an array of captivating SIP ideas. These topics aren’t just assignments; they’re opportunities to uncover new knowledge, make a difference, and have a blast along the way.

So, gear up for an exciting journey, as we unveil the science topics that could spark your imagination and fuel your passion for discovery. Let’s begin!

Table of Contents

What is a Science Investigatory Project?

Imagine stepping into the shoes of a scientist – asking questions, running experiments, and discovering the secrets of the world around you. That’s exactly what a Science Investigatory Project, or SIP, is all about.

At its core, a SIP is a thrilling journey of scientific exploration. It’s a project that challenges you to pick a problem, make educated guesses (that’s your hypothesis), roll up your sleeves for experiments, collect data, and connect the dots to find answers.

Here’s how it works

Step 1: the mystery.

You start with a question – something that piques your curiosity. It could be anything from “Why do plants grow towards the light?” to “What makes the sky blue?” Your SIP is your ticket to unravel these mysteries.

Step 2: The Guess

Next comes your hypothesis – a fancy word for your best guess at the answer. It’s like saying, “I think this is what’s happening, and here’s why.”

Step 3: The Detective Work

Now, it’s time for the fun part – experimenting! You set up tests, tweak variables, and observe closely. Whether you’re mixing chemicals, observing insects, or measuring temperature, you’re the scientist in charge.

Step 4: Clues and Evidence

As you experiment, you collect clues in the form of data – numbers, measurements, observations. It’s like gathering puzzle pieces.

Step 5: The “Aha!” Moment

When you analyze your data, patterns start to emerge. You connect those puzzle pieces until you have a clear picture. Does your data support your guess (hypothesis), or do you need to rethink things?

Step 6: Sharing Your Discovery

Scientists don’t keep their findings to themselves. They share them with the world. Your SIP report or presentation is your chance to do just that. You explain what you did, what you found, and why it matters.

So, why do SIPs matter? They’re not just school projects. They’re your chance to think like a scientist, ask questions like a detective, and discover like an explorer. They’re where you become the expert, the innovator, the problem-solver.

From the mysteries of biology to the wonders of chemistry and the enigmas of physics, SIPs open doors to countless adventures in science. So, what question will you ask? What mystery will you solve? Your SIP journey awaits – embrace it, and you might just uncover something amazing.

Choosing the Right SIP Topic

Choosing the right Science Investigatory Project (SIP) topic is like selecting a path for your scientific adventure. It’s a critical decision, and here’s how to make it count:

Follow Your Passion

Your SIP topic should resonate with your interests. Pick something you’re genuinely curious about. When you’re passionate, the research becomes a thrilling quest, not a chore.

Real-World Relevance

Consider how your topic connects to the real world. Can your research shed light on a problem or offer solutions? SIPs are a chance to make a tangible impact.


Be realistic about the resources at your disposal. Choose a topic that you can explore within your time frame and access to equipment. Avoid overly ambitious projects that might overwhelm you.

Originality Matters

While it’s okay to explore well-trodden paths, strive for a unique angle. What can you add to the existing knowledge? Innovative ideas often lead to exciting discoveries.

Mentor Guidance

If you’re feeling uncertain, don’t hesitate to seek guidance from teachers or mentors. They can help you refine your ideas and offer valuable insights.

Remember, your SIP topic is the compass for your scientific journey. It should excite your curiosity, have real-world significance, and be feasible within your means. So, choose wisely, and let your scientific adventure begin!

Popular Science Investigatory Project Topics

Now that we’ve established the criteria for selecting a SIP topic, let’s explore some captivating ideas across various scientific domains.

  • Investigating the Effects of Various Soil Types on Plant Growth
  • The Impact of Different Water pH Levels on Aquatic Life
  • Studying the Behavior of Insects in Response to Environmental Changes
  • Analyzing the Effect of Different Light Intensities on Photosynthesis
  • Exploring the Microbial Diversity in Different Soil Samples
  • Investigating the Antioxidant Properties of Various Fruit Extracts
  • Studying the Growth Patterns of Mold on Different Types of Food
  • Analyzing the Effects of Temperature on Enzyme Activity
  • Investigating the Impact of Pollution on the Health of Local Wildlife
  • Exploring the Relationship Between Diet and Gut Microbiota Composition
  • Developing Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products from Household Ingredients
  • Investigating the Chemical Composition of Common Food Preservatives
  • Analyzing the Effects of Different Chemical Reactions on Metal Corrosion
  • Studying the Factors Affecting the Rate of Vitamin C Degradation in Fruit Juices
  • Exploring the Chemistry Behind the Colors of Fireworks
  • Investigating the Efficiency of Various Household Water Softeners
  • Synthesizing Biodegradable Polymers from Natural Sources
  • Studying the Chemical Reactions Involved in Baking Soda and Vinegar Reactions
  • Analyzing the Impact of Acids and Bases on Tooth Enamel
  • Investigating the Chemical Composition of Different Brands of Shampoos
  • Designing and Testing a Solar-Powered Water Heater
  • Investigating the Factors Affecting the Bounce Height of Balls
  • Studying the Relationship Between Temperature and Electrical Conductivity in Materials
  • Analyzing the Efficiency of Different Insulating Materials
  • Exploring the Effects of Magnetism on Plant Growth
  • Investigating the Behavior of Sound Waves in Different Environments
  • Studying the Impact of Projectile Launch Angles on Distance
  • Analyzing the Factors Affecting the Speed of Falling Objects
  • Investigating the Reflection and Refraction of Light in Different Media
  • Exploring the Relationship Between the Length of a Pendulum and Its Period

Environmental Science

  • Analyzing the Effects of Urban Green Spaces on Air Quality
  • Investigating the Impact of Microplastics on Marine Life
  • Studying the Relationship Between Temperature and Ocean Acidification
  • Exploring the Effects of Deforestation on Local Ecosystems
  • Investigating the Factors Contributing to Soil Erosion in a Watershed
  • Analyzing the Impact of Noise Pollution on Wildlife Behavior
  • Studying the Relationship Between Temperature and Ice Melt Rates
  • Investigating the Effect of Urbanization on Local Bird Populations
  • Exploring the Impact of Air Pollution on Human Health in Urban Areas
  • Analyzing the Biodiversity of Insects in Urban vs. Rural Environments

Social Sciences

  • Analyzing the Impact of Social Media Use on Teenagers’ Mental Health
  • Investigating the Factors Influencing Online Shopping Behavior
  • Studying the Effects of Different Teaching Methods on Student Engagement
  • Analyzing the Impact of Parenting Styles on Children’s Academic Performance
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Music Preferences and Stress Levels
  • Exploring the Factors Contributing to Workplace Stress and Burnout
  • Studying the Effects of Socioeconomic Status on Access to Healthcare
  • Analyzing the Factors Influencing Voting Behavior in Local Elections
  • Investigating the Impact of Advertising on Consumer Purchasing Decisions
  • Exploring the Effects of Cultural Diversity on Team Performance in the Workplace

These SIP topics offer a wide range of research opportunities for students in biology, chemistry, physics, and environmental science. Students can choose topics that align with their interests and contribute to their understanding of the natural world.

Conducting Your SIP

So, you’ve picked an exciting Science Investigatory Project (SIP) topic and you’re all set to dive into the world of scientific exploration. But how do you go from a brilliant idea to conducting your own experiments? Let’s break it down into easy steps:

Step 1: Dive into Research

Before you start mixing chemicals or setting up experiments, it’s time for some detective work. Dive into research! What’s already out there about your topic? Books, articles, websites – explore them all. This background study gives you the superpower of knowledge before you even start.

Step 2: Hypothesize Away!

With all that newfound wisdom, formulate a hypothesis. Don your scientist’s hat and make an educated guess about what you think will happen during your experiments. It’s like making a bet with science itself!

Step 3: Time for Action

Now comes the fun part. Design your experiments. What materials do you need? What steps should you follow? Imagine you’re a mad scientist with a plan! Then, go ahead and conduct your experiments. Be precise, follow your plan, and observe like Sherlock.

Step 4: Collect That Data

During your experiments, be a data ninja. Record everything. Measurements, observations, weird surprises – they’re all clues! The more detailed your notes, the better.

Step 5: Decode Your Findings

Time to put on your detective’s hat again. What do your data and observations tell you? Look for patterns, anomalies, and secrets your experiments are revealing. This is where the real magic happens.

Step 6: The Big Reveal

Now, reveal the grand finale – your conclusions! Did your experiments support your hypothesis, or did they throw you a curveball? Discuss what your findings mean and why they matter. It’s like solving the mystery in a thrilling novel.

Step 7: Your SIP Report

Finally, put it all together in your SIP report. Think of it as your scientific storybook. Share your journey with the world. Start with the introduction, add in your methodology, sprinkle your results and discussions, and wrap it up with a conclusion that leaves your readers in awe.

Remember, this isn’t just about science; it’s about your adventure in discovering the unknown. Have fun, be curious, and let your inner scientist shine!

What is a good topic for an investigatory project?

A good topic for an investigatory project depends on your interests and the resources available to you. Here are some broad categories and potential topics to consider:

  • The Impact of Different Fertilizers on Plant Growth
  • Investigating the Effect of Air Pollution on Local Plant Life
  • Analyzing the Quality of Drinking Water from Various Sources
  • Studying the Growth of Microorganisms in Different Water Types
  • Creating Biodegradable Plastics from Natural Materials
  • Investigating the Chemical Composition of Household Cleaning Products
  • Analyzing the Effects of Different Cooking Oils on Food Nutrition
  • Testing the pH Levels of Various Household Substances
  • Studying the Behavior of Ants in Response to Different Food Types
  • Investigating the Impact of Light Exposure on Seed Germination
  • Analyzing the Effects of Different Music Types on Plant Growth
  • Designing and Testing a Simple Wind Turbine
  • Investigating the Relationship Between Temperature and Electrical Conductivity in Materials
  • Studying the Behavior of Different Types of Pendulums
  • Analyzing the Factors Affecting the Efficiency of Solar Panels
  • Analyzing the Impact of Social Media Use on Teenagers’ Sleep Patterns
  • Investigating the Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior in Online Shopping
  • Studying the Effects of Different Teaching Methods on Student Learning
  • Analyzing the Relationship Between Music Preferences and Mood

Computer Science and Technology

  • Developing a Smartphone App for Personal Productivity
  • Investigating the Factors Affecting Wi-Fi Signal Strength in Different Locations
  • Analyzing the Impact of Screen Time on Productivity and Well-being
  • Studying the Efficiency of Different Coding Languages in Software Development

When choosing a topic, consider your interests, available resources, and the potential impact of your project. It’s essential to select a topic that excites you and allows you to conduct meaningful research.

Additionally, check with your school or instructor for any specific guidelines or requirements for your investigatory project.


What should I do in a science investigatory project?

So, you’re all set to embark on a thrilling adventure known as a Science Investigatory Project (SIP). But where do you start, and what should you be doing? Here’s your guide to diving headfirst into the world of scientific exploration:

Choose a Topic That Sparks Your Interest

Begin by picking a topic that genuinely excites you. It should be something you’re curious about, like “Why do plants grow towards the light?” or “How does pollution affect local water quality?”

Unleash Your Inner Detective with Background Research

Dive into the world of books, articles, and online resources. Learn everything you can about your chosen topic. It’s like gathering clues to solve a mystery.

Craft Your Hypothesis – Your Educated Guess

Formulate a hypothesis. Think of it as your scientific prediction. What do you think will happen when you investigate your question? Make an educated guess and write it down.

Plan Your Scientific Experiments

Now, let’s get hands-on! Plan your experiments. What materials will you need? What steps will you follow? Imagine you’re a mad scientist with a plan to uncover the secrets of the universe!

Collect Data – Be a Data Ninja

During your experiments, be a data ninja! Record everything meticulously. Measurements, observations, quirky surprises – they’re all part of your data treasure trove.

Decode Your Findings – Be a Scientific Sleuth

Time to decode the clues! Analyze your data like a scientific sleuth. Look for patterns, unexpected twists, and, most importantly, what your experiments are trying to tell you.

Share Your Scientific Tale: The SIP Report

It’s time to tell your scientific tale. Create your SIP report – your storybook of science. Start with the introduction, add in your experiments, sprinkle with results, and wrap it up with a conclusion that leaves your readers in awe.

Share Your Discoveries with the World

If you can, share your SIP findings. Present your work to your classmates, at science fairs, or anywhere you can. Share your excitement about science with the world!

Remember, SIP isn’t just about following steps; it’s about your adventure in discovering the mysteries of the universe. So, stay curious, have fun, and let your inner scientist shine!

What are the best topics for investigatory project chemistry class 12?

Hey there, future chemists! It’s time to explore the fascinating world of Chemistry with some class 12 investigatory project ideas that will not only challenge your scientific skills but also pique your curiosity:

Water Wizardry

Dive into the world of H2O and analyze water samples from different sources – tap water, well water, and that bottled stuff. Let’s uncover the secrets of your hydration!

Biodiesel Bonanza

Ever wondered if you could turn cooking oil into fuel? Investigate the synthesis of biodiesel from everyday vegetable oils, and let’s see if we can power the future with French fries!

Vitamin C Showdown

Put on your lab coat and determine the vitamin C content in various fruit juices. Is your morning OJ really packed with vitamin C? Let’s find out!

Race Against Time – The Iodine Clock

Get ready to race time itself! Study the kinetics of the iodine clock reaction and see how factors like concentration and temperature affect this chemistry marvel.

Shampoo Chemistry

Let’s turn your shower into a science lab! Test the pH levels of different shampoos – are they gentle or are they acidic? Your hair deserves the best!

Heavy Metal Detectives

Investigate soils for heavy metals. Are there hidden dangers lurking beneath our feet? Let’s discover the truth and protect the environment.

Metal Makeover

Ever dreamed of turning ordinary objects into shimmering treasures? Electroplate items like coins or jewelry with various metals and unveil their magical transformations!

The Dye Chronicles

Explore the vibrant world of food dyes used in your favorite treats. What’s really behind those bright colors? Let’s uncover the secrets of our rainbow foods!

Solubility Sleuths

Unravel the mysteries of solubility! How does temperature impact the solubility of common salts? Let’s dissolve some science questions.

Perfume Alchemy

Dive into the world of fragrances! Analyze the chemical components in different perfumes and discover the magic behind your favorite scents.

Remember, the best project is one that not only challenges you but also stirs your scientific curiosity. Choose a topic that excites you, and let your chemistry adventure begin!

What are good science experiment ideas?

  • Light Dance with Plants: Imagine plants swaying to the rhythm of light! Explore how different types of light affect plant growth – from disco-like colorful LEDs to the soothing glow of natural sunlight.
  • Kitchen Warriors: Don your lab coat and investigate everyday kitchen items like garlic, honey, and vinegar as germ-fighting superheroes. Who knew your kitchen could be a battleground for bacteria?
  • Animal Extravaganza: Dive into the world of critters! Observe and report on the curious behaviors of your chosen animal buddies. It’s like being a wildlife detective in your own backyard.
  • Fizz, Pop, and Bang: Get ready for some explosive fun! Experiment with classic chemical reactions that sizzle and explode, like the volcanic eruption of baking soda and vinegar.
  • Titration Showdown: Become a master of precision with acid-base titration. Unlock the secrets of unknown solutions, like a chemistry detective solving mysteries.
  • Crystal Kingdom: Step into the magical world of crystals. Grow your own dazzling crystals and reveal how factors like temperature and concentration influence their growth.
  • Swingin’ Pendulums: Swing into action with pendulums! Investigate how factors like pendulum length and mass affect the way they sway. It’s like dancing with physics.
  • Machine Marvels: Enter the world of simple machines. Uncover the mechanical magic behind levers, pulleys, and inclined planes as you lift heavy objects with ease.
  • Electromagnet Madness: Get electrified! Build your own electromagnet and experiment with coils and currents to see how they shape magnetic fields.
  • Water Adventure: Dive into water quality testing. Collect samples from different sources and become a water detective, searching for clues about pollution and health.
  • Air Expedition: Take to the skies with your own air quality station. Discover what’s floating in the air around you, from tiny particles to invisible gases.
  • Climate Crusaders: Join the battle against climate change. Investigate how shifts in temperature and precipitation patterns impact your local ecosystem.

Earth Science

  • Rock Detectives: Grab your magnifying glass and investigate rocks and fossils in your area. It’s like traveling through time to uncover Earth’s ancient secrets.
  • Weather Watchers: Become a meteorologist with your own weather station. Predict the weather and marvel at how the atmosphere behaves around you.
  • Volcano Eruption Spectacle: Get ready for volcanic eruptions without the lava! Create a stunning volcano model and watch it come to life with your own eruptions.
  • Starry Nights: Explore the cosmos with a telescope and discover celestial wonders, from the rings of Saturn to the galaxies far, far away.
  • Moon Phases Odyssey: Join the lunar calendar club! Track the Moon’s different faces over weeks and become an expert on lunar phases.
  • Solar Eclipse Spectacle: Witness the sky’s ultimate blockbuster – a solar eclipse! Safely observe this cosmic dance with eclipse glasses and telescopes.

These science experiments are not just about learning; they’re about unleashing your inner scientist and having a blast along the way! So, pick your favorite, put on your lab coat, and let the science adventures begin!

In wrapping up our exploration of Science Investigatory Project (SIP) topics, it’s clear that we’ve uncovered a treasure trove of possibilities. These topics are more than just words on a page; they’re gateways to adventure, inquiry, and understanding.

We’ve ventured into diverse realms of science, from the secrets of plant life to the hidden chemistry of everyday items. We’ve danced with the laws of physics, delved into environmental enigmas, and probed the complexities of human behavior. These topics aren’t just ideas; they’re invitations to explore the wonders of our world.

So, as you consider your own SIP journey, let your curiosity be your compass. Pick a topic that truly intrigues you, one that keeps you awake at night with questions. Embrace the process – the experiments, the surprises, and the “Aha!” moments.

Remember, it’s not just about reaching a conclusion; it’s about the exhilarating path you take to get there. SIPs are your chance to be a scientist, an explorer, and a storyteller all at once. So, go ahead, choose your topic, embark on your adventure, and share your discoveries with the world. Science is waiting for your curiosity to light the way!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. how long does it typically take to complete a science investigatory project, the duration of an sip varies, but it generally spans a few months to a year, depending on the complexity of the topic and available resources., 2. can i work on an sip alone, or is it better to collaborate with classmates, you can choose to work on an sip individually or in a group. both approaches have their advantages, so it depends on your preference and the project’s requirements., 3. are there any age restrictions for participating in sips, sips are typically undertaken by students in middle school and high school, but there are no strict age restrictions. anyone with a passion for scientific inquiry can engage in an sip., 4. how can i find a mentor or advisor for my sip, you can seek guidance from science teachers, professors, or professionals in your chosen field. they can provide valuable insights and support throughout your sip journey., 5. where can i showcase my sip findings, you can present your sip findings at science fairs, school exhibitions, or even submit them to relevant scientific journals or conferences for broader recognition..

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23+ Science Investigatory Project Topics for Curious Minds

science investigatory project topics

Science investigatory projects are a great way for students to explore various scientific concepts and principles in a fun and engaging way. These projects allow students to apply their knowledge of scientific methods, research skills, and creativity to solve real-world problems.

If you’re looking for science investigatory project topics, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we’ll explore what science investigatory projects are, their significance, and the elements that make up a successful project. We’ll also provide a list of 23+ exciting science investigatory project topics that will surely ignite your curiosity and imagination. Also, we will discuss how you can find the right topic for your Science Investigatory Project.

What is the Science Investigatory Project?

Table of Contents

A Science Investigatory Project (SIP) is a research-based project that allows students to apply scientific methods to investigate a problem or question of interest. It is an opportunity for students to explore their curiosity and creativity while developing important skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication.

SIPs are typically done by students in high school or college, but they can also be done by younger students under the guidance of a teacher or mentor. These projects can cover a wide range of topics in various fields of science such as biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, and more.

Significance of Science Investigatory Project

science investigatory project (SIP) is a research project that allows students to explore scientific topics of their choice through hands-on experimentation and analysis. SIPs are often conducted by students in high school or college, and they provide a unique opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while also exploring areas of interest. Here are some of the significant benefits of conducting a science investigatory project:

1. Develops research skills

SIPs help students develop research skills, including gathering and analyzing data, identifying relevant sources, and synthesizing information. These skills are essential for success in college and beyond.

2. Promotes scientific inquiry

SIPs encourage students to ask questions, generate hypotheses, and design experiments to test their ideas. This process promotes scientific inquiry and helps students understand the scientific method.

3. Encourages creativity

SIPs provide students with the opportunity to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to problems. This encourages creativity and helps students develop new ways of looking at the world.

4. Enhances problem-solving skills

SIPs require students to identify problems and design solutions to address them. This process helps students develop problem-solving skills that are valuable in many fields.

5. Fosters independent learning

SIPs encourage students to take ownership of their learning and work independently. This helps students develop self-directed learning skills that are essential for success in college and beyond.

6. Prepares for college and career

SIPs help students develop skills that are essential for success in college and in many careers, including research, critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication.

7. Contributes to scientific knowledge

SIPs can contribute to the scientific knowledge base by generating new data and insights into scientific topics. This can have a significant impact on the field and can inspire future research.

Overall, science investigatory projects provide students with a unique opportunity to explore scientific topics of their choice and develop important skills that are valuable for success in many fields. By conducting a SIP, students can enhance their understanding of scientific concepts, develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and make meaningful contributions to scientific knowledge.

Here in this section, we will tell you the top 23+ science investigatory project topics for curious minds:

1. Investigating the effects of caffeine on plant growth

This project involves growing plants in different concentrations of caffeine and measuring their growth over time.

2. Investigating the effects of temperature on the rate of photosynthesis

This project involves measuring the rate of photosynthesis at different temperatures to determine the optimal temperature for plant growth.

3. Investigating the effects of different types of soil on plant growth

This project involves growing plants in different types of soil to determine which type of soil is best for plant growth.

4. Investigating the effects of music on plant growth

This project involves playing different types of music to plants and measuring their growth over time.

5. Investigating the effects of pH on enzyme activity

This project involves measuring the activity of enzymes at different pH levels to determine the optimal pH for enzyme activity.

6. Investigating the effects of different types of light on plant growth

This project involves growing plants under different types of light to determine which type of light is best for plant growth.

7. Investigating the effects of different types of fertilizer on plant growth

This project involves growing plants in different types of fertilizer to determine which type of fertilizer is best for plant growth.

8. Investigating the effects of water pollution on fish

This project involves exposing fish to different types of water pollutants and measuring their survival rate over time.

9. Investigating the effects of air pollution on plant growth

This project involves exposing plants to different types of air pollutants and measuring their growth over time.

10. Investigating the effects of different types of insulation on heat loss

This project involves measuring the rate of heat loss through different types of insulation to determine which type of insulation is most effective.

11. Investigating the effects of different types of packaging on food preservation

This project involves storing food in different types of packaging to determine which type of packaging is best for food preservation.

12. Investigating the effects of different types of cleaning products on bacteria growth

This project involves testing different types of cleaning products on bacteria growth to determine which product is most effective at killing bacteria.

13. Investigating the effects of different types of water filters on water quality

This project involves testing different types of water filters to determine which type is most effective at removing contaminants from water.

14. Investigating the effects of different types of antacids on stomach acid

This project involves testing different types of antacids on stomach acid to determine which type is most effective at neutralizing acid.

15. Investigating the effects of different types of sunscreen on UV radiation

This project involves testing different types of sunscreen to determine which type is most effective at blocking UV radiation.

16. Investigating the effects of different types of exercise on heart rate

This project involves measuring heart rate during different types of exercise to determine which type of exercise is most effective at increasing heart rate.

17. Investigating the effects of different types of food on blood sugar

This project involves testing the effects of different types of food on blood sugar levels to determine which type of food is best for managing blood sugar.

18. Investigating the effects of different types of disinfectants on bacteria growth

This project involves testing different types of disinfectants on bacteria growth to determine which disinfectant is most effective at killing bacteria.

19. Investigating the effects of different types of music on memory retention

This project involves testing the effects of different types of music on memory retention to determine which type of music is most effective at enhancing memory.

20. Investigating the effects of different types of cooking oils on cholesterol levels

This project involves testing the effects of different types of cooking oils on cholesterol levels to determine which type of oil is best for managing cholesterol.

21. Investigating the effects of different types of toothpaste on tooth decay

This project involves testing different types of toothpaste on tooth decay to determine which type is most effective at preventing tooth decay.

22. Investigating the effects of different types of preservatives on food spoilage

This project involves testing different types of preservatives on food spoilage to determine which type is most effective at preventing food spoilage.

23. Investigating the effects of different types of hand sanitizers on bacteria growth

This project involves testing different types of hand sanitizers on bacteria growth to determine which type is most effective at killing bacteria.

24. Investigating the effects of different types of music on plant growth

This project involves playing different types of music to plants and measuring their growth over time to determine which type of music is most effective at enhancing plant growth.

25. Investigating the effects of different types of exercise on muscle growth

This project involves measuring muscle growth during different types of exercise to determine which type of exercise is most effective at increasing muscle mass.

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Elements of Science Investigatory Project

A successful science investigatory project typically consists of several elements. These elements include:

1. Research question or problem statement

The project should have a clear research question or problem statement that the student is attempting to investigate.

2. Hypothesis

The project should have a clear hypothesis that the student is testing.

3. Experimental design

The project should have a clear experimental design that includes the materials and methods used to conduct the experiment.

4. Data collection and analysis

The project should include data collection and analysis methods that are appropriate for the experiment.

The project should include a clear presentation of the results of the experiment.

6. Conclusion

The project should have a clear conclusion that summarizes the findings of the experiment and discusses their significance.

How to Find Science Investigatory Project Topics

Finding the right science investigatory project topics can be challenging, but there are several ways to get started. Here are some tips for finding science investigatory project ideas:

1. Identify your interests

Start by identifying your interests in science. Do you have a particular area of science that you enjoy? What are some problems or questions in that field that you find interesting?

2. Research current events

Look for current events in science that are relevant to your interests. This can help you identify problems or questions that are currently being investigated.

3. Brainstorm with others

Talk to your friends, family, or classmates about their interests in science. Brainstorm together to come up with ideas for science investigatory projects.

4. Use online resources

There are many online resources that can help you find science investigatory project ideas. Check out science websites, blogs, and forums for ideas, or browse through science fair project databases to see what others have done in the past.

5. Consult with a teacher or mentor

If you’re still struggling to find an idea, consult with a science teacher or mentor. They can offer guidance and help you brainstorm ideas based on your interests and skill level.

How to Choose the Right Science Investigatory Project Topics

Choosing the right science investigatory project topics can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your project. Here are some tips to help you choose the right idea:

1. Choose a topic that interests you

Choose a topic that you find interesting and that you’re passionate about. This will make the project more enjoyable and motivate you to do your best.

2. Choose a topic that’s feasible

Choose a topic that’s realistic and feasible given your time, resources, and skill level. Avoid choosing a topic that’s too complex or requires expensive equipment or materials that you don’t have access to.

3. Choose a topic that’s relevant

Choose a topic that’s relevant to your community or society. This will make the project more meaningful and have a greater impact.

4. Choose a topic that’s original

Choose a topic that’s original and hasn’t been done before. This will make the project more interesting and unique.

5. Choose a topic that’s challenging

Choose a topic that’s challenging but still achievable. This will make the project more rewarding and help you develop new skills.

Significance of Choosing Science Investigatory Project Topics

Choosing the right science investigatory project topics is crucial to the success of your project. Here are some reasons why choosing the right idea is so important:

1. It determines the success of your project

Choosing the right idea can make all the difference when it comes to the success of your project. A well-chosen idea will make the project more enjoyable, more meaningful, and more likely to succeed.

2. It determines the level of engagement

Choosing the right idea will increase your level of engagement with the project. You’ll be more motivated to work on the project and more interested in the results.

3. It helps develop critical thinking skills

Choosing the right idea requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills. By choosing a challenging and original idea, you’ll develop new skills and improve existing ones.

4. It makes the project more relevant

Choosing a topic that’s relevant to your community or society will make the project more meaningful and have a greater impact.

5. It makes the project more interesting

Choosing a topic that’s interesting and unique will make the project more engaging and enjoyable.

This is the end of this post which is about science investigatory project topics. On the other hand, science investigatory projects are a great way to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills while exploring topics that interest you. With the right idea and a solid plan, you can create a successful project that has a meaningful impact on your community or society. 

By following the tips outlined in this post and exploring the 23+ science investigatory project topics provided, you’re sure to find an idea that sparks your curiosity and inspires you to explore the fascinating world of science. So, get your science on and start exploring the possibilities today!

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Science | June 15, 2020

Seventy-Five Scientific Research Projects You Can Contribute to Online

From astrophysicists to entomologists, many researchers need the help of citizen scientists to sift through immense data collections

Citizen science (mobile)

Rachael Lallensack

Former Assistant Editor, Science and Innovation

If you find yourself tired of streaming services, reading the news or video-chatting with friends, maybe you should consider becoming a citizen scientist. Though it’s true that many field research projects are paused , hundreds of scientists need your help sifting through wildlife camera footage and images of galaxies far, far away, or reading through diaries and field notes from the past.

Plenty of these tools are free and easy enough for children to use. You can look around for projects yourself on Smithsonian Institution’s citizen science volunteer page , National Geographic ’s list of projects and ’s catalog of options. Zooniverse is a platform for online-exclusive projects , and Scistarter allows you to restrict your search with parameters, including projects you can do “on a walk,” “at night” or “on a lunch break.”

To save you some time, Smithsonian magazine has compiled a collection of dozens of projects you can take part in from home.

A blue heron caught on a trail cam.

American Wildlife

If being home has given you more time to look at wildlife in your own backyard, whether you live in the city or the country, consider expanding your view, by helping scientists identify creatures photographed by camera traps. Improved battery life, motion sensors, high-resolution and small lenses have made camera traps indispensable tools for conservation.These cameras capture thousands of images that provide researchers with more data about ecosystems than ever before.

Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute’s eMammal platform , for example, asks users to identify animals for conservation projects around the country. Currently, eMammal is being used by the Woodland Park Zoo ’s Seattle Urban Carnivore Project, which studies how coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats and other animals coexist with people, and the Washington Wolverine Project, an effort to monitor wolverines in the face of climate change. Identify urban wildlife for the Chicago Wildlife Watch , or contribute to wilderness projects documenting North American biodiversity with The Wilds' Wildlife Watch in Ohio , Cedar Creek: Eyes on the Wild in Minnesota , Michigan ZoomIN , Western Montana Wildlife and Snapshot Wisconsin .

"Spend your time at home virtually exploring the Minnesota backwoods,” writes the lead researcher of the Cedar Creek: Eyes on the Wild project. “Help us understand deer dynamics, possum populations, bear behavior, and keep your eyes peeled for elusive wolves!"

A baby elephant stands between the legs of an adult elephant.

If being cooped up at home has you daydreaming about traveling, Snapshot Safari has six active animal identification projects. Try eyeing lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, elephants, giraffes, baobab trees and over 400 bird species from camera trap photos taken in South African nature reserves, including De Hoop Nature Reserve and Madikwe Game Reserve .

With South Sudan DiversityCam , researchers are using camera traps to study biodiversity in the dense tropical forests of southwestern South Sudan. Part of the Serenegeti Lion Project, Snapshot Serengeti needs the help of citizen scientists to classify millions of camera trap images of species traveling with the wildebeest migration.

Classify all kinds of monkeys with Chimp&See . Count, identify and track giraffes in northern Kenya . Watering holes host all kinds of wildlife, but that makes the locales hotspots for parasite transmission; Parasite Safari needs volunteers to help figure out which animals come in contact with each other and during what time of year.

Mount Taranaki in New Zealand is a volcanic peak rich in native vegetation, but native wildlife, like the North Island brown kiwi, whio/blue duck and seabirds, are now rare—driven out by introduced predators like wild goats, weasels, stoats, possums and rats. Estimate predator species compared to native wildlife with Taranaki Mounga by spotting species on camera trap images.

The Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) Instant Wild app has a dozen projects showcasing live images and videos of wildlife around the world. Look for bears, wolves and lynx in Croatia ; wildcats in Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula ; otters in Hampshire, England ; and both black and white rhinos in the Lewa-Borana landscape in Kenya.

An image featuring marine life from Invader ID.

Under the Sea

Researchers use a variety of technologies to learn about marine life and inform conservation efforts. Take, for example, Beluga Bits , a research project focused on determining the sex, age and pod size of beluga whales visiting the Churchill River in northern Manitoba, Canada. With a bit of training, volunteers can learn how to differentiate between a calf, a subadult (grey) or an adult (white)—and even identify individuals using scars or unique pigmentation—in underwater videos and images. Beluga Bits uses a “ beluga boat ,” which travels around the Churchill River estuary with a camera underneath it, to capture the footage and collect GPS data about the whales’ locations.

Many of these online projects are visual, but Manatee Chat needs citizen scientists who can train their ear to decipher manatee vocalizations. Researchers are hoping to learn what calls the marine mammals make and when—with enough practice you might even be able to recognize the distinct calls of individual animals.

Several groups are using drone footage to monitor seal populations. Seals spend most of their time in the water, but come ashore to breed. One group, Seal Watch , is analyzing time-lapse photography and drone images of seals in the British territory of South Georgia in the South Atlantic. A team in Antarctica captured images of Weddell seals every ten minutes while the seals were on land in spring to have their pups. The Weddell Seal Count project aims to find out what threats—like fishing and climate change—the seals face by monitoring changes in their population size. Likewise, the Año Nuevo Island - Animal Count asks volunteers to count elephant seals, sea lions, cormorants and more species on a remote research island off the coast of California.

With Floating Forests , you’ll sift through 40 years of satellite images of the ocean surface identifying kelp forests, which are foundational for marine ecosystems, providing shelter for shrimp, fish and sea urchins. A project based in southwest England, Seagrass Explorer , is investigating the decline of seagrass beds. Researchers are using baited cameras to spot commercial fish in these habitats as well as looking out for algae to study the health of these threatened ecosystems. Search for large sponges, starfish and cold-water corals on the deep seafloor in Sweden’s first marine park with the Koster seafloor observatory project.

The Smithsonian Environmental Research Center needs your help spotting invasive species with Invader ID . Train your eye to spot groups of organisms, known as fouling communities, that live under docks and ship hulls, in an effort to clean up marine ecosystems.

If art history is more your speed, two Dutch art museums need volunteers to start “ fishing in the past ” by analyzing a collection of paintings dating from 1500 to 1700. Each painting features at least one fish, and an interdisciplinary research team of biologists and art historians wants you to identify the species of fish to make a clearer picture of the “role of ichthyology in the past.”

Pictured is a Zerene eurydice specimen, or California dogface butterfly, caught in 1951.

Interesting Insects

Notes from Nature is a digitization effort to make the vast resources in museums’ archives of plants and insects more accessible. Similarly, page through the University of California Berkeley’s butterfly collection on CalBug to help researchers classify these beautiful critters. The University of Michigan Museum of Zoology has already digitized about 300,000 records, but their collection exceeds 4 million bugs. You can hop in now and transcribe their grasshopper archives from the last century . Parasitic arthropods, like mosquitos and ticks, are known disease vectors; to better locate these critters, the Terrestrial Parasite Tracker project is working with 22 collections and institutions to digitize over 1.2 million specimens—and they’re 95 percent done . If you can tolerate mosquito buzzing for a prolonged period of time, the HumBug project needs volunteers to train its algorithm and develop real-time mosquito detection using acoustic monitoring devices. It’s for the greater good!

Pelicans coming in for landing on PELIcam.

For the Birders

Birdwatching is one of the most common forms of citizen science . Seeing birds in the wilderness is certainly awe-inspiring, but you can birdwatch from your backyard or while walking down the sidewalk in big cities, too. With Cornell University’s eBird app , you can contribute to bird science at any time, anywhere. (Just be sure to remain a safe distance from wildlife—and other humans, while we social distance ). If you have safe access to outdoor space—a backyard, perhaps—Cornell also has a NestWatch program for people to report observations of bird nests. Smithsonian’s Migratory Bird Center has a similar Neighborhood Nest Watch program as well.

Birdwatching is easy enough to do from any window, if you’re sheltering at home, but in case you lack a clear view, consider these online-only projects. Nest Quest currently has a robin database that needs volunteer transcribers to digitize their nest record cards.

You can also pitch in on a variety of efforts to categorize wildlife camera images of burrowing owls , pelicans , penguins (new data coming soon!), and sea birds . Watch nest cam footage of the northern bald ibis or greylag geese on NestCams to help researchers learn about breeding behavior.

Or record the coloration of gorgeous feathers across bird species for researchers at London’s Natural History Museum with Project Plumage .

A pressed Wister's coralroot below a letter and sketch of the flower found in Oct. 1937

Pretty Plants

If you’re out on a walk wondering what kind of plants are around you, consider downloading Leafsnap , an electronic field guide app developed by Columbia University, the University of Maryland and the Smithsonian Institution. The app has several functions. First, it can be used to identify plants with its visual recognition software. Secondly, scientists can learn about the “ the ebb and flow of flora ” from geotagged images taken by app users.

What is older than the dinosaurs, survived three mass extinctions and still has a living relative today? Ginko trees! Researchers at Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History are studying ginko trees and fossils to understand millions of years of plant evolution and climate change with the Fossil Atmospheres project . Using Zooniverse, volunteers will be trained to identify and count stomata, which are holes on a leaf’s surface where carbon dioxide passes through. By counting these holes, or quantifying the stomatal index, scientists can learn how the plants adapted to changing levels of carbon dioxide. These results will inform a field experiment conducted on living trees in which a scientist is adjusting the level of carbon dioxide for different groups.

Help digitize and categorize millions of botanical specimens from natural history museums, research institutions and herbaria across the country with the Notes from Nature Project . Did you know North America is home to a variety of beautiful orchid species? Lend botanists a handby typing handwritten labels on pressed specimens or recording their geographic and historic origins for the New York Botanical Garden’s archives. Likewise, the Southeastern U.S. Biodiversity project needs assistance labeling pressed poppies, sedums, valerians, violets and more. Groups in California , Arkansas , Florida , Texas and Oklahoma all invite citizen scientists to partake in similar tasks.

A group of Harvard computers and astronomers.

Historic Women in Astronomy

Become a transcriber for Project PHaEDRA and help researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics preserve the work of Harvard’s women “computers” who revolutionized astronomy in the 20th century. These women contributed more than 130 years of work documenting the night sky, cataloging stars, interpreting stellar spectra, counting galaxies, and measuring distances in space, according to the project description .

More than 2,500 notebooks need transcription on Project PhaEDRA - Star Notes . You could start with Annie Jump Cannon , for example. In 1901, Cannon designed a stellar classification system that astronomers still use today. Cecilia Payne discovered that stars are made primarily of hydrogen and helium and can be categorized by temperature. Two notebooks from Henrietta Swan Leavitt are currently in need of transcription. Leavitt, who was deaf, discovered the link between period and luminosity in Cepheid variables, or pulsating stars, which “led directly to the discovery that the Universe is expanding,” according to her bio on Star Notes .

Volunteers are also needed to transcribe some of these women computers’ notebooks that contain references to photographic glass plates . These plates were used to study space from the 1880s to the 1990s. For example, in 1890, Williamina Flemming discovered the Horsehead Nebula on one of these plates . With Star Notes, you can help bridge the gap between “modern scientific literature and 100 years of astronomical observations,” according to the project description . Star Notes also features the work of Cannon, Leavitt and Dorrit Hoffleit , who authored the fifth edition of the Bright Star Catalog, which features 9,110 of the brightest stars in the sky.

A microscopic image of white blood cells

Microscopic Musings

Electron microscopes have super-high resolution and magnification powers—and now, many can process images automatically, allowing teams to collect an immense amount of data. Francis Crick Institute’s Etch A Cell - Powerhouse Hunt project trains volunteers to spot and trace each cell’s mitochondria, a process called manual segmentation. Manual segmentation is a major bottleneck to completing biological research because using computer systems to complete the work is still fraught with errors and, without enough volunteers, doing this work takes a really long time.

For the Monkey Health Explorer project, researchers studying the social behavior of rhesus monkeys on the tiny island Cayo Santiago off the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico need volunteers to analyze the monkeys’ blood samples. Doing so will help the team understand which monkeys are sick and which are healthy, and how the animals’ health influences behavioral changes.

Using the Zooniverse’s app on a phone or tablet, you can become a “ Science Scribbler ” and assist researchers studying how Huntington disease may change a cell’s organelles. The team at the United Kingdom's national synchrotron , which is essentially a giant microscope that harnesses the power of electrons, has taken highly detailed X-ray images of the cells of Huntington’s patients and needs help identifying organelles, in an effort to see how the disease changes their structure.

Oxford University’s Comprehensive Resistance Prediction for Tuberculosis: an International Consortium—or CRyPTIC Project , for short, is seeking the aid of citizen scientists to study over 20,000 TB infection samples from around the world. CRyPTIC’s citizen science platform is called Bash the Bug . On the platform, volunteers will be trained to evaluate the effectiveness of antibiotics on a given sample. Each evaluation will be checked by a scientist for accuracy and then used to train a computer program, which may one day make this process much faster and less labor intensive.

12 images from the platform showcasing different galactic formations

Out of This World

If you’re interested in contributing to astronomy research from the comfort and safety of your sidewalk or backyard, check out Globe at Night . The project monitors light pollution by asking users to try spotting constellations in the night sky at designated times of the year . (For example, Northern Hemisphere dwellers should look for the Bootes and Hercules constellations from June 13 through June 22 and record the visibility in Globe at Night’s app or desktop report page .)

For the amateur astrophysicists out there, the opportunities to contribute to science are vast. NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission is asking for volunteers to search for new objects at the edges of our solar system with the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 project .

Galaxy Zoo on Zooniverse and its mobile app has operated online citizen science projects for the past decade. According to the project description, there are roughly one hundred billion galaxies in the observable universe. Surprisingly, identifying different types of galaxies by their shape is rather easy. “If you're quick, you may even be the first person to see the galaxies you're asked to classify,” the team writes.

With Radio Galaxy Zoo: LOFAR , volunteers can help identify supermassive blackholes and star-forming galaxies. Galaxy Zoo: Clump Scout asks users to look for young, “clumpy” looking galaxies, which help astronomers understand galaxy evolution.

If current events on Earth have you looking to Mars, perhaps you’d be interested in checking out Planet Four and Planet Four: Terrains —both of which task users with searching and categorizing landscape formations on Mars’ southern hemisphere. You’ll scroll through images of the Martian surface looking for terrain types informally called “spiders,” “baby spiders,” “channel networks” and “swiss cheese.”

Gravitational waves are telltale ripples in spacetime, but they are notoriously difficult to measure. With Gravity Spy , citizen scientists sift through data from Laser Interferometer Gravitational­-Wave Observatory, or LIGO , detectors. When lasers beamed down 2.5-mile-long “arms” at these facilities in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington are interrupted, a gravitational wave is detected. But the detectors are sensitive to “glitches” that, in models, look similar to the astrophysical signals scientists are looking for. Gravity Spy teaches citizen scientists how to identify fakes so researchers can get a better view of the real deal. This work will, in turn, train computer algorithms to do the same.

Similarly, the project Supernova Hunters needs volunteers to clear out the “bogus detections of supernovae,” allowing researchers to track the progression of actual supernovae. In Hubble Space Telescope images, you can search for asteroid tails with Hubble Asteroid Hunter . And with Planet Hunters TESS , which teaches users to identify planetary formations, you just “might be the first person to discover a planet around a nearby star in the Milky Way,” according to the project description.

Help astronomers refine prediction models for solar storms, which kick up dust that impacts spacecraft orbiting the sun, with Solar Stormwatch II. Thanks to the first iteration of the project, astronomers were able to publish seven papers with their findings.

With Mapping Historic Skies , identify constellations on gorgeous celestial maps of the sky covering a span of 600 years from the Adler Planetarium collection in Chicago. Similarly, help fill in the gaps of historic astronomy with Astronomy Rewind , a project that aims to “make a holistic map of images of the sky.”

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Rachael Lallensack

Rachael Lallensack | READ MORE

Rachael Lallensack is the former assistant web editor for science and innovation at Smithsonian .

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Ideas for Psychology Experiments

Inspiration for psychology experiments is all around if you know where to look

Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

research project science experiment ideas

Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.

research project science experiment ideas

Psychology experiments can run the gamut from simple to complex. Students are often expected to design—and sometimes perform—their own experiments, but finding great experiment ideas can be a little challenging. Fortunately, inspiration is all around if you know where to look—from your textbooks to the questions that you have about your own life.

Always discuss your idea with your instructor before beginning your experiment—particularly if your research involves human participants. (Note: You'll probably need to submit a proposal and get approval from your school's institutional review board.)

At a Glance

If you are looking for an idea for psychology experiments, start your search early and make sure you have the time you need. Doing background research, choosing an experimental design, and actually performing your experiment can be quite the process. Keep reading to find some great psychology experiment ideas that can serve as inspiration. You can then find ways to adapt these ideas for your own assignments.

15 Ideas for Psychology Experiments

Most of these experiments can be performed easily at home or at school. That said, you will need to find out if you have to get approval from your teacher or from an institutional review board before getting started.

The following are some questions you could attempt to answer as part of a psychological experiment:

  • Are people really able to "feel like someone is watching" them ? Have some participants sit alone in a room and have them note when they feel as if they are being watched. Then, see how those results line up to your own record of when participants were actually being observed.
  • Can certain colors improve learning ? You may have heard teachers or students claim that printing text on green paper helps students read better, or that yellow paper helps students perform better on math exams. Design an experiment to see whether using a specific color of paper helps improve students' scores on math exams.
  • Can color cause physiological reactions ? Perform an experiment to determine whether certain colors cause a participant's blood pressure to rise or fall.
  • Can different types of music lead to different physiological responses ? Measure the heart rates of participants in response to various types of music to see if there is a difference.
  • Can smelling one thing while tasting another impact a person's ability to detect what the food really is ? Have participants engage in a blind taste test where the smell and the food they eat are mismatched. Ask the participants to identify the food they are trying and note how accurate their guesses are.
  • Could a person's taste in music offer hints about their personality ? Previous research has suggested that people who prefer certain styles of music tend to exhibit similar  personality traits. Administer a personality assessment and survey participants about their musical preferences and examine your results.
  • Do action films cause people to eat more popcorn and candy during a movie ? Have one group of participants watch an action movie, and another group watch a slow-paced drama. Compare how much popcorn is consumed by each group.
  • Do colors really impact moods ? Investigate to see if the  color blue makes people feel calm, or if the color red leaves them feeling agitated.
  • Do creative people see  optical illusions  differently than more analytical people ? Have participants complete an assessment to measure their level of creative thinking. Then ask participants to look at optical illusions and note what they perceive.
  • Do people rate individuals with perfectly symmetrical faces as more beautiful than those with asymmetrical faces ? Create sample cards with both symmetrical and asymmetrical faces and ask participants to rate the attractiveness of each picture.
  • Do people who use social media exhibit signs of addiction ? Have participants complete an assessment of their social media habits, then have them complete an addiction questionnaire.
  • Does eating breakfast help students do better in school ? According to some, eating breakfast can have a beneficial influence on school performance. For your experiment, you could compare the test scores of students who ate breakfast to those who did not.
  • Does sex influence short-term memory ? You could arrange an experiment that tests whether men or women are better at remembering specific types of information.
  • How likely are people to conform in groups ? Try this experiment to see what percentage of people are likely to conform . Enlist confederates to give the wrong response to a math problem and then see if the participants defy or conform to the rest of the group.
  • How much information can people store in short-term memory ? Have participants study a word list and then test their memory. Try different versions of the experiment to see which memorization strategies, like chunking or mnemonics, are most effective.

Once you have an idea, the next step is to learn more about  how to conduct a psychology experiment .

Psychology Experiments on Your Interests

If none of the ideas in the list above grabbed your attention, there are other ways to find inspiration for your psychology experiments.

How do you come up with good psychology experiments? One of the most effective approaches is to look at the various problems, situations, and questions that you are facing in your own life.

You can also think about the things that interest you. Start by considering the topics you've studied in class thus far that have really piqued your interest. Then, whittle the list down to two or three major areas within psychology that seem to interest you the most.

From there, make a list of questions you have related to the topic. Any of these questions could potentially serve as an experiment idea.

Use Textbooks for Inspiration for Psychology Experiments

Your psychology textbooks are another excellent source you can turn to for experiment ideas. Choose the chapters or sections that you find particularly interesting—perhaps it's a chapter on  social psychology  or a section on child development.

Start by browsing the experiments discussed in your book. Then think of how you could devise an experiment related to some of the questions your text asks. The reference section at the back of your textbook can also serve as a great source for additional reference material.

Discuss Psychology Experiments with Other Students

It can be helpful to brainstorm with your classmates to gather outside ideas and perspectives. Get together with a group of students and make a list of interesting ideas, subjects, or questions you have.

The information from your brainstorming session can serve as a basis for your experiment topic. It's also a great way to get feedback on your own ideas and to determine if they are worth exploring in greater depth.

Study Classic Psychology Experiments

Taking a closer look at a classic psychology experiment can be an excellent way to trigger some unique and thoughtful ideas of your own. To start, you could try conducting your own version of a famous experiment or even updating a classic experiment to assess a slightly different question.

Famous Psychology Experiments

Examples of famous psychology experiments that might be a source of further questions you'd like to explore include:

  • Marshmallow test experiments
  • Little Albert experiment
  • Hawthorne effect experiments
  • Bystander effect experiments
  • Robbers Cave experiments
  • Halo effect experiments
  • Piano stairs experiment
  • Cognitive dissonance experiments
  • False memory experiments

You might not be able to replicate an experiment exactly (lots of classic psychology experiments have ethical issues that would preclude conducting them today), but you can use well-known studies as a basis for inspiration.

Review the Literature on Psychology Experiments

If you have a general idea about what topic you'd like to experiment, you might want to spend a little time doing a brief literature review before you start designing. In other words, do your homework before you invest too much time on an idea.

Visit your university library and find some of the best books and articles that cover the particular topic you are interested in. What research has already been done in this area? Are there any major questions that still need to be answered? What were the findings of previous psychology experiments?

Tackling this step early will make the later process of writing the introduction  to your  lab report  or research paper much easier.

Ask Your Instructor About Ideas for Psychology Experiments

If you have made a good effort to come up with an idea on your own but you're still feeling stumped, it might help to talk to your instructor. Ask for pointers on finding a good experiment topic for the specific assignment. You can also ask them to suggest some other ways you could generate ideas or inspiration.

While it can feel intimidating to ask for help, your instructor should be more than happy to provide some guidance. Plus, they might offer insights that you wouldn't have gathered on your own. Your instructor probably has lots of ideas for psychology experiments that would be worth exploring.

If you need to design or conduct psychology experiments, there are plenty of great ideas (both old and new) for you to explore. Consider an idea from the list above or turn some of your own questions about the human mind and behavior into an experiment.

Before you dive in, make sure that you are observing the guidelines provided by your instructor and always obtain the appropriate permission before conducting any research with human or animal subjects.

Frequently Asked Questions

Finding a topic for a research paper is much like finding an idea for an experiment. Start by considering your own interests, or browse though your textbooks for inspiration. You might also consider looking at online news stories or journal articles as a source of inspiration.

Three of the most classic social psychology experiments are:

  • The Asch Conformity Experiment : This experiment involved seeing if people would conform to group pressure when rating the length of a line.
  • The Milgram Obedience Experiment : This experiment involved ordering participants to deliver what they thought was a painful shock to another person.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment : This experiment involved students replicating a prison environment to see how it would affect participant behavior. 

Jakovljević T, Janković MM, Savić AM, et al. The effect of colour on reading performance in children, measured by a sensor hub: From the perspective of gender .  PLoS One . 2021;16(6):e0252622. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0252622

Greenberg DM, et al. Musical preferences are linked to cognitive styles . PLoS One. 2015;10(7). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0131151

Kurt S, Osueke KK. The effects of color on the moods of college students . Sage. 2014;4(1). doi:10.1177/2158244014525423

Hartline-Grafton H, Levin M. Breakfast and School-Related Outcomes in Children and Adolescents in the US: A Literature Review and its Implications for School Nutrition Policy .  Curr Nutr Rep . 2022;11(4):653-664. doi:10.1007/s13668-022-00434-z

By Kendra Cherry, MSEd Kendra Cherry, MS, is a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, psychology educator, and author of the "Everything Psychology Book."

Explore Psychology

Psychology Experiment Ideas

Categories Psychology Education

Quick Ideas | Experiment Ideas | Designing Your Experiment | Types of Research

If you are taking a psychology class, you might at some point be asked to design an imaginary experiment or perform an experiment or study. The idea you ultimately choose to use for your psychology experiment may depend upon the number of participants you can find, the time constraints of your project, and limitations in the materials available to you.

Consider these factors before deciding which psychology experiment idea might work for your project.

This article discusses some ideas you might try if you need to perform a psychology experiment or study.

Table of Contents

A Quick List of Experiment Ideas

If you are looking for a quick experiment idea that would be easy to tackle, the following might be some research questions you want to explore:

  • How many items can people hold in short-term memory ?
  • Are people with a Type A personality more stressed than those with a Type B personality?
  • Does listening to upbeat music increase heart rate?
  • Are men or women better at detecting emotions ?
  • Are women or men more likely to experience imposter syndrome ?
  • Will students conform if others in the group all share an opinion that is different from their own?
  • Do people’s heartbeat or breathing rates change in response to certain colors?
  • How much do people rely on nonverbal communication to convey information in a conversation?
  • Do people who score higher on measures of emotional intelligence also score higher on measures of overall well-being?
  • Do more successful people share certain personality traits ?

Most of the following ideas are easily conducted with a small group of participants, who may likely be your classmates. Some of the psychology experiment or study ideas you might want to explore:

Sleep and Short-Term Memory

Does sleep deprivation have an impact on short-term memory ?

Ask participants how much sleep they got the night before and then conduct a task to test short-term memory for items on a list.

Social Media and Mental Health

Is social media usage linked to anxiety or depression?

Ask participants about how many hours a week they use social media sites and then have them complete a depression and anxiety assessment.

Procrastination and Stress

How does procrastination impact student stress levels?

Ask participants about how frequently they procrastinate on their homework and then have them complete an assessment looking at their current stress levels.

Caffeine and Cognition

How does caffeine impact performance on a Stroop test?

In the Stroop test , participants are asked to tell the color of a word, rather than just reading the word. Have a control group consume no caffeine and then complete a Stroop test, and then have an experimental group consume caffeine before completing the same test. Compare results.

Color and Memory

Does the color of text have any impact on memory?

Randomly assign participants to two groups. Have one group memorize words written in black ink for two minutes. Have the second group memorize the same words for the same amount of time, but instead written in red ink. Compare the results.

Weight Bias

How does weight bias influence how people are judged by others?

Find pictures of models in a magazine who look similar, including similar hair and clothing, but who differ in terms of weight. Have participants look at the two models and then ask them to identify which one they think is smarter, wealthier, kinder, and healthier.

Assess how each model was rated and how weight bias may have influenced how they were described by participants.

Music and Exercise

Does music have an effect on how hard people work out?

Have people listen to different styles of music while jogging on a treadmill and measure their walking speed, heart rate, and workout length.

The Halo Effect

How does the Halo Effect influence how people see others?

Show participants pictures of people and ask them to rate the photos in terms of how attractive, kind, intelligent, helpful, and successful the people in the images are.

How does the attractiveness of the person in the photo correlate to how participants rate other qualities? Are attractive people more likely to be perceived as kind, funny, and intelligent?

Eyewitness Testimony

How reliable is eyewitness testimony?

Have participants view video footage of a car crash. Ask some participants to describe how fast the cars were going when they “hit into” each other. Ask other participants to describe how fast the cars were going when they “smashed into” each other.

Give the participants a memory test a few days later and ask them to recall if they saw any broken glass at the accident scene. Compare to see if those in the “smashed into” condition were more likely to report seeing broken glass than those in the “hit into” group.

The experiment is a good illustration of how easily false memories can be triggered.

Simple Psychology Experiment Ideas

If you are looking for a relatively simple psychology experiment idea, here are a few options you might consider.

The Stroop Effect

This classic experiment involves presenting participants with words printed in different colors and asking them to name the color of the ink rather than read the word. Students can manipulate the congruency of the word and the color to test the Stroop effect.

Memory Recall

Students can design a simple experiment to test memory recall by presenting participants with a list of items to remember and then asking them to recall the items after a delay. Students can manipulate the length of the delay or the type of encoding strategy used to see the effect on recall.

Social Conformity

Students can test social conformity by presenting participants with a simple task and manipulating the responses of confederates to see if the participant conforms to the group response.

Selective Attention

Students can design an experiment to test selective attention by presenting participants with a video or audio stimulus and manipulating the presence or absence of a distracting stimulus to see the effect on attention.

Implicit Bias

Students can test implicit bias by presenting participants with a series of words or images and measuring their response time to categorize the stimuli into different categories.

The Primacy/Recency Effect

Students can test the primacy /recency effect by presenting participants with a list of items to remember and manipulating the order of the items to see the effect on recall.

Sleep Deprivation

Students can test the effect of sleep deprivation on cognitive performance by comparing the performance of participants who have had a full night’s sleep to those who have been deprived of sleep.

These are just a few examples of simple psychology experiment ideas for students. The specific experiment will depend on the research question and resources available.

Elements of a Good Psychology Experiment

Finding psychology experiment ideas is not necessarily difficult, but finding a good experimental or study topic that is right for your needs can be a little tough. You need to find something that meets the guidelines and, perhaps most importantly, is approved by your instructor.

Requirements may vary, but you need to ensure that your experiment, study, or survey is:

  • Easy to set up and carry out
  • Easy to find participants willing to take part
  • Free of any ethical concerns

In some cases, you may need to present your idea to your school’s institutional review board before you begin to obtain permission to work with human participants.

Consider Your Own Interests

At some point in your life, you have likely pondered why people behave in certain ways. Or wondered why certain things seem to always happen. Your own interests can be a rich source of ideas for your psychology experiments.

As you are trying to come up with a topic or hypothesis, try focusing on the subjects that fascinate you the most. If you have a particular interest in a topic, look for ideas that answer questions about the topic that you and others may have. Examples of topics you might choose to explore include:

  • Development
  • Personality
  • Social behavior

This can be a fun opportunity to investigate something that appeals to your interests.

Read About Classic Experiments

Sometimes reviewing classic psychological experiments that have been done in the past can give you great ideas for your own psychology experiments. For example, the false memory experiment above is inspired by the classic memory study conducted by Elizabeth Loftus.

Textbooks can be a great place to start looking for topics, but you might want to expand your search to research journals. When you find a study that sparks your interest, read through the discussion section. Researchers will often indicate ideas for future directions that research could take.

Ask Your Instructor

Your professor or instructor is often the best person to consult for advice right from the start.

In most cases, you will probably receive fairly detailed instructions about your assignment. This may include information about the sort of topic you can choose or perhaps the type of experiment or study on which you should focus.

If your instructor does not assign a specific subject area to explore, it is still a great idea to talk about your ideas and get feedback before you get too invested in your topic idea. You will need your teacher’s permission to proceed with your experiment anyway, so now is a great time to open a dialogue and get some good critical feedback.

Experiments vs. Other Types of Research

One thing to note, many of the ideas found here are actually examples of surveys or correlational studies .

For something to qualify as a tru e experiment, there must be manipulation of an independent variable .

For many students, conducting an actual experiment may be outside the scope of their project or may not be permitted by their instructor, school, or institutional review board.

If your assignment or project requires you to conduct a true experiment that involves controlling and manipulating an independent variable, you will need to take care to choose a topic that will work within the guidelines of your assignment.

Types of Psychology Experiments

There are many different types of psychology experiments that students could perform. Examples of psychological research methods you might use include:

Correlational Study

This type of study examines the relationship between two variables. Students could collect data on two variables of interest, such as stress and academic performance, and see if there is a correlation between the two.

Experimental Study

In an experimental study, students manipulate one variable and observe the effect on another variable. For example, students could manipulate the type of music participants listen to and observe its effect on their mood.

Observational Study

Observational studies involve observing behavior in a natural setting . Students could observe how people interact in a public space and analyze the patterns they see.

Survey Study

Students could design a survey to collect data on a specific topic, such as attitudes toward social media, and analyze the results.

A case study involves in-depth analysis of a single individual or group. Students could conduct a case study of a person with a particular disorder, such as anxiety or depression, and examine their experiences and treatment options.

Quasi-Experimental Study

Quasi-experimental studies are similar to experimental studies, but participants are not randomly assigned to groups. Students could investigate the effects of a treatment or intervention on a particular group, such as a classroom of students who receive a new teaching method.

Longitudinal Study

Longitudinal studies involve following participants over an extended period of time. Students could conduct a longitudinal study on the development of language skills in children or the effects of aging on cognitive abilities.

These are just a few examples of the many different types of psychology experiments that students could perform. The specific type of experiment will depend on the research question and the resources available.

Steps for Doing a Psychology Experiment

When conducting a psychology experiment, students should follow several important steps. Here is a general outline of the process:

Define the Research Question

Before conducting an experiment, students should define the research question they are trying to answer. This will help them to focus their study and determine the variables they need to manipulate and measure.

Develop a Hypothesis

Based on the research question, students should develop a hypothesis that predicts the experiment’s outcome. The hypothesis should be testable and measurable.

Select Participants

Students should select participants who meet the criteria for the study. Participants should be informed about the study and give informed consent to participate.

Design the Experiment

Students should design the experiment to test their hypothesis. This includes selecting the appropriate variables, creating a plan for manipulating and measuring them, and determining the appropriate control conditions.

Collect Data

Once the experiment is designed, students should collect data by following the procedures they have developed. They should record all data accurately and completely.

Analyze the Data

After collecting the data, students should analyze it to determine if their hypothesis was supported or not. They can use statistical analyses to determine if there are significant differences between groups or if there are correlations between variables.

Interpret the Results

Based on the analysis, students should interpret the results and draw conclusions about their hypothesis. They should consider the study’s limitations and their findings’ implications.

Report the Results

Finally, students should report the results of their study. This may include writing a research paper or presenting their findings in a poster or oral presentation.

Britt MA. Psych Experiments . Avon, MA: Adams Media; 2007.

Martin DW. Doing Psychology Experiments. Belmont, CA: Cengage Learning; 2008.

11+ Psychology Experiment Ideas (Goals + Methods)

practical psychology logo

Have you ever wondered why some days you remember things easily, while on others you keep forgetting? Or why certain songs make you super happy and others just…meh?

Our minds are like big, mysterious puzzles, and every day we're finding new pieces to fit. One of the coolest ways to explore our brains and the way they work is through psychology experiments.

A psychology experiment is a special kind of test or activity researchers use to learn more about how our minds work and why we behave the way we do.

It's like a detective game where scientists ask questions and try out different clues to find answers about our feelings, thoughts, and actions. These experiments aren't just for scientists in white coats but can be fun activities we all try to discover more about ourselves and others.

Some of these experiments have become so famous, they’re like the celebrities of the science world! Like the Marshmallow Test, where kids had to wait to eat a yummy marshmallow, or Pavlov's Dogs, where dogs learned to drool just hearing a bell.

Let's look at a few examples of psychology experiments you can do at home.

What Are Some Classic Experiments?

Imagine a time when the mysteries of the mind were being uncovered in groundbreaking ways. During these moments, a few experiments became legendary, capturing the world's attention with their intriguing results.

testing tubes

The Marshmallow Test

One of the most talked-about experiments of the 20th century was the Marshmallow Test , conducted by Walter Mischel in the late 1960s at Stanford University.

The goal was simple but profound: to understand a child's ability to delay gratification and exercise self-control.

Children were placed in a room with a marshmallow and given a choice: eat the marshmallow now or wait 15 minutes and receive two as a reward. Many kids struggled with the wait, some devouring the treat immediately, while others demonstrated remarkable patience.

But the experiment didn’t end there. Years later, Mischel discovered something astonishing. The children who had waited for the second marshmallow were generally more successful in several areas of life, from school achievements to job satisfaction!

While this experiment highlighted the importance of teaching patience and self-control from a young age, it wasn't without its criticisms. Some argued that a child's background, upbringing, or immediate surroundings might play a significant role in their choices.

Moreover, there were concerns about the ethics of judging a child's potential success based on a brief interaction with a marshmallow.

Pavlov's Dogs

Traveling further back in time and over to Russia, another classic experiment took the world by storm. Ivan Pavlov , in the early 1900s, wasn't initially studying learning or behavior. He was exploring the digestive systems of dogs.

But during his research, Pavlov stumbled upon a fascinating discovery. He noticed that by ringing a bell every time he fed his dogs, they eventually began to associate the bell's sound with mealtime. So much so, that merely ringing the bell, even without presenting food, made the dogs drool in anticipation!

This reaction demonstrated the concept of "conditioning" - where behaviors can be learned by linking two unrelated stimuli. Pavlov's work revolutionized the world's understanding of learning and had ripple effects in various areas like animal training and therapy techniques.

Pavlov came up with the term classical conditioning , which is still used today. Other psychologists have developed more nuanced types of conditioning that help us understand how people learn to perform different behaviours.

Classical conditioning is the process by which a neutral stimulus becomes associated with a meaningful stimulus , leading to the same response. In Pavlov's case, the neutral stimulus (bell) became associated with the meaningful stimulus (food), leading the dogs to salivate just by hearing the bell.

Modern thinkers often critique Pavlov's methods from an ethical standpoint. The dogs, crucial to his discovery, may not have been treated with today's standards of care and respect in research.

Both these experiments, while enlightening, also underline the importance of conducting research with empathy and consideration, especially when it involves living beings.

What is Ethical Experimentation?

The tales of Pavlov's bells and Mischel's marshmallows offer us not just insights into the human mind and behavior but also raise a significant question: At what cost do these discoveries come?

Ethical experimentation isn't just a fancy term; it's the backbone of good science. When we talk about ethics, we're referring to the moral principles that guide a researcher's decisions and actions. But why does it matter so much in the realm of psychological experimentation?

An example of an experiment that had major ethical issues is an experiment called the Monster Study . This study was conducted in 1936 and was interested in why children develop a stutter.

The major issue with it is that the psychologists treated some of the children poorly over a period of five months, telling them things like “You must try to stop yourself immediately. Don’t ever speak unless you can do it right.”

You can imagine how that made the children feel!

This study helped create guidelines for ethical treatment in experiments. The guidelines include:

Respect for Individuals: Whether it's a dog in Pavlov's lab or a child in Mischel's study room, every participant—human or animal—deserves respect. They should never be subjected to harm or undue stress. For humans, informed consent (knowing what they're signing up for) is a must. This means that if a child is participating, they, along with their guardians, should understand what the experiment entails and agree to it without being pressured.

Honesty is the Best Policy: Researchers have a responsibility to be truthful. This means not only being honest with participants about the study but also reporting findings truthfully, even if the results aren't what they hoped for. There can be exceptions if an experiment will only succeed if the participants aren't fully aware, but it has to be approved by an ethics committee .

Safety First: No discovery, no matter how groundbreaking, is worth harming a participant. The well-being and mental, emotional, and physical safety of participants is paramount. Experiments should be designed to minimize risks and discomfort.

Considering the Long-Term: Some experiments might have effects that aren't immediately obvious. For example, while a child might seem fine after participating in an experiment, they could feel stressed or anxious later on. Ethical researchers consider and plan for these possibilities, offering support and follow-up if needed.

The Rights of Animals: Just because animals can't voice their rights doesn't mean they don't have any. They should be treated with care, dignity, and respect. This means providing them with appropriate living conditions, not subjecting them to undue harm, and considering alternatives to animal testing when possible.

While the world of psychological experiments offers fascinating insights into behavior and the mind, it's essential to tread with care and compassion. The golden rule? Treat every participant, human or animal, as you'd wish to be treated. After all, the true mark of a groundbreaking experiment isn't just its findings but the ethical integrity with which it's conducted.

So, even if you're experimenting at home, please keep in mind the impact your experiments could have on the people and beings around you!

Let's get into some ideas for experiments.

1) Testing Conformity

Our primary aim with this experiment is to explore the intriguing world of social influences, specifically focusing on how much sway a group has over an individual's decisions. This social influence is called groupthink .

Humans, as social creatures, often find solace in numbers, seeking the approval and acceptance of those around them. But how deep does this need run? Does the desire to "fit in" overpower our trust in our own judgments?

This experiment not only provides insights into these questions but also touches upon the broader themes of peer pressure, societal norms, and individuality. Understanding this could shed light on various real-world situations, from why fashion trends catch on to more critical scenarios like how misinformation can spread.

Method: This idea is inspired by the classic Asch Conformity Experiments . Here's a simple way to try it:

  • Assemble a group of people (about 7-8). Only one person will be the real participant; the others will be in on the experiment.
  • Show the group a picture of three lines of different lengths and another line labeled "Test Line."
  • Ask each person to say out loud which of the three lines matches the length of the "Test Line."
  • Unknown to the real participant, the other members will intentionally choose the wrong line. This is to see if the participant goes along with the group's incorrect choice, even if they can see it's wrong.

Real-World Impacts of Groupthink

Groupthink is more than just a science term; we see it in our daily lives:

Decisions at Work or School: Imagine being in a group where everyone wants to do one thing, even if it's not the best idea. People might not speak up because they're worried about standing out or being the only one with a different opinion.

Wrong Information: Ever heard a rumor that turned out to be untrue? Sometimes, if many people believe and share something, others might believe it too, even if it's not correct. This happens a lot on the internet.

Peer Pressure: Sometimes, friends might all want to do something that's not safe or right. People might join in just because they don't want to feel left out.

Missing Out on New Ideas: When everyone thinks the same way and agrees all the time, cool new ideas might never get heard. It's like always coloring with the same crayon and missing out on all the other bright colors!

2) Testing Color and Mood

colorful room

We all have favorite colors, right? But did you ever wonder if colors can make you feel a certain way? Color psychology is the study of how colors can influence our feelings and actions.

For instance, does blue always calm us down? Does red make us feel excited or even a bit angry? By exploring this, we can learn how colors play a role in our daily lives, from the clothes we wear to the color of our bedroom walls.

  • Find a quiet room and set up different colored lights or large sheets of colored paper: blue, red, yellow, and green.
  • Invite some friends over and let each person spend a few minutes under each colored light or in front of each colored paper.
  • After each color, ask your friends to write down or talk about how they feel. Are they relaxed? Energized? Happy? Sad?

Researchers have always been curious about this. Some studies have shown that colors like blue and green can make people feel calm, while colors like red might make them feel more alert or even hungry!

Real-World Impacts of Color Psychology

Ever noticed how different places use colors?

Hospitals and doctors' clinics often use soft blues and greens. This might be to help patients feel more relaxed and calm.

Many fast food restaurants use bright reds and yellows. These colors might make us feel hungry or want to eat quickly and leave.

Classrooms might use a mix of colors to help students feel both calm and energized.

3) Testing Music and Brainpower

Think about your favorite song. Do you feel smarter or more focused when you listen to it? This experiment seeks to understand the relationship between music and our brain's ability to remember things. Some people believe that certain types of music, like classical tunes, can help us study or work better. Let's find out if it's true!

  • Prepare a list of 10-15 things to remember, like a grocery list or names of places.
  • Invite some friends over. First, let them try to memorize the list in a quiet room.
  • After a short break, play some music (try different types like pop, classical, or even nature sounds) and ask them to memorize the list again.
  • Compare the results. Was there a difference in how much they remembered with and without music?

The " Mozart Effect " is a popular idea. Some studies in the past suggested that listening to Mozart's music might make people smarter, at least for a little while. But other researchers think the effect might not be specific to Mozart; it could be that any music we enjoy boosts our mood and helps our brain work better.

Real-World Impacts of Music and Memory

Think about how we use music:

  • Study Sessions: Many students listen to music while studying, believing it helps them concentrate better.
  • Workout Playlists: Gyms play energetic music to keep people motivated and help them push through tough workouts.
  • Meditation and Relaxation: Calm, soothing sounds are often used to help people relax or meditate.

4) Testing Dreams and Food

Ever had a really wild dream and wondered where it came from? Some say that eating certain foods before bedtime can make our dreams more vivid or even a bit strange.

This experiment is all about diving into the dreamy world of sleep to see if what we eat can really change our nighttime adventures. Can a piece of chocolate or a slice of cheese transport us to a land of wacky dreams? Let's find out!

  • Ask a group of friends to keep a "dream diary" for a week. Every morning, they should write down what they remember about their dreams.
  • For the next week, ask them to eat a small snack before bed, like cheese, chocolate, or even spicy foods.
  • They should continue writing in their "dream diary" every morning.
  • At the end of the two weeks, compare the dream notes. Do the dreams seem different during the snack week?

The link between food and dreams isn't super clear, but some people have shared personal stories. For example, some say that spicy food can lead to bizarre dreams. Scientists aren't completely sure why, but it could be related to how food affects our body temperature or brain activity during sleep.

A cool idea related to this experiment is that of vivid dreams , which are very clear, detailed, and easy to remember dreams. Some people are even able to control their vivid dreams, or say that they feel as real as daily, waking life !

Real-World Impacts of Food and Dreams

Our discoveries might shed light on:

  • Bedtime Routines: Knowing which foods might affect our dreams can help us choose better snacks before bedtime, especially if we want calmer sleep.
  • Understanding Our Brain: Dreams can be mysterious, but studying them can give us clues about how our brains work at night.
  • Cultural Beliefs: Many cultures have myths or stories about foods and dreams. Our findings might add a fun twist to these age-old tales!

5) Testing Mirrors and Self-image

Stand in front of a mirror. How do you feel? Proud? Shy? Curious? Mirrors reflect more than just our appearance; they might influence how we think about ourselves.

This experiment delves into the mystery of self-perception. Do we feel more confident when we see our reflection? Or do we become more self-conscious? Let's take a closer look.

  • Set up two rooms: one with mirrors on all walls and another with no mirrors at all.
  • Invite friends over and ask them to spend some time in each room doing normal activities, like reading or talking.
  • After their time in both rooms, ask them questions like: "Did you think about how you looked more in one room? Did you feel more confident or shy?"
  • Compare the responses to see if the presence of mirrors changes how they feel about themselves.

Studies have shown that when people are in rooms with mirrors, they can become more aware of themselves. Some might stand straighter, fix their hair, or even change how they behave. The mirror acts like an audience, making us more conscious of our actions.

Real-World Impacts of Mirrors and Self-perception

Mirrors aren't just for checking our hair. Ever wonder why clothing stores have so many mirrors? They might help shoppers visualize themselves in new outfits, encouraging them to buy.

Mirrors in gyms can motivate people to work out with correct form and posture. They also help us see progress in real-time!

And sometimes, looking in a mirror can be a reminder to take care of ourselves, both inside and out.

But remember, what we look like isn't as important as how we act in the world or how healthy we are. Some people claim that having too many mirrors around can actually make us more self conscious and distract us from the good parts of ourselves.

Some studies are showing that mirrors can actually increase self-compassion , amongst other things. As any tool, it seems like mirrors can be both good and bad, depending on how we use them!

6) Testing Plants and Talking

potted plants

Have you ever seen someone talking to their plants? It might sound silly, but some people believe that plants can "feel" our vibes and that talking to them might even help them grow better.

In this experiment, we'll explore whether plants can indeed react to our voices and if they might grow taller, faster, or healthier when we chat with them.

  • Get three similar plants, placing each one in a separate room.
  • Talk to the first plant, saying positive things like "You're doing great!" or singing to it.
  • Say negative things to the second plant, like "You're not growing fast enough!"
  • Don't talk to the third plant at all; let it be your "silent" control group .
  • Water all plants equally and make sure they all get the same amount of light.
  • At the end of the month, measure the growth of each plant and note any differences in their health or size.

The idea isn't brand new. Some experiments from the past suggest plants might respond to sounds or vibrations. Some growers play music for their crops, thinking it helps them flourish.

Even if talking to our plants doesn't have an impact on their growth, it can make us feel better! Sometimes, if we are lonely, talking to our plants can help us feel less alone. Remember, they are living too!

Real-World Impacts of Talking to Plants

If plants do react to our voices, gardeners and farmers might adopt new techniques, like playing music in greenhouses or regularly talking to plants.

Taking care of plants and talking to them could become a recommended activity for reducing stress and boosting mood.

And if plants react to sound, it gives us a whole new perspective on how connected all living things might be .

7) Testing Virtual Reality and Senses

Virtual reality (VR) seems like magic, doesn't it? You put on a headset and suddenly, you're in a different world! But how does this "new world" affect our senses? This experiment wants to find out how our brains react to VR compared to the real world. Do we feel, see, or hear things differently? Let's get to the bottom of this digital mystery!

  • You'll need a VR headset and a game or experience that can be replicated in real life (like walking through a forest). If you don't have a headset yourself, there are virtual reality arcades now!
  • Invite friends to first experience the scenario in VR.
  • Afterwards, replicate the experience in the real world, like taking a walk in an actual forest.
  • Ask them questions about both experiences: Did one seem more real than the other? Which sounds were more clear? Which colors were brighter? Did they feel different emotions?

As VR becomes more popular, scientists have been curious about its effects. Some studies show that our brains can sometimes struggle to tell the difference between VR and reality. That's why some people might feel like they're really "falling" in a VR game even though they're standing still.

Real-World Impacts of VR on Our Senses

Schools might use VR to teach lessons, like taking students on a virtual trip to ancient Egypt. Understanding how our senses react in VR can also help game designers create even more exciting and realistic games.

Doctors could use VR to help patients overcome fears or to provide relaxation exercises. This is actually already a method therapists can use for helping patients who have serious phobias. This is called exposure therapy , which basically means slowly exposing someone (or yourself) to the thing you fear, starting from very far away to becoming closer.

For instance, if someone is afraid of snakes. You might show them images of snakes first. Once they are comfortable with the picture, they can know there is one in the next room. Once they are okay with that, they might use a VR headset to see the snake in the same room with them, though of course there is not an actual snake there.

8) Testing Sleep and Learning

We all know that feeling of trying to study or work when we're super tired. Our brains feel foggy, and it's hard to remember stuff. But how exactly does sleep (or lack of it) influence our ability to learn and remember things?

With this experiment, we'll uncover the mysteries of sleep and see how it can be our secret weapon for better learning.

  • Split participants into two groups.
  • Ask both groups to study the same material in the evening.
  • One group goes to bed early, while the other stays up late.
  • The next morning, give both groups a quiz on what they studied.
  • Compare the results to see which group remembered more.

Sleep and its relation to learning have been explored a lot. Scientists believe that during sleep, especially deep sleep, our brains sort and store new information. This is why sometimes, after a good night's rest, we might understand something better or remember more.

Real-World Impacts of Sleep and Learning

Understanding the power of sleep can help:

  • Students: If they know the importance of sleep, students might plan better, mixing study sessions with rest, especially before big exams.
  • Workplaces: Employers might consider more flexible hours, understanding that well-rested employees learn faster and make fewer mistakes.
  • Health: Regularly missing out on sleep can have other bad effects on our health. So, promoting good sleep is about more than just better learning.

9) Testing Social Media and Mood

Have you ever felt different after spending time on social media? Maybe happy after seeing a friend's fun photos, or a bit sad after reading someone's tough news.

Social media is a big part of our lives, but how does it really affect our mood? This experiment aims to shine a light on the emotional roller-coaster of likes, shares, and comments.

  • Ask participants to note down how they're feeling - are they happy, sad, excited, or bored?
  • Have them spend a set amount of time (like 30 minutes) on their favorite social media platforms.
  • After the session, ask them again about their mood. Did it change? Why?
  • Discuss what they saw or read that made them feel that way.

Previous research has shown mixed results. Some studies suggest that seeing positive posts can make us feel good, while others say that too much time on social media can make us feel lonely or left out.

Real-World Impacts of Social Media on Mood

Understanding the emotional impact of social media can help users understand their feelings and take breaks if needed. Knowing is half the battle! Additionally, teachers and parents can guide young users on healthy social media habits, like limiting time or following positive accounts.

And if it's shown that social media does impact mood, social media companies can design friendlier, less stressful user experiences.

But even if the social media companies don't change things, we can still change our social media habits to make ourselves feel better.

10) Testing Handwriting or Typing

Think about the last time you took notes. Did you grab a pen and paper or did you type them out on a computer or tablet?

Both ways are popular, but there's a big question: which method helps us remember and understand better? In this experiment, we'll find out if the classic art of handwriting has an edge over speedy typing.

  • Divide participants into two groups.
  • Present a short lesson or story to both groups.
  • One group will take notes by hand, while the other will type them out.
  • After some time, quiz both groups on the content of the lesson or story.
  • Compare the results to see which note-taking method led to better recall and understanding.

Studies have shown some interesting results. While typing can be faster and allows for more notes, handwriting might boost memory and comprehension because it engages the brain differently, making us process the information as we write.

Importantly, each person might find one or the other works better for them. This could be useful in understanding our learning habits and what instructional style would be best for us.

Real-World Impacts of Handwriting vs. Typing

Knowing the pros and cons of each method can:

  • Boost Study Habits: Students can pick the method that helps them learn best, especially during important study sessions or lectures.
  • Work Efficiency: In jobs where information retention is crucial, understanding the best method can increase efficiency and accuracy.
  • Tech Design: If we find out more about how handwriting benefits us, tech companies might design gadgets that mimic the feel of writing while combining the advantages of digital tools.

11) Testing Money and Happiness

game board with money

We often hear the saying, "Money can't buy happiness," but is that really true? Many dream of winning the lottery or getting a big raise, believing it would solve all problems.

In this experiment, we dig deep to see if there's a real connection between wealth and well-being.

  • Survey a range of participants, from those who earn a little to those who earn a lot, about their overall happiness. You can keep it to your friends and family, but that might not be as accurate as surveying a wider group of people.
  • Ask them to rank things that bring them joy and note if they believe more money would boost their happiness. You could try different methods, one where you include some things that they have to rank, such as gardening, spending time with friends, reading books, learning, etc. Or you could just leave a blank list that they can fill in with their own ideas.
  • Study the data to find patterns or trends about income and happiness.

Some studies have found money can boost happiness, especially when it helps people out of tough financial spots. But after reaching a certain income, extra dollars usually do not add much extra joy.

In fact, psychologists just realized that once people have an income that can comfortably support their needs (and some of their wants), they stop getting happier with more . That number is roughly $75,000, but of course that depends on the cost of living and how many members are in the family.

Real-World Impacts of Money and Happiness

If we can understand the link between money and joy, it might help folks choose jobs they love over jobs that just pay well. And instead of buying things, people might spend on experiences, like trips or classes, that make lasting memories.

Most importantly, we all might spend more time on hobbies, friends, and family, knowing they're big parts of what makes life great.

Some people are hoping that with Artificial Intelligence being able to do a lot of the less well-paying jobs, people might be able to do work they enjoy more, all while making more money and having more time to do the things that make them happy.

12) Testing Temperature and Productivity

Have you ever noticed how a cold classroom or office makes it harder to focus? Or how on hot days, all you want to do is relax? In this experiment, we're going to find out if the temperature around us really does change how well we work.

  • Find a group of participants and a room where you can change the temperature.
  • Set the room to a chilly temperature and give the participants a set of tasks to do.
  • Measure how well and quickly they do these tasks.
  • The next day, make the room comfortably warm and have them do similar tasks.
  • Compare the results to see if the warmer or cooler temperature made them work better.

Some studies have shown that people can work better when they're in a room that feels just right, not too cold or hot. Being too chilly can make fingers slow, and being too warm can make minds wander.

What temperature is "just right"? It won't be the same for everyone, but most people find it's between 70-73 degrees Fahrenheit (21-23 Celsius).

Real-World Implications of Temperature and Productivity

If we can learn more about how temperature affects our work, teachers might set classroom temperatures to help students focus and learn better, offices might adjust temperatures to get the best work out of their teams, and at home, we might find the best temperature for doing homework or chores quickly and well.

Interestingly, temperature also has an impact on our sleep quality. Most people find slightly cooler rooms to be better for good sleep. While the daytime temperature between 70-73F is good for productivity, a nighttime temperature around 65F (18C) is ideal for most people's sleep.

Psychology is like a treasure hunt, where the prize is understanding ourselves better. With every experiment, we learn a little more about why we think, feel, and act the way we do. Some of these experiments might seem simple, like seeing if colors change our mood or if being warm helps us work better. But even the simple questions can have big answers that help us in everyday life.

Remember, while doing experiments is fun, it's also important to always be kind and think about how others feel. We should never make someone uncomfortable just for a test. Instead, let's use these experiments to learn and grow, helping to make the world a brighter, more understanding place for everyone.

Related posts:

  • 150+ Flirty Goodnight Texts For Him (Sweet and Naughty Examples)
  • Dream Interpreter & Dictionary (270+ Meanings)
  • Sleep Stages (Light, Deep, REM)
  • What Part of the Brain Regulates Body Temperature?
  • Why Do We Dream? (6 Theories and Psychological Reasons)

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Four projects receive 2024 Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs grants

The Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment annual grant competition supports projects that examine the complex relationship between science and technology on society and cultural issues. Four projects were selected for the 2024 award cycle.

Projects selected to receive 2024 grants

From classroom to catalysts: fostering youth advocacy and activism through interdisciplinary science and community research.

Sophia Jeong College of Education and Human Ecology

The project addresses the disconnection between STEM education and civic engagement, particularly for underrepresented student populations. It integrates a case-based curriculum with the CREATES-HS program, allowing students to select and tackle community-specific health disparities and environmental issues. This student-led approach enhances engagement and fosters "solutionaries" who apply scientific knowledge to real-world problems. Expected outcomes include improved STEM proficiency, heightened civic engagement, and the development of informed, compassionate STEM professionals.

Creating Pathways from the Classroom to Commercialization

Kristina Kennedy College of Engineering

Ohio State’s Integrated Business & Engineering program has partnered with the Accessible Prosthetics Initiative (national non-profit) to provide undergraduate students a pilot “classroom to commercialization” summer opportunity to further build their professional skills via deep-diving into product development and continuing to refine prototypes developed in the classroom. The goal of this program is to not only to give students a meaningful real-world experience by keeping student projects alive via further maturation, but to also find appropriate pathways to commercialize and provide much needed support to end-users in the limb-different community.

Collaboration of Glass Area and Engineering: Expanding Glass Arts with Cutting-Edge 3D Printing

David King College of Arts and Sciences

3D printing is a transformative technology in both engineering and the visual arts. This project is a collaboration between the Department of Art's Glass area and the College of Engineering’s Center for Design and Manufacturing Excellence (CDME) on the integration of art and engineering using glass additive manufacturing. Undergraduate students from both areas will work together to design unique works of art using cutting-edge 3D printing technology. The goal is critically probing the meaning and value of technological innovations through an interdisciplinary approach to research and development, revealing and reflecting upon the often­differing goals for artists and engineers.

Leveraging Technology to Accelerate Generation and Translation of Evidence- Based Practices in Education

Shayne B. Piasta College of Education and Human Ecology

This pilot project will leverage advancements in technology to develop an innovative approach to accelerate testing and translation of generalizable, evidence-based practices (EBPs) in education. It will: develop infrastructure/processes to support use of a new, technology-mediated approach; address a problem of practice and test a generalizable EBP solution via a within-subjects experiment; and couple this work with online communities of practice to understand and integrate teachers’ perspectives on enhancing translation between research and practice.

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The Big List of Science Fair Project Ideas, Resources, and More

Options for every age, interest, and skill level!

Best Science Fair Project Ideas

Science fairs are a rite of passage and something many kids either dread or adore. Whatever the case, there’s no doubt these projects give students a chance to develop all sorts of skills: critical thinking, presentation and public speaking, research and writing, and so much more. Make this year’s fair the best one ever with this huge list of science fair project ideas for every kind of student.

Tips for Choosing a Science Fair Project

Students standing with their science fair project ideas boards

Source: @eriverselementary

With thousands of possible projects, it can be difficult to narrow down something that’s a good fit for every student. Try these tips to help them find the right science fair project ideas.

Match Your Project to Your Interests

This seems obvious, but it’s really helpful for kids who feel overwhelmed by all the choices. It’s also a good way to get reluctant learners more excited about science fair projects. Encourage students to think about what they love to do in their spare time. How can they turn that into a project?

For instance, kids who love sports might explore the most effective stretches for warming up, or methods for throwing a football farther and more accurately. Music lovers can learn how sound waves work, or discover the link between music and emotions. It’s all about starting with something you love.

Challenge Yourself, But Keep It Realistic

Science fair projects need to be something kids can complete by themselves or with adults in support roles only. If a student picks something that’s way beyond their skill level, chances are the parents will wind up doing most of it. That being said, the point of the project is to learn and grow. Aim to learn something new, whether it’s knowledge or skills, by setting measurable goals.

If You Want To Win, Be Innovative

For science fair contests with prizes, the more creative you can be, the better. Projects that address real-world problems with new and interesting solutions often catch the judges’ eye. Be sure to be thorough in your research, and be ready to answer questions about your methods and results. Scientists love asking questions!

Science Fair Project Ideas by Grade

Young student holding a model car in front of their science fair project board

Source: @delphiacademy

Finding an age-appropriate project is an excellent way to help kids succeed. These lists cover every age, pre-K to grade 12. Remember that many simple experiments and demos can become true projects by changing up the methodology to achieve better or different results.

  • Preschool Science Experiments and Activities
  • Kindergarten Science Projects, Activities, and Experiments
  • 1st Grade Science Projects and Activities
  • 2nd Grade Science Experiments and Projects
  • 3rd Grade Science Projects and Activities
  • 4th Grade Science Experiments, Activities, and Projects
  • 5th Grade Science Projects and Experiments
  • 6th Grade Science Experiments, Projects, and Activities
  • 7th Grade Science Fair Projects and Classroom Experiments
  • 8th Grade Science Fair Projects and Classroom Experiments
  • High School Science Experiments for Labs and Science Fairs

Science Fair Project Ideas by Interest

Two middle school girls standing in front of their science fair project board about Fish Cams


Since most projects can be tweaked to be suitable for any age, it’s best to urge kids to pick projects that really interest them. These roundups offer ideas for various interests in disciplines ranging from bio and chemistry to physics and environmental science.

  • Anatomy Science Projects and Activities
  • Animal Habitat Activities and Projects
  • Balloon Science Experiments and Projects
  • Climate Change Activities and Project Ideas
  • Electricity Experiments and Science Projects
  • Ocean Experiments, Projects, and Activities
  • Plant Life Cycle Projects and Experiments
  • Science Projects for Learning About Germs
  • Space Science Experiments and Activities
  • Volcano Science Experiments and Project Kits
  • Weather Activities and Science Projects

STEM Challenge Science Fair Projects

Student standing with her science fair project board on the mandela effect

Source: @qmsduncan

For students especially interested in physics or engineering, STEM challenges can lead to amazing science fair project ideas. Check out these lists for engaging challenges, and watch the learning grow.

  • Kindergarten STEM Challenges for Little Learners
  • 1st Grade STEM Challenges Kids Will Love
  • 2nd Grade STEM Challenges To Encourage Creative Thinking
  • 3rd Grade STEM Challenges for Scientific Learning
  • 4th Grade STEM Challenges That Make Learning Fun
  • 5th Grade STEM Challenges for Hands-On Exploration
  • STEM Challenges That Use Ordinary Office Supplies

Engaging Reluctant Science Fair Participants

Girl standing with her science fair project board about nail polish

Source: @aubkov

Let’s face it: Not every kid gets excited about the idea of a science fair. But with the right science fair project ideas, you can draw in even the most reluctant learners. Try some of these options.

  • Edible Science Projects You’ll Actually Want to Eat : There’s something about getting to eat your project that excites nearly every kid.
  • Wet and Wild Outdoor Science Activities and Experiments : Get kids out of the classroom and let them make a mess outdoors. Perfect for kinesthetic learners!
  • 60 Easy Science Experiments Using Materials You Already Have On Hand : While you always want kids to challenge themselves as they learn, that doesn’t mean their science fair project needs to be incredibly complicated. These simple activities with household materials help students learn too.
  • 50 Ste m Activities To Help Kids Think Outside the Box : These fun, quick, hands-on projects are perfect for creative thinkers.

More Science Fair Resources

Choosing a project is just the first part of the process. Find more useful tips and project help here.

  • Free Printable: Scientific Method Graphic Organizer
  • An Easy Way To Create Science Fair Project Boards
  • Free Bulletin Board Kit That Teaches Students to “Think Like an Inventor”

Want to talk to other science teachers about running a school science fair? Join the WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook to exchange ideas and ask for advice!

Plus, the best science websites for middle and high school ..

Need science fair project ideas? Find them here for every grade and interest, plus tips and resources for making your project stand out.

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Collage of high school science fair projects, including 3D printed cars and a DIY vacuum chamber

70 Best High School Science Fair Projects in Every Subject

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DARPA’s Secret New X-Plane Looks Like It’ll Blow Some Minds

The XRQ-73 will take to the skies this year.

a shark in the desert

  • DARPA has initiated an effort to build a new, stealthy spy plane.
  • Unlike other aircraft, this X-plane will feature a hybrid electric propulsion system.
  • The XRQ-73 will be much quieter than traditional aircraft, making it harder to detect over enemy territory.

Hybrid Spy Plane

b 2 stealth bomber

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA , announced the new plane earlier this week via its website. The plane is designated XRQ-73: X for experimental plane, R for reconnaissance, and Q for unmanned. It would be the 73rd official X-plane developed by the Department of Defense—a long line of famed aircraft that started in 1946, with the Bell X-1 supersonic jet plane .

The plane’s designation gives away its purpose: an unmanned spy plane. The SHEPHARD name is an acronym—Series Hybrid Electric Propulsion AiRcraft Demonstration—and explains what will make the machine special. It will be the first known military aircraft to will do away with jet engines entirely, relying on electricity for propulsion .

According to DARPA , the XRQ-73 will be an unmanned aircraft designed to collect intelligence. Concept art depicts a flying wing design (like the B-21 Raider stealth bomber), the lack of a fuselage, vertical stabilizers, and a cockpit. The drone will be several orders of magnitude smaller than a bomber, however—DARPA says it is a Group 3 drone, a size class that tops out of 1,320 pounds. XRQ-73 will weight 1,250 pounds. Like the B-21 Raider, the XRQ-73 is also being built by Northrop Gruman. First flight is scheduled for sometime this year.

Electric Flight

opening of the institute for electrified aerospace propulsion systems

On a regular jet aircraft , gas turbine engines suck in and pressurize air, then burn oxygen and jet fuel in a combustion chamber. The engine then pushes the gasses created by the process through the rear of the engine, creating the thrust that propels the aircraft forward.

In a hybrid electric propulsion aircraft, engines burn jet fuel to create electrical power. The power is then used to turn fans that create thrust. A hybrid propulsion aircraft can briefly rely on batteries, resulting in a quieter aircraft—a major quality of life improvement for people living near airports. It can use both direct electric power and battery power to temporarily increase power, such as during takeoffs. Engineers have been working on commercial hybrid electric aircraft for years, but a useful, fully operational craft has been elusive thus far.

Avoiding the “Flying Lawnmower”

iranian shahed drones

Smaller, short range flying drones like quadcopters and hexacopters are typically powered by batteries. As drones grow larger, they are expected to have longer ranges and greater payloads, and an internal combustion engine like a prop-driven engine or gas turbine is considered mandatory.

All of that additional power from burning fuel has a price: internal combustion engines are loud . The Shahed-136 —a prop-driven kamikaze drone designed by Iran and used by Russia in its war in Ukraine—makes so much noise that it is known as the “flying washing machine.” Ukrainian air defenders can usually hear the Shahed before they can see it, giving them time to man their anti-air defenses and scan the skies.

American drones are no exception. The U.S. Army’s RQ-7B Shadow is similarly noisy, producing a sound that resembles one continuous, unending fart. Like the XRQ-73, the RQ-7B is classified by the Pentagon as a Group 3 class drone—a class of drones that typically fly at a maximum altitude of 18,000 feet. A RQ-7B engine produces up to 99 decibels of sound , which at 18,000 feet would be reduced to 13 decibels . That’s the noise equivalent of a human being breathing , meaning that hearing a RQ-7 at three miles up is certainly possible.

Unlike civilian hybrid electric aircraft, military aircraft would use electric power differently. A plane like the XQR-73 would take off and land with the engine providing electrical power to the fans. As it nears enemy territory, the aircraft would switch off the gas turbine and power the fans from batteries . The drone’s engine noise disappears, and the plane is suddenly flying silent.

Son of Great Horned Owl


XQR-73 is a direct descendant of Great Horned Owl (GHO)—another project to develop a quiet unmanned aerial vehicle. GHO was a project of the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), DARPA’s equivalent in the intelligence community. The name is a reference to the ability of owls to fly silently, undetected by their prey.

It’s not clear whatever happened to Great Horned Owl. A 2011 PowerPoint presentation outlines the same key objectives of the XQR-73 program, so it’s possible that GHO was eventually deemed technically unachiveable at the time. The two aircraft programs rely on battery technology to succeed—a field that has seen remarkable progress in the last 13 years. So, perhaps DARPA thinks the tech has advanced to a point where silently flying a 1,250 pound drone is possible.

Great Horned Owl was also a Northrop Grumman Project , so some of the design will likely carry over to the XQR-73. One area where the two planes differ is the placement of the fans—GHO features four fans mounted above the aircraft, while the XQR-73 buries them inside the body of the aircraft. Burying the fans eliminates their radar signature, making the aircraft harder to detect.

Hybrid electric aircraft have the potential to revolutionize the aviation industry. A successful XQR-73 will be a groundbreaking aircraft, ushering in an era of quieter flight. Good news for people living in the flight path of airports , and bad news for America’s adversaries.

Headshot of Kyle Mizokami

Kyle Mizokami is a writer on defense and security issues and has been at Popular Mechanics since 2015. If it involves explosions or projectiles, he's generally in favor of it. Kyle’s articles have appeared at The Daily Beast, U.S. Naval Institute News, The Diplomat, Foreign Policy, Combat Aircraft Monthly, VICE News , and others. He lives in San Francisco.

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  • Science & Research
  • Science and Research Special Topics
  • Advancing Regulatory Science

Improving the Integrity of Novel Digital Health Technology-derived Endpoints through Rigorous Simulation Studies of Multiple Imputation Techniques

CERSI Collaborators: Manisha Desai, PhD; Thomas Robinson, MD, MPH; Marco Perez, MD; Bryan Bunning

FDA Collaborators: Maria Matilde Kam, PhD; Paul Schuette, PhD; Andrew Potter, PhD; Lili Garrard, PhD

CERSI Subcontractors: Flying Buttress Associates- Jeph Herrin, PhD

CERSI In-Kind Collaborators: OptumLabs - William Crown, PhD; University of San Francisco - Sanket Dhruva, MD

Non-Federal Entity Collaborators: Johnson and Johnson- Karla Childers, MSJ, Paul Coplan, ScD, MBA, Stephen Johnston, MSc

Project Start: September 1, 2023

Regulatory Science Framework

Primary Charge : I. Modernize development and evaluation of FDA-regulated products: J. Methods to Assess Real-World Data to serve as Real-World Evidence Secondary Charge : I. Modernize development and evaluation of FDA-regulated products: E. Clinical Outcome Assessment

Regulatory Science Challenge

Wearables such as smart watches that track your movement or heartbeat are used frequently in research to track patient health. These devices generate a large amount of data, and new types of statistical methods are needed to properly analyze them and address challenges such as when patients do not wear the device. This collaboration will help create standards for handling non-wear periods that can be used to advance medical product development and improve patient health.

Project Description and Goals

The goal of this project is to improve understanding of data from wearable devices. To that end, investigators will

  • Develop an open-source tool to help simulate patient data from wearables including non-wear periods using databases from completed clinical trials
  • Create and test strategies for handling non-wear periods
  • Establish open source code for recommended strategies

Overall, advancement of science will help take data from patient wearables and translate them into evidence that can be used to get better treatments for all patients.

Anticipated Outcomes/Impact

The anticipated outcomes from this CERSI project include the following:

  • Development of an open-source simulation tool (R package) to help simulate patient data from wearables including non-wear periods using databases from completed clinical trials.
  • Creation of methods for identifying and handling non-wear periods
  • Establishment of open-source code for the developed multiple imputation methods.
  • a paper describing the gaps in handling missing data for digital health device studies;
  • a paper to identify non-wear using ensemble methods; and
  • a paper to investigate various multiple imputation methods for handling missing data from digital health devices.

Research Outcomes/Results

Two hundred and twenty-three patients with a mean age of 65 years completed the survey. These patients preferred a higher chance of good biopsy outcomes, and a lower chance of erectile dysfunction caused by the treatment and urinary incontinence after treatment. The patients stated in the survey that they are willing to accept:

  • a 15.1%-point increase in erectile dysfunction caused by the treatment to achieve a 10%-point increase in a good biopsy outcome after HIFU ablation, and
  • an 8.5%-point increase in urinary incontinence for a 10%-point increase in a good biopsy.

Also, further analysis revealed that patients who thought their cancer was more aggressive were more willing to tolerate urinary incontinence. Younger men were willing to tolerate less erectile dysfunction risk than older men. Respondents with a greater than college level of education were less willing to tolerate erectile dysfunction or urinary incontinence.

Research Impacts

Incorporating patient preference information into decisions that FDA makes about regulating devices is one of the major goals of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). Study findings show that patients prefer specific outcomes related to prostate ablation therapies like HIFU. The study results may help inform the design and regulation of current and future prostate tissue ablation devices by providing information about outcomes that patients most desire.


  • PMID: 34677594; Citation: Wallach JD, Deng Y, McCoy RG, Dhruva SS, Herrin J, Berkowitz A, Polley EC, Quinto K, Gandotra C, Crown W, Noseworthy P, Yao X, Shah ND, Ross JS, Lyon TD. Real-world Cardiovascular Outcomes Associated With Degarelix vs Leuprolide for Prostate Cancer Treatment.  JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(10):e2130587. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.30587 .
  • PMID: 36191949; Citation: Deng Y, Polley EC, Wallach JD, Dhruva SS, Herrin J, Quinto K, Gandotra C, Crown W, Noseworthy P, Yao X, Lyon TD, Shah ND, Ross JS, McCoy RG. Emulating the GRADE trial using real world data: retrospective comparative effectiveness study. BMJ . 2022 Oct 3;379:e070717. doi: 10.1136/bmj-2022-070717 .
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A black dog with pointed ears licking his nose with his tongue and wearing a multi-colored identification collar around his neck with him name on it.

How Science Went to the Dogs (and Cats)

Pets were once dismissed as trivial scientific subjects. Today, companion animal science is hot.

Max, una mezcla de pastor alemán, malinois belga y husky de 2 años, fue fotografiado este mes en el parque Greenlake de Seattle. Max, un perro callejero que fue rescatado en un estado demacrado, participa en el Arca de Darwin, una iniciativa científica comunitaria que investiga la genética y el comportamiento de los animales. Credit... M. Scott Brauer para The New York Times

Supported by

Emily Anthes

By Emily Anthes

Emily Anthes, who has both a dog and a cat, has been writing about canine genetics since 2004.

  • June 30, 2024

This article is part of our Pets special section on scientists’ growing interest in our animal companions.

Every dog has its day, and July 14, 2004, belonged to a boxer named Tasha. On that date, the National Institutes of Health announced that the barrel-chested, generously jowled canine had become the first dog to have her complete genome sequenced. “And everything has kind of exploded since then,” said Elaine Ostrander, a canine genomics expert at the National Human Genome Research Institute, who was part of the research team.

In the 20 years since, geneticists have fallen hard for our canine companions, sequencing thousands upon thousands of dogs, including pedigreed purebreds, mysterious mutts, highly trained working dogs, free-ranging village dogs and even ancient canine remains.

Research on canine cognition and behavior has taken off, too. “Now dog posters are taking up half of an animal behavior conference,” said Monique Udell, who directs the human-animal interaction lab at Oregon State University. “And we’re starting to see cat research following that same trend.”

Just a few decades ago, many researchers considered pets to be deeply unserious subjects. (“I didn’t want to study dogs,” said Alexandra Horowitz, who has since become a prominent researcher in the field of canine cognition.) Today, companion animals are absolutely in vogue. Scientists around the world are peering deep into the bodies and minds of cats and dogs, hoping to learn more about how they wriggled their way into our lives, how they experience the world and how to keep them living in it longer. It’s a shift that some experts say is long overdue.

“We have a responsibility to deeply understand these animals if we’re going to live with them,” Dr. Udell said. “We also have this great potential to learn a lot about them and a lot about ourselves in the process.”

Pet projects

For geneticists, dogs and cats are both rich subjects , given their long, close history with humans and their susceptibility to many of the same diseases, from cancer to diabetes.

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