Agricultural Science Fair Project Ideas
While agriculture is often not a
formal division for science fairs, it certainly fits in many of the categories.
Which way is up?
Many seeds and bulbs have a definite top and bottom. What happens if
you plant them upside down or sideways? Will the seeds still grow; will it take
longer for leaves to start showing up?
What happens if you change a seeds direction once it starts to
sprout? Many seeds like beans can be sprouted in moist cotton or paper towels.
What happens if you turn the seed 90 or 180 degrees from right side up every
few days after it sprouts?
You can take it a
step further by using a record
player turntable to simulate changing gravitys pull on seeds.
Youll want to know more about the chemical
auxin, which affects where roots and stems grow.
Restriction (Would that be grounded?)
Does the amount of room a plant has for roots make a difference in
how big a plant will grow, regardless of how much fertilizer the plant is
given? Plant seeds in a variety of different-sized containers using vermiculite
or other soil-less material, so you will be able to give each plant a measured
amount of fertilizer. Or plant a number of plants in the same size containers
and vary the amount of fertilizer and see what happens. Be sure to use small
enough containers so that root growth really will be constricted.
Can different colors
and types of cloth attract or repel insects from plants? Plant a number of
groups of the same type of plant near each other, but far enough apart to
surround each set with several feet of fabric. Or select several of the same
kind of bush in one yard. You want to use the same type of plant in the same
place, so all of the plants will have the same potential for insect
Surround each group of plants with a different color fabric. Be sure
water can penetrate the fabrics. At set intervals, record all the insects you
can find on each plants and any signs of insect damage on the plant. It is a
good idea to check reference sources for common insect problems of the type of
plants you are using.
Medicine and Health (Nutrition)...
Are all apples
equally sweet? As apples ripen, the starch in the fruit changes to sugar,
making the fruit sweet. What kind of sweet differences are there between apple
varieties or individual apples of the same type?
Starch levels in apples can be measured by
dipping a portion of the apple into an iodine
solution. The starch reacts with the iodine solution to produce a
blue-black color in a pattern that is characteristic for each variety of apple.
For example, Red Delicious apples lose starch in a fairly even ring, while
Golden Delicious apples have an uneven pattern.
You can find reference standards for starch iodine patterns for
Empire, and Spartan apple varieties on the
It is best to test fresh apples that have not been
stored, so this experiment is best done
in the fall. Another way to use this test is to track apple ripening from a
single tree over the harvest season to pinpoint the best time to harvest that
chemical contamination in your streams and creeks? One way to test for such
contamination is with a bioassay.
Of all the possible water-quality bioassay
organisms, lettuce might be one of the last you would think of. Lettuce doesn't
live in water, so why use it to test water quality? The reason is lettuce
bioassays are inexpensive, easy to do, and the seeds are pretty sensitive to
some types of contaminants in water, including heavy metals, pesticides and
other organic toxins. Although any variety of lettuce may do, Lactuca
sativa Buttercrunch is the standard variety recommended for bioassays by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and
the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
You might try taking a series of samples along one stream or compare
streams near industry to water running though agricultural areas.
Directions for conducting experiments can be found at:
You can find more science project ideas at...
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