Science Fair Ideas: Grow Icky Bacteria From Household Objects
Across the nation it’s time for ‘Operation Find a Great Science Fair Project’! The scientific method is the main ingredient with creativity and enthusiasm thrown in on the side. Find a topic and ask questions. Then alter your experiment with different variables.
3 Tips to Choosing and Completing a Science Fair Project
1. Research a Variety of Science Fair Ideas and Choose a Project.
Don’t worry about whether anyone else is doing the same thing, come up with a creative question about your experiment and put the scientific method to work. The SteveSpanglerScience website features a giant list of great science fair ideas. Our favorites include:
- Taco Sauce Penny Cleaner (What else can Taco Sauce do?)
- Naked Egg Experiment
- Baby Diaper Investigation
- Magnetic Money
2. Become an Expert in Your Experiment and Document It.
One of the most popular Steve Spangler Science Fair projects is the Bacteria Growing Kit. All the supplies you’ll need to grow 6 Petri dishes of disgusting germs is included for $14.95 (plus shipping). We were allowed to test out a kit on our own household microbes!
Remember, you want to find a creative way to ask questions about your topic. We decided to try 2 types of everything we tested. First we swabbed one child’s mouth and then the sibling’s, to compare boy’s cooties to girl’s cooties! (They’re about the same, by the way).
3. Give Yourself Time, Use Household Items, and Have Fun!
For a Science Fair project give yourself plenty of time to grow all your specimens, each plate will take more than a week, overall this project could take a month or more to complete depending on your variables.
- Variable Tip A: test out different types of mouthwash as the variable for each plate. Determine which mouthwash keeps the mouth most germ free. *Remember to grow one plate with no mouthwash as your control plate.
Next we tested out mom’s laptop. We’ve heard cell phones, laptops and TV remotes can be grosser than gross. After swabbing the laptop we cleaned it with a ‘Green’ brand of spray cleaner and re-swabbed it. As far as we could tell the same amount of bacteria grew? We wondered why that was?
- Variable Tip B: Test out several brands of cleaners on a computer mouse and wait one day. Then swab and grow out your specimen. Determine whether ‘Green’ brands are better, the same, or worse than typical cleaning products.
We also tested indoor potted plant soil VS. outdoor soil, the bottom of each child’s shoes plus an overripe banana peel VS an overripe kiwi peel.
- Variable Tip C: For the fruit, experiment using a fruit freshener product like ‘Fruit Fresh’ and determine if it helps reduce bacteria growth over time.
Note: Don’t forget to have have fun! We enjoyed playing with the rubber gloves as much as watching the microbes appear on the plates!
In a former life, Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist. In her current life, she is the chief researcher of bloggy karma, parenting dos (and some don'ts), new recipes, and for spice she pretends to be a photographer. She started blogging in February of 2008 and publishes her good & crazy thoughts on GoodNCrazy.com. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.
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