Ideas For 4th Grade



1.Speedy Snails.

In this 4th grade science project you'll work with the snails. Do you know how fast do snails move? Which factors affect their speed?

Goal: find how surface roughness affects the snail's average speed.

Hypothesis: Snails will move slower on the dry and rough surface and faster on the smooth or wet surface. Even if the surfaces has the same roughness snail will travel faster on wet surface.

Constants: temperature of the surface, all environmental variables. Variables: Roughness of the test surface, wetness of the test surface.

You'll need:

  • A few garden snails.
  • Objects with different kind of surfaces:a large plant leaf, a piece of wood, sandpaper
  • Water.
  • Timer

Procedure:

  • For each kind of a surface, put the snail in the center of the surface sample.
  • As soon as the snail starts to move, run the timer until the snail reaches the edge of the sample.
  • Stop the timer. If the snail movement wasn't strait mark the snail's path.
  • Measure the distance that snail traveled and find the snail's speed. (Speed=Distance/Time).
  • Repeat the procedure several times for each surface (and for different snails).
  • Calculate average snail speed for each surface.
  • Do the same trials for the wet surfaces? Is there any difference in the snail speed?

Variant of the project - you can setup similar experiment answering following questions:

  • Does a snail have sense of smell?
  • Will the snail travel toward the light?
  • What amount of salt can it taste (and does it like it)?
  • Will temperature of the surface affect snail's speed?



2. How the Amount of Light Affects Germination and Growth.

Goal: To find out how different lighting conditions affect seeds germination and growth.

Hypothesis: Light is extremely important for plants. Seeds will germinate faster and grow better in the presence of light.

Materials:

  • 3 transparent plastic containers with transparent lids.
  • Paper towels
  • Water
  • 2 cardboard boxes slightly bigger then plastic containers. Boxes should be black inside and should close tight so that no light would leak in.
  • Seeds

Procedure:

  • Make 3-5 small holes in the walls of one cardboard box. Seal the holes with a thin white paper (this will ensure that seeds will receive no direct light). Second box should stay completely lightproof.
  • Put layer of the paper towels on the bottom of both containers and add water until towels are reasonably wet (make sure that amount of water is the same for all containers).
  • Put the same amount of seeds in each container (50-100 is a good number). Put the lids of the containers on.
  • Put one container in the shaded box and another in the lightproof box.
  • Put all containers in the same well lit place (but make sure no direct sunlight hit the containers).
  • Do not open the boxes until experiment is done.

Results:

  • Observe the changes that happen to the seeds in the transparent container. You can check containers in the black boxes only at night using very dim light.
  • Wait until all live seeds developed root and well defined green leaves.
  • Open shaded and black boxes. Count germinated seeds for each container. Do they look different? Is there a difference in the length of roots and stems?
  • Measure the length of roots and stems of the plants in each container.
  • Calculate average length of root and stem for each container.



3. Does salt or sugar affect water evaporation?

Goal: To find out how different concentrations of salt and/or sugar solutions will affect water evaporation rate.

Hypothesis: Solvable minerals and other chemical compounds have effect on the water evaporation.

Constants: Temperature, air pressure, humidity.

Variables: Concentrations of salt and sugar in the water.

Materials:

  • Pure water.
  • Salt and sugar solutions of different concentrations..
  • Measuring cup.
  • Few glasses of the same size and shape.

Procedure :

  • Pour 100ml of water in the glass.
  • Pour 100ml of each salt and sugar solutions in the individual glasses. Mark each glass with number and write down which number refer to which solution.
  • Put glasses in a well ventilated place.
  • Mark liquid level on each glass witha permanent marker (or weight the glasses).
  • Check liquid levels each day. Depending on the temperature and humidity liquids will evaporate faster or slower. Mark liquid level or weight the glasses every day or every other day. Keep records of your results.
  • Experiment is complete when there is no more liquid in one of the glasses.

Results:

  • If you were making regular observations and records you should be able to make a table and graphs for evaporation rate for each liquid.
  • Can you tell the difference between pure water evaporation rate and salt solution evaporation rate?
  • What about sugar?

Reference materials: Evaporation rate explanation & calculator.



4. Water and conductivity..

Goal: Compare water conductivity to conductivity of different concentration salt solutions.

Hypothesis: water can conduct electricity better if it have salt dissolved in it.

Materials:

  • 2 Copper wires.
  • Ohm-meter.
  • Someone who show you how to use ohmmeter.

Procedure:

  • Prepare salt solutions of different concentrations (for example 1 gram/liter, 5 grams/liter, 10g/l, etc until you make saturated solution)
  • Put one end of each copper wire into the glass of water (make sure the wires are not touching each other in the water).
  • Make sure the ohmmeter works properly (touch both probes together).
  • Connect other ends to the ohmmeter probes.
  • Swap clean water with salt solution of low concentration. Is there any difference?
  • Increase salt concentration and measure resistance. What can you see?
  • Record your results and make a graph.

Variations: You can modify or extend this 4th grade science fair project. Measure resistance of other solutions (soda, vinegar, soap) and different materials (including living organisms).



5. Need more ideas?

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