Ideas For 6th Grade



1.Trapping the Flies.

How sensitive flies to the food smell? Could we possibly measure their sense of smell? What are flies food preferences? Do all the flies like the same food? What else but food we could use as the insect attractants?

You can study food habits of other insects such as wasps, bees or beetles. If you want you can build your project around similarities and differences in their diets.

Any of questions above can be developed into the good projects with results that you can measure, reproduce and use for the project extension.

First of all you'll need a few effective fly traps. There are many suggested constructions. You can look them up here. Or here.

Let's check which fresh food is the most attractive for the flies.

Materials:

  • 4 fly traps,
  • 3 food samples.

Try to use a piece of fresh meat, a piece of fresh fish and a small amount of honey as bait. You can try any other fresh food you like. put bait in 3 traps and leave one empty as a control. Leave bait in the same place outside for the whole day. Count the amount of flies in the traps. Are they all of the same species? Now you can try the same experiment with a spoiled food. Try to find a sample of food which will attract the biggest amount of insects.

If you have a backyard you can now study if flies prefer to live in certain places of it. Put the same amount of the best flies bait in the trap and set the traps in the different parts of the backyard. Put one in the house. Count the amount of flies you caught.

Place traps outside for a certain period of time during the day and you can build a graph of flies daily activity.



2. Water in the Fruits.

Which fruit contains the biggest percentage of water?

In this 6th grade science fair project you'll find the driest and the wettest fruit you can get in local grocery store.

Materials:

  • Foil.
  • Fruit samples.
  • Kitchen scales or laboratory scales.
  • Oven.

The more fruit samples you try the better. You'll need 20-30 grams of fruits for each sample. Kitchen scales sensitivity is pretty low and you'll get significant error if your sample weight is less than that. If you have access to the laboratory scales which can sense milligrams you can use smaller sample, experiment will be complete faster and you'll get more precise results.

Procedure:

  • Weight ~20-30 grams of fruit.
  • Make a small square foil chamber.
  • Dice fruit into the chamber, try to make small pieces. Try not to loose any juice.
  • Repeat the same procedure with the other fruit samples.
  • Put samples in the oven, setup low temperature (less then 100C) and leave for a few hours.
  • When samples are completely dry measure their weight.
  • Subtract the weight of the foil.
  • Calculate percentage of the water contained in the fruits.



3. The plants and the Rooting Hormone.

The ability to root is different in different species. You could put a stick into the wet sand and grow a willow tree, but for capricious roses you have to keep the conditions precisely, just to root one cutting out of ten. To solve this problem some gardeners are using commercial rooting hormone to root stubborn plant cuttings.

Are commercial rooting hormone really effective?

You are about to find it in this 6th grade science fair project.

Materials:

  • 30 plastic cups.
  • 30 fresh cuttings.
  • rooting hormone that you can buy in the garden shop.
  • willow water.

It is known that willow tree has plenty of natural substances for successful root incubation. In this project you can compare rooting effect of willow water on cuttings with other substances. It is easy to make willow water: Soak this year's willow shoots in water for 24 hours, and use this water for rooting.

Procedure:

  • Prepare 3 groups of cups, 10 cups in each group.
  • Fill first group with the water - that will be control group.
  • Put rooting hormone solution in second group.
  • Check directions on its package for the right concentration.
  • Fill the third group with willow water.
  • Put cups away from the direct sunlight.
  • Check every day how rooting process going. It may take two-three weeks. Add some water from time to time to keep water level constant.

You could add even more groups of cuttings and put it in a solutions of substances that you think could promote rooting process. You can also compare it with effectiveness of aspirin and fungicide. Honey is good substitute for commercial fungicide, so you can compare its effect on rooting too. Just remember to keep concentration of the substance rather low. If YOUR substance does promote rooting, you can try another experiment with different concentrations.

You could compare cuttings of a different plants species on their rooting abilities as well.



4. Vitamin C science project

Vitamin C is essential nutrient. A person needs at least 40mg vitamin C daily. The lack of vitamin C in the body can cause weak immunity, and even scurvy. It is important to know how much vitamin C is in the food we eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the main source of vitamin C, but how to find out if we are having enough?

There is a simple method to determine the amount of vitamin C in juices and other drinks. Using this method you can make a variety of different chemistry science projects.

It's well known that Iodine reacts with many substances as it is very powerful oxidant. In the mixture of many different substances it first reacts with molecules that easier to break down. Vitamin C is anti-oxidant and will react with Iodine promptly. If we mix vitamin C and starch and will gradually add iodine into this mixture, iodine will only react with vitamin C, ignoring starch. When mixture ran out of vitamin C Iodine will react with starch. This reaction has very distinctive dark blue color output. As soon as all the vitamin C reacts with iodine next drop of iodine will react with starch and turn the mixture into dark blue. Starch here acts as an indicator, which shows us that all the vitamin C has reacted with iodine. Thus we can find out the exact amount of iodine needed to react with vitamin C. Knowing that we can calculate amount of vitamin C in the mixture.This method is known as titration of vitamin C with iodine in presence of starch, as indicator.

At home you can use 2 methods to do that - distillation and crystallization.

Materials:

  • Iodine solution .
  • Starch
  • Vitamin C tablets
  • Fruits and vegetable juices
  • Big glass jar
  • 500 ml measure
  • 20 ml measure
  • Two glasses
  • Eye dropper


All you need for Vitamin C titration: Iodine solution, Tablet of Vitamin C, eye dropper, water, couple of glasses and starch.

To find the amount of vitamin C in a sample we need to know how many drops of iodine solution needed to react with known amount of vitamin C. For this we'll prepare 1mg/ml solution of vitamin C.

Procedure:

  • Take a big glass jar and fill it up with 500 ml of water.
  • Crush one (500mg) or two (250 mg) tablet of vitamin C and put it in the jar, stir it well, until vitamin C tablet dissolves.
  • This way you'll get 1 mg/ml solution of vitamin C.
  • Measure 20 ml of that solution, bring it to another glass and add about half glass of water.
  • This glass will contain 20 mg of vitamin C.


Two crushed 500mg vitamin C tablets.

Now prepare starch solution. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of starch in small amount of cold water (1-2 tablespoons) and bring it into a half glass of boiling-hot water. Stir it well, until starch dissolves and let it cool. Take 1 teaspoon of starch solution and add to the glass with 20 mg of vitamin C.


Starch solution and 1mg/ml Vitamin C solutions are ready to use.

With an eye dropper take some iodine solution and slowly, drop by drop start adding it into vitamin C and starch mixture, counting drops. Stir the mixture well at the same time.


Add Iodine one drop at a time and stir solution well.

As soon as Iodine will oxidize all the vitamin C in solution, it begins to react with starch and the mixture will turn dark blue. Write down how many drops of Iodine solution needed to change the color of the mixture. Stir the mixture and make sure that color is stable. The number of drops of Iodine solution you've got is very important data. It will allow you to measure the amount of vitamin C in any other mixture (if you use the same Iodine solution and the same eye dropper).

On the images below we show the stages of titration process. In the beginning the solution is rich with vitamin C. You can see that color reaction starts to happen around the droplet of Iodine, but it quickly disappear as Vitamin C "takes over" (A). Later when Vitamin C has almost gone pale blue color spreads in the whole volume of solution and disappears slowly. This is the sign that titration is almost complete!


Titration process at the beginning and almost at the end.

You will know when titration is complete. The solution will turn very rich dark blue color and will not change during next few minutes.


The Mission Complete. The dark blue color of solution tells us that all the Vitamin C has gone.

Now when we know the amount of Iodine solution needed for 20 mg of Vitamin C. we can find Vitamin C concentrations in other solutions. It's important to use the same eye dropper and same Iodine solution. You should take the same volume of the sample solution - 20 ml to simplify calculations. Put sample in a glass and add water and starch as we described above, titration process is the same.

If you followed the procedure and used 20ml samples, then you can use very simple formula to find the amount of Vitamin C in mg per 1 ml of your sample:

Sample mg/ml = Drops used per sample/Drops used for 1mg/ml solution.

We did the test with Cranberry Juice and got following results:

12 drops of Iodine used to oxidize Vitamin C in 20 ml of Cranberry Juice.

44 drops of Iodine used to oxidize Vitamin C in 1 mg/ml solution.

VitaminC in Juice = 12/44

VitaminC in Juice = 0.272mg/ml

So we found that we have 0.272mg of Vitamin C per ml of the juice. Note that if you decide to repeat this experiment you can not use our numbers due ton the possible variety in eyedropper diameters and therefore volume of iodine drops as well as differences in Iodine concentrations in the bottle.

Some Vitamin C science projects and experiments you can do using this method:

  • Measure Vitamin C concentration in different juices from the grocery store, compare the results with concentrations indicated on the juice labels.
  • Measure concentration of vitamin C in different fruits. Is there a difference between fresh fruit juice and juice from supermarket?
  • Study natural depletion of Vitamin C. How fast oxygen from atmosphere oxidize Vitamin C?
  • Study natural depletion of vitamin C: how fast vitamin C degrade in boiling water?



5. Need more ideas?

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