Copyright 2014-2017, Northern Illinois Regional Science Fair and Dawn Boyer
Ideas 2: Biology
Collect photos/drawings of things wiggling under a microscope, and that were found your backyard, tap water, body, pet's body, skin, floor, bedding, plants, swimming pool, lake, etc. What are they? Are they dangerous? Or helpful?
How do antibiotic-resistant “superbugs” develop? Which harmful ones are known to have developed from non-pathogenic variants? How do new variants develop?
Light use and production by living things
Some animals and plants glow! Why do some jellyfish have rows of moving colored lights down their bodies? Why do some fish in the dark depths of the ocean, glow? Does anyone know why some fungi glow at night? Are they also doing it in daylight?
If you buy fluorescent fish at the store, do they pass on that trait to their young? How did the fish become fluorescent?
How do different living things respond to different colors of light?
We can control flowering of pumpkins growing indoors by changing the lights over them. Can you experiment to see if some other kind of plant [pick a fast grower!] responds as pumpkins do, making male vs. female flowers depending on which kind of grow light is above them?
Animals and Plants
Ex. the Portugese Man o’ War: this “individual” comes together from 4 different types of polyps, making it a colonial animal or “siphonophore”. How does that happen?
Venom resistance: how can some creatures not be stung by stinging tentacles of other creatures? Why can sea slugs eat creatures with venomous spines, and pass the intact spines through their bodies to become the slug’s venomous spines?
Compare the effects of different fertilizers, or amount of light, or colors of light, exposure to morning vs. afternoon vs. noon sunshine, or amounts of water or watering methods, or different soils.
Compare methods of treating pests and diseases. Pick one plant, one pest, or one disease, and try different methods.
Biologists rank living things in a hierarchy: Kingdom/Phylum/Class/Order/Family/Genus/ Species. How do scientists decide what are the same or not the same species? Sometimes, based on different appearances, members of the same species have been thought to be different species, or genera, or even families!
How do multiple species develop from a common ancestor? Evolution or non-evolution of a type of plant or animal:
What evidences exist that all living things are related to each other? Is there evidence against this?
Are there real proto-human ancestors in the fossil record?
Whales, porpoises, other marine mammals - evidences that they have or have not evolved from a land animal
Evidences that birds have/not developed from dinosaurs, or from something else
Instincts - inborn behaviors: what instincts do animals have, and where could those inborn behaviors have come from? Ex.: walking, flying, finding appropriate food and eating, migrating, caring for their young, creating a nest .
Compare the heart and circulatory system, for instance, between different kinds of living things: fish, amphibian, insect, reptile, human… Could such changes evolve from one class of creature into another, and not kill the creature in the process?
Biomimicry: How are scientists finding “nature’s” solutions to needs and applying them to human life? Examples: umbrella was inspired by the bat wing, adhesives from barnacles.
How many different ways do plants and animals reproduce themselves?
How do cells reproduce themselves? What cells do not reproduce? Why not?
Germination of seeds: what affects it for a particular plant?