Copyright 2014-2017, Northern Illinois Regional Science Fair and Dawn Boyer
Ideas 3: Chemistry, Physics
Different kinds of sidewalk salt: what makes them different? How do they melt ice?
Why is beet juice being used on our roads to melt ice? How much does it help?
Molecules, Ions, Atoms
What properties are associated with each type of material? Hardness? Brittleness? Conductivities of electricity/cold & heat, etc.
What are atoms made of? Show at least one model; there have been 3-4 ideas over the years. More than one idea exists now! See info on the Common Sense Science web
What is a neutron bomb? What effects could it have?
Magnetism and electricity
Make an electromagnet, and explain why it works.
Make a permanent magnet, and explain how it's done. What can make it no longer magnetic?
Why does rubbing a balloon make it cling to a wall? What other things get accidentally magnetized or “filled with static electricity” around your house?
Does water cool off faster if it was boiled in a microwave oven vs. being boiled on top of a stove?
How much insulation does snow provide? Example: a thermometer sits in a bed of snow, with snow covering the bulb, is showing a temp of almost 32 degrees, while one outdoors with no snow cover shows about 14 degrees.
What substances in some rocks are radioactive? Can radioactive materials make other materials radioactive?
How were X-rays discovered?
What IS light?
Window film that blocks UV rays (such as JC Penney's "CoolVu"): How does it affect fading of fabrics? Does it affect growth of houseplants that live behind it? How can a film keep out only certain types of light, like ultraviolet wavelengths?
How many colors are there in sunlight? In light from other stars? From different types of light bulbs, like incandescent, neon, CFL, sodium vapor, etc.? Why does a type of light source make some colors almost disappear, and others look stronger? Make a simple spectroscope to show the individual light colors in different types of light.
What is polarized light? Why would we want to polarize light? How do bees and other organisms use polarization of light? How do we encounter polarized light in daily life?
What is luminescence vs. fluorescence?
Kinds of black lights and their uses. Could show how different materials fluoresce under different black lights. Ex.: Some foods, papers, rocks, diamonds fluoresce in different colors! Why?
Make a dark box with a black light to light up a collection of fluorescent items
Cameras and Lenses
How does a camera work? Film cameras vs. digital.
Show how different shapes and materials bend light in different ways. How do we use lenses?
How do different coatings affect lens performance?
Pinhole camera: why can a pinhole work for a simple lens?