2. Choosing a Topic
Finding an idea for your project can be the hardest part. Many students have sent us questions on topic ideas. Ideas for science fair projects can come from many sources, of course, but the following sites are great places to start to look for topic ideas!
IMPORTANT: Your science fair may have rules about not using people or animals as test subjects or about not using any dangerous equipment. Make sure you get your project approved by your teacher!
Getting Good Ideas
If you need help deciding what type of project you want to do, look at these websites first. They’ll show you ways to think about the topics that interest you. Then scroll down to Ideas & Projects to get more specific ideas about what you want to do.
Find your motivation. Learn how to get good topic ideas by thinking about what you enjoy, what you’re really curious about, asking questions, and turning a hobby into a project.
Cyber Fair: Idea Generation
Offers sample topics, as well as tips and hints for thinking up your own ideas. Also shows how to find topics that are interesting to you. Let your imagination run wild.
Science Buddies Topic Selection Wizard
The Topic Selection Wizard will help ask you enough questions to decide what kind of science you’ll most enjoy doing. An excellent aid!
Twin Groves Middle School
Gives excellent advice on using your own observations to generate a broad idea and then narrow it down to a workable idea. With many links to topics, organized by category.
Here are websites that can get you started in the right direction. Some of them present full projects, while others offer ideas for a research question. Remember, your judges usually give higher scores for the most original projects, so repeating someone else’s work probably isn’t the way to win awards.
The symbols after each website name indicate the types of projects or ideas that you can find there. Remember to choose a topic that interests you and have fun with your project!
Animals & Zoology
Plants & Biology
Earth, Sky, Environment
Physics, Electricity & Magnetism
Machines & Engineering
Human Health & Behavior
Agricultural Ideas for Science Fair Projects
Agriculture usually doesn’t get a category at science fairs, but the ideas here for agricultural science fair projects can lead you to projects in botany, chemistry, environmental science, or even medicine.
All Science Fair Projects
Find hundreds of projects under Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Earth Sciences, and Engineering. Browse through the projects, or use the search engine to find a specific topic and complete instructions.
Bug Info: Science Fair Project Suggestions
Love bugs? BugInfo describes several projects and explains how to conduct them.
Canadian Mathematical Society: Math Projects
Math projects, including numbering systems, geometry, game theory, and more, at various levels of difficulty. Some of these ideas are probably best left for high school projects, but some topics include links to helpful reference sites.
DragonflyTV’s Science Fair Page
Try the Super Science Spinner to find a project idea, or scroll down to the list of projects. You’ll see each project described, with a few suggestions on how you can turn this idea into a brand new project that’s all your own.
Education.com – Science Fair Project Ideas
Offers many science fair project ideas involving the solar system, weather, agriculture, and mathematics.
Electronics for Kids
Here are a dozen projects you can do that will teach you about electricity and magnetism. These are simple and don’t require much money or equipment.
Energy Quest Science Fair Projects
Ideas from the California Energy Commission on all kinds of energy topics: Chemical/Stored, Electrical, Geothermal, Hydrological (Water), Nuclear, Solar, and Wind Energy. Also ideas on Saving Energy and Transportation.
Exploratorium: The Science Explorer
"Get Messy, Get Airborne, Get Loud, Get Shocked! Try These Activities." From blowing, bouncing, bursting bubbles to dramatic static, this site tells you what you need, what to do, as well as explaining what’s going on.
Fun Science Gallery: Experiments in Electrochemistry
Learn to measure electrical conductivity and make several kinds of battery. (Did you know you can get electricity from a lemon?) Good projects if you like to work with your hands and build things.
The Franklin Institute: Science Fair Activities
Science fair projects under categories such as bioscience, communications, computers, earth science, energy, mathematics, oceanography, physical sciences, space transportation. Level of difficulty is indicated (K-8), and each project has a complete description of how it is performed.
Lousiana Region 5 Science & Engineering Fair
Lots and lots of ideas here, across many different topics. Great place for ideas but topics aren’t sorted by difficulty, so you’ll need to search to find the sort of project that would not be too hard or too easy.
MadSci Network Experiments
"Science should be fun…science should be edible…" Not all of these projects are edible, but don’t worry – they warn you which ones aren’t, and also which ones should have an adult present. Categories covered are: Astronomy, Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Mathematics, and Physics.
National Student Research Center
Find student summaries of their projects spanning 1993-2001. Topics are listed near the top of each project page, making it easy to decide if you wish to read further. An excellent source of ideas that should not be overlooked!
Neuroscience for Kids: Experiments and Activities
Can your eyes deceive you? Do you remember your dreams? Can you build a model of the nervous system? Dr. Chudler publishes a long list of games and creative ideas for Neuroscience science fair projects. Projects are good for grades 3-12.
Ohio State University: Science Fair Topics
Ohio State University’s "Breads of the Harvest" program describes some agriculture-related projects here. You’ll want to be creative and not just repeat these projects, but they do show you how to present a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, draw a conclusion, and then report it all.
Northern Illinois University: Science Fair Ideas
Excellent questions that could lead to awesome chemistry experiments .
Parenting Teens: Project Ideas for Science Fairs
A lot of variety in this collection of ideas presented as specific topics, but without telling you how to do them. With a little creativity, you should find it easy to turn one of these topic ideas into a project of your own!
Photosynthesis Science Fair Ideas: Arizona State University
Questions that might help you start a science fair project on photosynthesis. (Not sure what that is? Follow the link to "What is Photosynthesis?") These ideas are just to get you started – you’ll have to work out the project yourself.
You’ll be amazed at how many different categories of science are related to agriculture!
PNM: Science Fair
If you’re interested in energy, here are some questions that can easily be turned into a research project.
The Science Club: Kid’s Science Projects
Interesting simple, medium, and advanced projects and fun toys that you can build and that demonstrate physical and electronic properties.
Science Fair Central: Project Ideas
"Remember, your science fair project should start with a question." Here are some questions that could make great science fair projects. The topics include "Animals and Insects," "Food and Our Bodies," and "Plants and Gardening,"and several Earth Science categories.
Science Fair Idea Exchange
Read what other students have done in the areas of Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and Psychology for simple, medium, or advanced projects. Some students describe their projects completely, while others just tell you the main idea.
A list of many, many topic ideas, organized by difficulty and category. These aren’t detailed projects by themselves, but something here is sure to put an idea into your head!
Science News for Kids
Four years’ worth of project ideas, under 9 different categories. Some give only the research question, while others have links to the actual projects.
Here’s another collection of student projects. The descriptions are fairly brief, but there’s enough information here to show you how each experiment was conducted.
Student Idea Exchange at Dr. Shawn’s Tail-Kicking Science Projects
Kids from all over the country share their science fair project ideas. They describe the project, their method, and sometimes tell you what awards they won.
USGS Learning Web
Learn how to build a table-top model that demonstrates the causes of an earthquake, a model that demonstrates the spreading of the ocean floor, your own weather station, or how to collect fascinating slimes off the rocks in your neighborhood.
USGS Science Fair Ideas
The U.S. Geological Survey provides a fun list of project ideas for studying earthquakes and other types of ground movement. You can also find instructions for building an earthquake simulator.
Complete how-to instructions for building several different types of model volcano. Projects for all ages.