Science Fair Project Resources

    Kids, it’s that time of year again, right?  When your teachers are asking you to think of science fair project ideas? One of the most common questions that I am asked is to provide ideas for science fair projects.  Since we are all about chemistry here, this article is going to concentrate on projects that emphasize this particular science.  You might be surprised at the vast array of topics that fit under this umbrella!  There is a wonderful resource on the internet from Dr. Anne Marie Helmenstine, a chemist who actually keeps a chemistry blog at

    Please note:  All chemicals and experiments can entail an element of risk, and no experiments should be performed without proper adult supervision.

    There she lists some resources to help you get an early start on your scientific masterpiece for this year, including helpful hints about:

    • The Scientific Method - Before you start looking for project ideas, make sure you understand the concept of a hypothesis and have some ideas on how to test one. Science fair and research projects apply the scientific method. The website has an informal explanation and how it is used.
    • Get a Project Idea - Next it's time for some brainstorming. She suggests ways to come up with ideas that use readily-available materials and don't involve a lot of variables, saying that “science doesn't need to be complicated to be good”.
    • Chemistry How-To Guide - This is a list of activities involving chemistry. You could take one and think of a way to predict and test whether changing one aspect of the activity will have an effect on its outcome.
    • Science Projects with Crystals - There are actually several project topics of course, but crystals are the most popular. There are links to instructions for growing different types of crystals and for designing a great science fair project.
    • Food and Cooking Chemistry – Another very popular topic, links are provided for additional science fair project help and food chemistry information.
    • Do Your Project - Once you have an idea and have planned how to perform your project, it's time to start taking data.

    There are also links provided to some excellent articles & resources at Get help finding a subject, preparing a hypothesis, writing the report, and making a presentation for a science fair project. There is a guide that is suitable for grade school through university level. She also provides a collection of top-rated science fair project books and resources for students, parents, and educators. There are books that describe experiments, a CD-ROM with thousands of pages of ideas, and reference materials for making posters, giving presentations, and understanding the judging process.

    So, armed with all of this information, let the games begin! I hope that you have a terrific time with all of your projects. (There are of course numerous sites on the internet about science fair projects, but this one might be a little off the beaten path and so we thought it was worth highlighting). 


    Kathleen Carrado Gregar, PhD, Argonne National Labs
    November 2005