Winning Science Projects for Middle Schoolers

There are science projects – and then there are winning science projects. Every middle schooler knows the difference. Crank up the Youtube version of Thomas Dolby’s She Blinded Me with Science, contemplate where you might keep your winning ribbons, and choose this demonstraion that will be the envy of all the newbs at your school:

Biodegradable Plastic
a. You can make plastic in your kitchen by heating 2 cups of milk almost to the boiling point and added 4 teaspoons of vinegar.
b. Stir as curds form and drain into a colander over a glass bowl. Let cool and mold it with your fingers until it’s a dough-like consistency.
c. For a winning exhibit, display pictures of every step of your plastic making. Compare the decomposition of your plastic with petroleum-based plastic (anything you can buy!) like a plastic comb or a small plastic toy by burying each piece in flowerpots filled with wet potting soil. Observe each piece after 1 week of being submerged.
d. Record your findings. The natural plastic you made in your kitchen should show signs of decomposition while the manufactured plastic would remain unchanged…just dirty!
e. Document everything!! Mount the 2 types of plastics on your display board. Label, label, label.
f. Draw your own conclusions. What will happen in a world where few things are biodegradable?

If the judges have a passion for the environment and earth science (and most scientists do) your project will be proudly perceived as thought-provoking and pivotal in prompting people to protect the planet. Platinum pondering, dude! For more great ideas and tips to inspire winning science projects, go to Middle School Science Projects!

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