Stay away from volcanoes, pre-designed science fair kits, and anything involving plants because they take too long to grow and if something goes wrong, you're SOL because you don't have time to regrow it.
Judges like hands-on projects. Let them turn knobs and push buttons.
Okay, more specific ideas (these are coming right off the top of my head so forgive any crudeness or impractical advice):
Build a WORKING human heart. Make it yourself - a cutaway model showing the different working chambers of the heart. You can demonstrate the path of blood with simple plumbing (check out the hardware store for vinyl tubing, 1/4" or smaller) and Hawaiian Punch. I'd also find a pump of some kind (maybe hacked out of one of those new age, battery-operated desk fountains) so that the entire project worked on a switch. I'd supply a link on basic wiring, but you said no links.
My girlfriend's old chemistry teacher conducted research of her own on the local lake's amoeba levels. My biology teacher participated in locally televised news stories and evolution debates. This is probably what the kind of people that will be judging you also do in their spare time; I think it will be helpful to understand the judges' mentalities and do something that tickles their curiosity.
Think about what's around you, something that affects everyone at the science fair. There will probably be a bazillion projects about global warming, so you'll probably want to steer clear of that. Zero in on something unique, something relatively easy to actively research, in your nearby surroundings. Toxins in the lake, chemicals in the water supply, threats to the endangered state bird, etc.
Again from the pleasing the judge angle: I think they really want to see students engaged. If you're extremely interested in the project, it will show and you'll probably get points for that.
I love science pretty much more than anything. I won one of the top prizes in my own science fair.
· 1 decade ago