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Feedback Q&A on Science Projects

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 162 comments and questions on Science Project issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.



List of most recent 10 letters

Topic

Title

Country

Resources Thanks for the resources USA
 
Static Electricity Suggested experiment USA
 
Measure Volume of Irregularly Shaped Object Amount of liquid in a certain vessel India
 
Forces Pulling glass sheets and water apart South Korea
 
Measure Volume of Irregularly Shaped Object Volume of a cone Zimbabwe
 
General Project resource from student USA
 
Reasons for Poor Grades Experiment needs a control group USA
 
Measure Friction with a Scale Calculate friction of an orange Nigeria
 
Relationship Between Water Pressure and Depths Is this useful for watering plants? India
 
Thermos Project on vacuum insulation USA
 

Next 10

 





Thanks for the resources

Topic: Resources

Question

April 13, 2017

My daughter Ava and I just wanted to reach out and say thank you for your Experiments Resources page. Ava has expressed a real interest in (and knack for) science the past couple of years. This year she decided to join the school's science club - a HUGE step for her. She's generally very introverted and shy. My husband and I haven't been successful in getting her to join anything until now.

Since joining the club she's been constantly on the hunt for new science websites and experiments to try. She came across your page and it has been so great for her I wanted to reach out and say thank you. I can't tell you how happy I am that she's found a hobby she loves so much - especially an educational one!

When I told Ava I was going to email you to thank you for your page, she suggested (insisted) I tell you about this other page she loves on "Car Science Experiments." She thought it might be a good addition to your page. I know the science club used one of the experiment ideas on there for rubber band cars or something of that nature - so hopefully you find some use for it too.

Thanks again and enjoy the rest of your week!

Susan - USA

27999

Answer

I'm glad that the material has been useful to Ava. It is great that she has found an interest and knack in science and experiments. Her love of science can go beyond a hobby into a great career. And I am sure she will be successful in the things she does.

I added the link for the Car Science Experiments on the Experiments Resources page and included a "thank you" to Ava.

I am sure you are proud of your daughter. Best wishes to her success.

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Suggested experiment

Topic: Static Electricity

Question

February 18, 2017

In answer to the Cambodia teacher. I taught math/science camp. Retired math teacher. Shred tissue paper up into tiny pieces, use a plastic notebook binder sheet to pick up shreds with static electricity, kids k-12 love the experiment, plus it's cheap. MK BS M Ed. I even had Pre-K students try it.

Martha - USA

27887

Answer

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll pass it on.

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Amount of liquid in a certain vessel

Topic: Measure Volume of Irregularly Shaped Object

Question

February 1, 2017

Hello sir my question is that there is a non uniform vessel which volume is known and there are two valves on it: inlet and outlet. We fill some it with some liquid. Then how do we know how much liquid we filled in with?

praveen - India

27850

Answer

The inlet and outlet positions will determine how much liquid can be put in the vessel, according to the height of the lowest valve.

You could fill the vessel until the liquid starts coming out of the output valve. Then pour the liquid into a regular shaped container to measure the volume of the liquid.

It seems like extra work, but that is the best way to do it.

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Pulling glass sheets and water apart

Topic: Forces

Question

December 30, 2016

Hello. I am currently a high school student in South Korea. I was assigned to conduct a physics research project in school, but I really cannot even get started on solving it. I read some lessons on your website, and I was wondering if you could help me.

The question is: Investigate the various forces involved when you try to separate two sheets of glass separated by a thin layer of water.

So far, I've found that two main forces will work to make separating the glass harder. First is the fact that you have to break the bonds within the film of water to separate the two sheets, and the second is that sandwiching water between the two sheets creates a pseudo- vacuum which means that air pressure will be pressing down in all directions, and that is what makes separating them harder.

Any and all help will be appreciated. You could basically send me a few key terms to help me get my research started, or send me the name of a research paper, or suggest ways for me to get an experiment designed, and have my gratitude forever.

Thank you in advance!

Hojin - South Korea

27725

Answer

If you try to pull the glass sheets apart, keeping the surfaces parallel, vacuum areas will be created within the water. Atmospheric pressure will push the glass sheets together. That pressure is much greater than the adhesive bond of the water on the glass.

However, if you pull the glass sheets apart at an angle--almost like peeling them apart--the only forces will be from the water adhering to the glass.

I am sorry, but I don't know of any research papers that you can refer to.

Best wishes for success in your research project. I am sure you will do a great job at it.

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Volume of a cone

Topic: Measure Volume of Irregularly Shaped Object

Question

July 20, 2016

How can l calculate the volume of cone

Flourish - Zimbabwe

27158

Answer

The equation for the volume of a cone is: V = ?(r^2)h/3 where:
-- ? is pi = 3.14
-- r^2 is the radius of the base squared
-- h is the height of the cone

Thus, if the radius of the base was 2 and the height was 6, the volume would be: 3.14 * 2 * 2 * 6/3 = 25.12

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Project resource from student

Topic: General

Question

July 20, 2016

My name is Jackie, and I'm a summer camp director in Scranton PA. This summer, for the first time, we decided to have a "mad scientist" themed week at camp. Last year we had one fun science day where we made bottle rockets, and it was such a huge hit we decided to kick it up a notch and dedicate an entire week to science this year!

We stumbled upon your page http://www.school-for-champions.com/experiments/resources.htm (thank you google) and it was so helpful to us, I wanted to reach out on behalf of the entire camp and say THANK YOU!:) The same kids that were complaining "I thought this was supposed to be SUMMER why are we doing SCHOOL WORK" were the ones that by Friday were begging me to have another week of science experiments!

One of our campers, Max, let the camp know about another science experiment page he found (he's quite the researcher) called "Science Experiments for All Around Your Home," at http://www.homeadvisor.com/article.show.Science-Experiments-for-All-Around-Your-Home.17372.html . When I told the campers I was going to email you to thank you for your page, Max suggested(insisted) I pass it along to you as a suggestion to add to your resources. Who knew 9 year olds could be so resourceful - and persistent;). Anyway, it is a great resource - my counselors and campers took some awesome ideas from there, so I hope you find use for it too.

Thanks again and have a great summer!

Jackie Campbell

Jackie - USA

27159

Answer

Thanks for the comments and the suggested resource. I included the link in Science Project Resources and included a credit to Max.

Best wishes for success in your summer camp.

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Experiment needs a control group

Topic: Reasons for Poor Grades

Question

July 9, 2016

I find it very concerning (especially in an area as subjective as human behavior) that you did not address appropriate experimental controls. For instance without a control group of students that achieve good grades and also have tattoos (or an infinite cohort of students w/ good grades none of whom have tattoos), one cannot determine the relevance of the condition.

I think it would be much more effective if performed blinded (ie. all the data was collected for all students and then striated based on GPA and analyzed for correlations of various relevant factors). This would also prevent inadvertent bias in data collection or assumptions upon analysis.

Valerie - USA

27138

Answer

Thanks for bringing that to my attention. I simplified the project to make it a survey of opinions. This would be good as a beginner project.

Certainly, including a control group, making sure there is no bias, and doing a thorough analysis would be appropriate for more advanced students. Perhaps is it a project I can suggest down the road.

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Calculate friction of an orange

Topic: Measure Friction with a Scale

Question

June 30, 2016

How to calculate friction of orange in a plan surface using alternative formula that is not involved high sensitive instrument.
Thanks

Chibuko - Nigeria

27111

Answer

If you are sliding the orange along the surface, a simple small spring scale should be sensitive enough to measure the friction resistance. You could also measure the coefficient of friction by using an incline. See Sliding Friction on an Inclined Surface.

However, if the orange is rolling either method is difficult.

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Is this useful for watering plants?

Topic: Relationship Between Water Pressure and Depths

Question

April 17, 2016

What is the useful of these methode,can i watering plants

muhammed - India

26942

Answer

The experiment shows how water pressure is greater the deeper the water is. However, it really is not useful for watering plants. You want to use a watering can or a water hose with pressure to stream the water.

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Project on vacuum insulation

Topic: Thermos

Question

December 28, 2015

Hi, I am a student starting a science fair project on vacuum insulation--my question is what materials make for the best v.i. thermoses? I want to try to make my containers if possible, and I have access to a vacuum pump via an engineering professor at my mom's college. What I need to figure out is what materials I should use to make the outer container so that it can contain a variety of inside containers (plastic, metal, glass). I'm not sure I can do this and would love some tips. I'm writing from my mom's email address. Thanks for any information you might be able to provide; I read your lesson on thermal insulation and it was really useful. Jordan Schwartz.

Gwen - USA

26653

Answer

The first goal of your project is to make a thermos and demonstrate that it works. Then you can do a series of experiments to determine the best inside container. Your hypothesis can be a guess which one you think will be best.

Although you could use a glass jar for your outer container, I'm not sure if it might break if evacuated. Thermos bottles have special glass that is strong enough not to break if most of the air is taken out. Perhaps a metal outside container would be better.

Likewise, you'd have to think about the strength of the inside container that is surrounded by a partial vacuum.

Note that you could make a good thermos using other insulating material, such as Styrofoam, paper, or even popcorn.

I hope these ideas help. Best wishes for success in your project. Let me know how things turn out.

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