Grades 1-3 Science Projects Archive

  • Does Peeling Fruit Make it Deteriorate Faster?

    When you have too many seasonal fruits in your kitchen, you often want to taste them all at the same time. There are times when you pick a bunch of them and peel them all at the same time for convenient eating. Yet, have you ever thought that peeling the fruit removes its first layer of protection?

    Like other organic substances, fruits need protection, even if they are still up in their trees. Once they are a picked, they start to deteriorate because they lose their living connection of nutrients. Their skin delays their deterioration.

    Before you start this experiment, consider the many factors that contribute to the deterioration of fruits:
    • Microorganisms
    • Excess moisture
    • Exposure to oxygen
    • Extreme temperatures

    When a fruit starts to rot, it breaks down into simpler substances. This is the process of decomposition. It is nature’s way of recycling, which is imperative to keep matter in biome. In the natural world, the faster something decomposes, the better. This is because all the raw materials are returned to the soil much quicker. Once in the soil, other organisms can start using them immediately.

    The Question stated:
    Does peeling a fruit make it rot more quickly?
    What you need:
    • Two each of the following
    o Oranges
    o Apples
    o Strawberries
    o Peaches
    • Pen and paper for your notes
    • Knife
    • Small plastic bags

    How you do it:
    *** Note that this experiment yields the best results during winter. There are usually no bugs during this time of year.
    1. Take one of each fruit and cut it in two. Place them in small plastic bags.
    2. Take each of the whole fruit and place them in separate plastic bags.
    3. Observe the process of decomposition that happens daily.
    4. Note which of the fruits starts to rot first.
    5. Make a record of your observations with the use of a chart.

    REFERENCE LINK: https://www.education.com/science-fair/article/does-opening-fruit-up-cause-it-to-rot-faster/

  • How to Turn Veggies into Batteries

    Batteries from veggies

     

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    Ok, the above image is a bit of an exaggeration, but batteries do generate electricity (so to speak) by using two dissimilar metals and an electrolytic solution. This is the same principle that is used to turn veggies into batteries since vegetables and fruits are filled with natural electrolytic material, the most important component for electrically charged ions to move from one “pole” to another.  In other words, they can help electric current to flow under the right conditions.

    Necessary materials

    Potatoes are popularly used for making batteries with as many pairs of dissimilar metals as there are potatoes. The metals need to have sharp edges so that they can easily cut through the potatoes and make necessary contacts.

    While copper and zinc are the most common metal choices, you can also try other metal pairs like copper and aluminium, copper and iron, aluminium and iron and so on. You’ll need as many short pairs of wire stripped at the edges as metal pairs. You also need an LED light preferably a red one as it’s more visible in daytime and requires minimum voltage for bright illumination.

    Procedure

    Clean the potatoes and metal pieces to remove mud and dust particles. Scrub the metal pieces with sandpaper for a polished look. Secure the potatoes in containers and align them. Alternately insert the metals, starting from the first potato to the last.

    Use the given wires and a soldering iron to connect the alternate metal strips from one potato to the other so that two ends of metals from the two extreme potatoes are free and open.

    Add longer pieces of flexible wires to these ends and connect to the LED. If all connections are properly done, the LED will instantly give a bright glow, proving that there’s a reaction between the metals and potato’s electrolyte and a battery is formed!

    Other fruits and vegetables

    Not only potatoes, even lemons can generate electricity using similar metals, wires and an LED light. But lemons are more efficient at generating electricity as they are acidic in nature. Even bananas and strawberries can be made into batteries using the same principle.

    Potatoes are most popular as they are rich in phosphoric acid, easily available and can be stored for months without attracting insects because of its sturdy starch tissue.

     

    For a more in depth look at each, see the potato battery, lemon battery and the apple battery projects on this site.

     

    Or for a more prepared experiment, try one of these project kits …

     

               

     

     

     

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  • Beneficial Insects For Your Garden

    Borage Plant in Bloom

    Beneficial Insects For Your Garden

    The amount of time spent on this project can vary. If you choose to plant your plants from seeds, it will take longer before you can actually begin your project unless you watch from the time your plants sprout. You can also choose to get plants that are already grown and simply transplant them into the garden that you’re watching. The idea here is to attract certain types of insects to your garden that are beneficial to the entire garden.

    Question: When you plant specific plants in your garden, does it increase the number of beneficial insects? Are there certain plants that attract these insects?

    Materials:

    • Insect ID book
    • Tape measure
    • Borage plants – 5
    • Notebook and pen
    • Timer or watch

    Instructions:

    1. Bugs love flowers. Flowers attract insects and many times those insects are beneficial to the garden. Some insects, such as bees, help pollinate crops. Other insects will eat the insects that are trying to eat your crops. So, which insects are good and which ones are bad?
    2. If you place certain plants in your garden, will it increase the good insects? Begin by creating your hypothesis and tell us what you think will happen.
    3. You will want to do this experiment during the spring, summer or early fall. Basically when there are plenty of insects around.
    4. You should begin before adding your plants to the garden. Sit outside and pay attention to what insects are frequenting your garden already. Take note of the species and what they’re doing. You need to identify them and write them down in your notebook. If you have trouble, this is where your insect identification book will come in handy.
    5. Mark off a small section of the garden and do a timed experiment. In a 3’x3′ area on a sunny day, take about 30 minutes to seriously observe what insects enter your sectioned off area. Make sure that you note the time in your notebook because you’ll be doing this again on another day and will want to watch at the same time of day.
    6. Write down the number of insects that you see in that 30 minute period. What type and how many of those insects are in your area? Document it.
    7. Once you’re done doing the timed experiment, plant your borage in that sectioned off area. In this experiment, we are going to plant 5 borage plants that are already in bloom to save time. Make sure that you water them and then leave them alone to adjust to their new environment. This will take about 3 days.
    8. Wait for a day that is as sunny as the first day that you went out to observe. Count the number of insects that enter the plot area beginning at the same time that you observed last time. So if you observed from 12pm to 12:30pm, make sure that you observe at the same time this time too. Are there more insects? Are there less? What kinds of insects are there? Are there any new ones?

    End result:

    The plants that you placed into your garden should have attracted more beneficial insects. Beneficial insects are vital to a well-tended garden. We may water and use plant food, but beneficial insects help to keep the garden healthy by eating the bad insects that will destroy your plants. Some of these insects also help the soil in your garden.

    For example:

    If your garden is full of aphids, you will want to lure more ladybugs into your garden because ladybugs eat aphids. This action will help to bring balance to your garden. Anything that helps to pollinate your flowers is also a beneficial insect. This doesn’t mean that it has to be bees.