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Choose the topic you're interested in. Then adopt one of these ideas or use the list as idea starters to come up with an investigation.

Plants

Easy Testable Questions (recommended for elementary level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
What factors affect seed germination? Factors (e.g. seeds in microwave, soaked seeds, etc.) Amount of water, light and soil nutrients Amount of growth over time
What amounts of light promote algae growth in a fish tank? Hours of light in tank each day (e.g. 24 hrs, 12 hrs, 6hrs, 2 hrs, 0hrs.) Set up of fish tank (e.g. gravel, plants, fish) Amount of algae visible on sides of tank
What medium is best for seeds to sprout? Medium for planting (e.g. soil, cotton, rock wool, peat plugs, sand) Amount of light, water, plant type Growth of plant over time
How does temperature affect the water uptake of celery plants? Temperature of water Size of celery plant, amount of water Water uptake over time
Which parts of a bean seed are needed to grow a healthy bean plant? Seed parts (e.g. 1 cotyledon vs. 2 cotyledons, embryo, full seed) Soil, amount of light, temperature, location Growth and health of bean plant over time
More Complex Testable Questions (recommended for middle school level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
How are transpiration rates affected by the measured area of a leaf? Size area of leaves, type of leaf Number of leaves in transpiration collection bag, environmental conditions Amount of transpiration

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Animals

Easy Testable Questions (recommended for elementary level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
How does size affect the breathing rates of tropical fish? Size of fish Species of fish, time interval for observation Average number of times different sized fish open and close their mouths over a given time period
How does temperature impact the activity of ants Temperature (eg. room temperature, refrigerator for 8 minutes) Number of ants in enclosed observatory Pace and type of ant activity
How does time of day affect the problem solving ability of a hamster in a maze? Time of day (e.g. morning, noon, night) Maze, incentive Time it takes to complete the maze
How does surface affect the travel rate of a caterpillar? Surfaces (e.g. bumpy, smooth, shiny, scratchy) Time, caterpillar Distance traveled over time
What foods do worms prefer in a compost bin? Type of food (e.g. watermelon rind, coffee grounds, bread, corncobs) Number of and type of worm Amount of food eaten over time
Which conditions attract the most insect pests (mosquitos, flies, gnats)? Conditions (e.g. dark or light clothing, sweet smelling or fragrance free plants, lactic acid/sweat) Time of day, length of time observed Number of insect pests attracted to condition
What natural products are best at repelling insect pests (mosquitos, flies, gnats)? Natural products (e.g. citronella oil, eucalyptus oil, castor oil , peppermint oil, olive oil or vegetable cooking oil) Amount of oil, time of day, length of time observed Number of insect pests attracted to product
What conditions affect the sleep of domesticated puppies? Conditions (e.g. ticking alarm clock, classical music, large stuffed dog, etc.) Species of puppy, age of puppy Amount of time it takes puppy to fall asleep
How does temperature affect the development of a caterpillar? Temperature Age of caterpillar Amount of time for metamorphosis
More Complex Testable Questions (recommended for middle school level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
What type of food and feeder will attract the most cardinals? Bird food and feeder type Location, time of year Number of cardinals attending each type of bird feeder with different foods at a specified time each day
How does moisture affect the tunneling ability of ants? Sand (dry and moist), Soil (dry and moist), Clay (dry and moist) Number of ants; type of closed observatory; temperature, light, food Time it takes for ants to build a tunnel
How do laws/policies on deer affect deer populations? Laws/deer policies in different areas or states Time, data collection methods Number of deer
How do the behaviors of domesticated cats compare to the behaviors of wild cats in zoo captivity? Type of domesticated cat (e.g. calico, Siamese, etc.), type of wild cat (e.g. lion, tiger, bobcat, etc.) Amount of time observed Behaviors observed
Are natural sponges more absorbent than synthetic sponges? Type of natural sponge, type of synthetic sponge Amount of liquid absorbed, sponging method Remaining liquid

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Health/Human Body

Easy Testable Questions (recommended for elementary level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
What conditions impact productivity while doing homework? Conditions (e.g. tv, music, etc.) Time, age/skill level of participants Amount of work completed
How does smell affect taste? Foods Nose plugs, time Ability to identify foods while blindfolded
How do different style pencils or grips affect writing fatigue? Different style pencils or grips Writing phrase, age/skill of participants Amount of time writing before fatigue
Which brand of skin moisturizer lasts the longest? Brand of body lotion Location, amount of lotion Skin dryness over time
Do reflexes change with age? Age of participants Reflex test Participant success at completing reflex task
How does photo-editing affect perception? Photo-editing techniques (e.g. lighting change, cropping, expanding a picture) Original picture Participants perceptions of how a picture makes them feel
How do different liquids affect the health of a simulated tooth? Liquids (e.g. coffee, tea, juice, soda, vinegar, water, flavored water) Simulated tooth (e.g. chicken bone), amount of liquid, amount of time submersed in liquid Characteristics of simulated tooth (e.g. firmness, brittleness, color, etc.)
More Complex Testable Questions (recommended for middle school level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
How do different types of movement activity affect human heart rate? Activity (e.g. walking vs. running, etc.) Same person or people in each trial, starting heart rate, exercise route, temperature) Heart rate of the person(s)
What conditions improve short term memory? Conditions (e.g. mnemonics, rehearsal, association, music) Test, age and initial skill of participants Achievement on memory test
How does air moisture affect healing time of a stuffy nose? Type of moisture (e.g. cool mist, warm mist, no mist), hours of mist (e.g. 2 hrs., 8 hrs.) Age of participants, time onset of stuffy nose Cleansing of nasal passage over time

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Microorganisms

Easy Testable Questions (recommended for elementary level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
What is the best way to reduce odor in shoes? Odor reducing methods (e.g. open air, baking soda, etc.) Type of shoe, initial odor of shoes Odor of shoe over time
At what temperature does a yogurt culture grow best? Temperature Type and amount of milk, yogurt bacteria, container size Time it takes for the milk to turn to yogurt
How does the location of water samples affect the number of micro-organisms observed? Location Amount of water Number and type of micro-organisms
More Complex Testable Questions (recommended for middle school level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
What conditions keep bread mold from growing on bread? Conditions of containment, temperature, moisture Bread mold, type of bread Spread of bread mold over time
How does the bacteria in the mouth of a human, dog, cat, or hamster compare? Animal (human, dog, cat, hamster) Number of scrapes from tongue, time for bacteria to grow Amount of bacteria in culture after specified time
What conditions improve bread yeast growth? Water temperature, nutrient amount (sugar), nutrient type (type of sugar or other nutrient) Container size and shape, amount of water, type of yeast, amount of yeast Height of foam in container

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Environment

Easy Testable Questions (recommended for elementary level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
Does recycled paper decompose more quickly than non-recycled paper? Type of paper Time, location (e.g. depth buried in ground) Condition of the paper
Which type of inside window covering is best for saving energy? Type of window treatment Amount of sunlight, outside temperature, time Inside temperature
How does oil affect the growth of aquatic plants? Concentration or amount of oil Amount or water, number/type of aquatic plants Condition of plant
How does “acid” rain affect plant growth? Various concentrations of vinegar Type of plant, amount of light, soil nutrients Condition of the plant over time
More Complex Testable Questions (recommended for middle school level)
Testable Question What is Tested? What Stays the Same? Data Collected
Which conditions will result in more people recycling? Recycling strategies and promotion Amount of time, amount of materials available for recycling Recycling rate
Are eco-friendly packing materials as effective as less eco-friendly materials when packing a breakable object? Packing materials (e.g. Styrofoam, cornstarch, paper) Breakable object, size of box, drop height Condition of object
What strategies are best for increasing gas mileage? Gas saving strategy (e.g. tune up, type of gas, motor oil, time of day gas is pumped, tire pressure) Initial amount of gas, initial car mileage, type and brand of gas, travel route Distance traveled per gallon

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