Science Fair Topic Ideas in Earth Science

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Science Fair Topic Ideas in Earth Science

A student explains the solar system to her classmates.
A student explains the solar system to her classmates. Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

Earth science is one of the most prevalent categories of science projects. The Earth sciences, or geosciences, are a collective name for the study of the natural processes of the Earth, specifically how matter and energy manifest in those natural processes.

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Tornado Science Fair Experiments

There’s a lot to learn about tornadoes, giving your child a number of science fair projects to choose from. Some of the questions commonly asked about tornadoes are how do they form, what types of weather are needed to create a tornado and why do tornadoes only form in some states and not others.

To create a mini-tornado as part of a demonstration for your project, fill a plastic bottle with water about three-quarters full, and add some dishwashing liquid. To make the tornado a little more visible, add something sparkly like sugar or glitter (just a dash, not too much). Secure the cap tightly on the bottle, turn it upside town and hold it by the neck. Spin it around until you can see a "tornado" forming inside.

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Water Cycle and Evaporation Science Fair Ideas

A graphic showing the water cycle.
A graphic showing the water cycle. Anil Yanik/Getty Images

The water cycle may not sound as interesting as other earth science ideas, but there’s a lot to learn. Your child can set up an experiment about evaporation, looking at different factors that influence how it works. He could also explore how pollution or salinity affect the water cycle. One of the best water cycle and evaporation science fair ideas I've seen was a student who became a water droplet and took the "Trip of a Drip."

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The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect on Earth.
The greenhouse effect on Earth. Encyclopedia Britannica/UIG/Getty Images

The greenhouse effect is a hot topic (ha, get it!?) in Earth Science and ripe for exploration for science fair projects. Your child could build solar hot boxes (or ovens) to show how the greenhouse effect works or do some research to explain how the greenhouse effect can change weather patterns.

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Fossils and the Science Fair

A dinosaur skeleton.
A dinosaur skeleton. Carl Court/Getty Images

Projects about fossils are an exciting part of the science fair, whether you're looking at a diplodocus or a Tyrannosaur. The possibilities are many; your child could explain what fossils are, how fossils form, make his own fossils or identify the different types of fossils. Why were dinosaur bones found where they were? What led to their extinction? What did they eat, and what animals alive today are their descendants?

There are kits to build a mini dinosaur structure that would provide a nice display for the project, and teach your student about dinosaur anatomy at the same time.

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Recycling and Biodegradable Material Science Projects

Though having your kids root around in the recycling bin might sound awful to a parent, there are a lot of options to explore for project ideas. Your child may want to figure out which materials are biodegradable and which are not or she might simply want to begin a compost container. She could visit a recycling center and create a presentation on the process of recycling. What are the rules around recycling in your town, and why is it so important to recycle?

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