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Science Project ideas

Requested in Science & Technology by a contributor
edited by Dreamer

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Kids love science. A simple science experiment idea that makes them curious about how it works is the standard volcano. Although it may be a bit cliché, it is relatively simple to set up, fun to create, and has a nice showy finale. Better yet, it is made of materials that can be found easily in almost any kitchen and can be as simple or as complex as desired. With a little bit of imagination, the lava can be colored in a number of ways, making it even more interesting.
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Frozen Ferris Wheel

Imagine a small, desktop-sized toy Ferris Wheel. Each bucket on the wheel is positioned in 10 degree increments on the rim of the wheel. Nothing is in the bottom bucket. In the first bucket on the left, at the 10 degree mark, there's a small magnet. In the next bucket above it on the left (at the 20 degree mark), there's a little bit bigger magnet. Continuing in this clockwise direction, each bucket gets an increasingly bigger magnet until you reach the bucket at 270 degree mark (3 o'clock on your watch if it's not a digital watch). Every bucket after that is empty.

Now for the fun part. There's a wood axle in the middle of this Ferris Wheel and it has one wood spoke attached to it, pointing straight down. A little ways up the spoke there's a hinged piece of panel that looks sort of like a hood. If the spoke was turned to the left this hood would move away from it a little bit but not too far. Okay, now we attach a piece of iron to the end of the spoke. If the calculations work out then this spoke will be attracted to the 1st bucket, then the 2nd, then the 3rd, etc... since each bucket would exert a stronger and stronger magnetic pull on it. When it passed the 180 degree mark (pointing straight up) the magnets would continue to pull it in a clockwise direction.

Shortly after that the hood on its hinge would be pulled back down towards the spoke thanks to gravity. This hood would be made out of magnetic wood paneling so when it completely covered piece of iron on the end of it the magnets attached to the Ferris Wheel would no longer be able to effect it. Gravity would pull the spoke the rest of the way back down to its original starting position. The spoke would go round and round until... hmm... I'm not sure what would stop it.

Note: If the spoke stops at a balance point between magnets then a flat piece of magnetic wood could be attached underneath it, between the spoke and the hooded piece. This enhancement would cut off the magnetic wave from the lesser magnet as soon as it passed leaving the higher one free to pull the spoke all the way to it.
Shared by TakeFive (8,280 points)

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