5th graders are inquisitive, curious, and willing to experiment with what fascinates them. Science projects give students a chance to understand complex, scientific phenomena through simple experiments. Encourage this need to learn, discover and prod, by introducing them to these fascinating ideas for 5th grade science fair projects.
Science fairs are a gateway to an opportunity where students can display their work proudly, by using various materials that mind-boggle those who chance upon each stall. It’s not only a valuable learning experience, it’s a chance to sharpen their communication skills at a young age; they will be nervous at first while speaking, but it will slowly come naturally once they get into the flow of explaining what their project is about.
5th graders are abuzz with energy and are open to all sorts of things, where science becomes an instant favorite as a subject, as they grow. Devising project ideas for fifth graders shouldn’t be very difficult, since children of this age are eager to experiment.
Kids have questions about the world and are interested to know about why things happen the way they do. They are so enthusiastic, that they’ll do anything to satisfy their hunger for knowledge. They’ll dirty themselves in muck to collect earthworms, enter turbid waters to closely inspect ‘aquatic’ life, or climb tall trees to examine a bird’s nest. Their craving for learning is insatiable where it’s best to channelize this curiosity in the right direction, by encouraging them to participate in science fairs, exhibitions, and project competitions. These 5th grade science fair projects, will teach them how the things around us aren’t as ordinary as they seem.
5th Grade Science Fair Project Ideas
- A cup and a ½ of Epsom salts
- 2 cups of water
- A glass saucepan
- 2½ tablespoons of powdered laundry detergent
- A paint brush
- A medium-sized sheet of ordinary glass
- 2 oz. of dextrin (a.k.a, baked corn starch – optional)
Step 1: Place the glass saucepan over a medium flame on the stove, and pour into this the two cups of water.
Step 2: Wait for the water to start bubbling before adding the Epsom salts. Stir thoroughly for about 30 seconds until some of the salts dissolve, leaving the rest settled at the bottom of the saucepan.
Step 3: Take the saucepan off the heat and stir into this, the powdered laundry detergent and dextrin.
Step 4: Wait for the water to cool down, before using the paint brush to slather the mixture across the glass sheet; leave it aside to dry. If this is too messy, a good alternative would be to pour the mixture in a shallow tub before submerging the glass sheet into it. Leave the tub in a sunlit area for the glass sheet to dry faster, while the excess water evaporates. The result will be a frosted glass with vivid detailing.
What Kids Will Learn
Kids will learn how Epsom salts upon drying, will crystallize to form frost-like deposits across the glass, as it coalesces with the other ingredients to form a stiff bonding. The glass can be used as a decorative piece in the classroom, or at home where it can be on display for all to see post the science fair.
Jack and the Beanstalk
- A handful of beans
- Clay pot
- Watering can
- Rubber gloves
- Paper and colored pencils
Step 1: Choose any kind of beans that you’d like to plant (mung beans, for example), and let kids place these in individual pots. Teach them the importance of using gloves while potting and handling plants, to avoid contaminating their hands.
Step 2: Using an index finger, create little holes in the mud, spacing them apart so that the beans have enough room to grow.
Step 3: Once the beans are tucked into their little mud pockets, cover them up by sliding mud across these openings.
Step 4: Pat the soil gently for a few seconds (to even it out), and then pour a little water into the pot from the watering can. Leave it on a windowsill that receives plenty of sunlight, and have kids water it twice daily during school hours. Have them record their observations by drawing it on paper, and marking each day’s date as well.
What Kids Will Learn
Kids will learn about how plants grow, and what it takes to nurture them into full-grown spectacles. It will ‘sow’ in their hearts the desire to plant something on their own at home, where parents can play a major role in encouraging this particular interest. Beans aren’t the only things that can be experimented with. Try fast-blooming plant varieties like marigolds and cosmos.
- A bunch of colorful leaves
- Large magnifying glass
- Red dye
Step 1: Tear a leaf into half (or scrape the top of it), and stain the exposed edge with a single drop of red dye.
Step 2: Sandwich the leaf between two microscope slides, and have students record their observations under the microscope.
Step 3: They will notice how intricate the inside of a leaf is, as the red dye highlights the transparent bits. It is truly a sight to behold for a 5th grader.
Step 4: After this experiment, take students out into an area where there is an abundance of plant life, and using magnifying glasses, have them record their observations by analyzing flowers, leaves, or even insects.
What Kids Will Learn
Kids will learn about the marvels of nature and how plants look ordinary to the naked eye, but are in fact a whole different story when closely examined. Help them identify the plants that they chance upon, using a reference book that enlists all kinds of flowers and non-flowering plants. The microscope experiment can be used to examine not just leaves, but petals as well.
- 1 sturdy stick
- A handful of pebbles
- Mini clock
Step 1: Find a sunny spot to carry out the experiment, whether it’s at the beach, a backyard, or school playground. Bury the stick in the mud / sand and have kids take notice of the shadow it casts.
Step 2: Explain to them how the shadow will start to shift, depending on the movement of the sun’s rays, much like that of an old-fashioned sundial. Showing them what a sundial looks like beforehand, will make them understand the experiment better.
Step 3: Track the shadow’s movement by keeping a clock on hand, marking the time in a notebook before placing a pebble where the shadow of the stick falls.
Step 4: Tell kids to check on the dial every 3 hours, marking the time in their notebooks along with a diagram of the sundial. They must also place a row of pebbles along the length of the stick’s shadow, and draw the number (that signifies the time) in the mud / sand using a pencil. They must be whole numbers, so that they can create a sundial that has a complete rotation of 9 – 12 – 3 – 6 – 9.
What Kids Will Learn
Kids will learn a fun way of telling the time, and can create their own kind of sundial at home using creative materials. Parents / teachers can help them put a sundial together for the science fair project, using things like cardboard, paint, stickers, glitter, and other imaginative add-ons.
- Celery stalk (or any light-colored flower on its stem)
- Food coloring (any one color)
- Tall glass of water
Step 1: In a glass of water, add 3 tablespoons of desired food coloring, briefly stirring the solution so that the water is a solid color.
Step 2: Place the celery stalk (snip the bulbous end off) or flower in an upright position in the glass of colored water.
Step 3: The following day, students will be in awe to witness the celery stalk / flower carrying coloration changes, that it absorbs from the colored water.
What Kids Will Learn
Kids will learn about how plants sustain themselves, using their roots or exposed ends (like the celery stalk) to suck in water. This experiment doesn’t have to be restricted to a glass of water. To change the colors of white flowers, a potted plant can be watered with colored water instead of regular water. Let students experiment with an entire pot of white lilies or roses, to give them a beautiful blush once water is absorbed.
Other Science Fair Projects to Try
#Demonstrating the laws of motion
# Showing experiments on the uses of solar energy
# Making a volcano model
# Demonstrating the anomalous expansion of water
# Conducting litmus tests to identify acids from bases
# Distinguishing a boiled egg from a raw one
# Experimenting with how music helps plants grow
# Testing the effects of salt on the freezing point of water
# Demonstrating how the color of an object determines its size, according to visual perception
# Testing the effect of temperature on a magnet’s properties
# Making miniature models of simple machines
# Comparing people’s pulse rate from different age groups (using a stethoscope)
# Doing a comparative study of the time taken by different people, to respond to the same stimuli
These ideas for 5th grade science fair projects are a fun mix of different experiments, that kids can try out at home before putting it up on display. Once they get the hang of doing the experiments on their own, have them come up with others that they’d like to try, by performing the experiments in the class laboratory first.
Science projects provide students with the means to apply scientific concepts to a practical situation, experimenting with what they read in books. Projects serve as an excellent learning experience for students, as they can put into practice all the interesting scientific theories they are taught in class. Help students conduct thorough research on the subject of their project. Guide them in the analysis of experimental data and in deriving conclusions. Warn them of the safety precautions they need to take, so as to avoid any mishaps. Most importantly, give these inquisitive young minds the freedom to experiment. You never know, these kids could be ‘scientists-in-the-making’.