Two Examples of Good Experiments:
Both of these experiments are easy enough to be done by Middle School students and yet complex enough to be suitable for a High School Science Project. I know students who have done similar projects. The first one is most difficult.
Experiment 1: The Development of Frog Eggs
You might decide that temperature makes no difference, that all frog eggs will develop at the same rate.
Frog eggs can be collected from a pond or swampy area or bought from a science supply company.
You need at least two containers of pond water (not treated water). Fish tanks are a good choice because there is more space. Using three or four containers would be better but take more work.
You need a way to keep each container at a different temperature. A simple way to do this is to keep one in a cold place, perhaps in a basement or garage and the other inside the house. You might also have a small heater in one tank and not in the other. Either way, the temperatures will not be constant but one should be warmer than the other. All other conditions should be the same, the size of the containers, the source of the water, the amount of light, etc.
a. Fill the containers with about the same amount of water taken from the same source
b. Use your chosen procedure to make the water in one tank warmer than in the other tank. Measure the temperatures regularly (daily) at the same time.
c. You can assume that one clump was laid at the same time. Divide it into fairly equal sizes putting one part of the clump in each container.
d. Keep a daily record of observations. You might use a magnifying glass to observe the eggs. You might remove an egg once or twice a week from each tank, and draw a picture of what you see. If you have access to a camera and can take closeup pictures, that would be even more helpful. You can buy a magnifying lens to put on a camera.
e. When the tiny tadpoles escape from their eggs, try to estimate or count the number of tadpoles swimming freely each day. They don’t all develop at the same time.
f. If you have time, you might continue to study when they develop legs, etc.
5. Analyze Data:
Use a graph to show the temperatures in the two tanks. Add notes to indicate when you observed various stages of development.
Write a Description of your question, hypothesis, methods, and results. Finish with a carefully reasoned conclusion. If they developed at a different rate, was it really because of the temperature differences or were there other variables you had not made the same? And no, I won’t tell you what the result will be.
Experiment 2: The Relationship between Rainfall and Acidity of a Pond
Perhaps you have been learning about acid rain and the damage it does.
Does the depth of water in a pond affect the acidity level?
Deeper water will be less acid (more dilution)
Containers for collecting water, labels to write depth, material for measuring acidity like the litmus paper shown in the picture, A Meter-stick to measure water depth, a rain gauge to measure rainfall.
Watch weather forecasts. Before and after each predicted rain, measure the water in ten areas of the pond ranging from shallow water to deeper water. (You could measure ankle depth, knee depth, hip depth, waist depth. Collect five samples from different parts of the pond at about the same depth each time.
Test each water same for the level of acidity.
Record the amount of rainfall. Test the rain samples for level of acidity.
5. Analyze the data:
Use tables or charts to show the acidity before and after each rainfall. Average the data for each depth. In a separate table, show the rainfall amounts and average acidity at each depth. You might compare the data for the three times with the least rain, the three with an average amount of rain, and three events with the most rain.
Be sure to keep observations on other factors that might be affecting the acidity. When you have a heavier rain does fertilizer or other chemicals get washed into the pond? Are there animals living near the pond whose wastes might affect the acidity.?