Archive for science projects

The Robots Who May Feed The Future

The United Kingdom based start up, Small Robot Company, has come up with three robots called Tom, Dick and Harry who may be just what the future of farming need. Let’s take a look at each of the robots in this science project.

Tom is a buggy based robot that lives on a “kennel” in your farm. It monitors the soil and the crop, literally providing feedback on every single plant. Based on it’s data collection and analysis, Tom will suggest chemicals and fertilizers that you should use to maximize your crop harvest.

Then we get to Dick, which is a robot used for precision micro-spraying and weeding of your fields. Dick will not waste excessive chemicals, but will spray the leaves to protect them against pests and put in fertilizers in the roots. Very efficient and ruthless when crushing weeds that compete with your crop.

That leaves us with Harry, who offers precision drilling and seed planting. Harry gives you driverless, super accurate drilling with minimal soil disturbance. It records every individual seed that it has planted and keeps track of it’s germination, helping the farmer know just what percentage of seeds make it to plants.

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Technology to Help the Poor

Many of us living in good homes with proper amenities tend to take energy needs for granted. However in third world countries the demand for such amenities is barely met and can be the cause of great conflict. This is why certain more altruistic members of the scientific community spend time and money in developing technology which can help to improve the lives of the poor. Here are some inventions of recent times that have been hailed by the scientific community and the non profit organizations around the globe.

The Eliodomestico Solar Sill

Designed by Gabriele Diamanti this household sill converts sea water to drinking water using solar power. The award winning design has made it possible for villagers in areas with drinking water shortage to obtain close to five liters of drinking water using this device. The device works sort of like a reverse coffee maker. You pour in the sea water which is then boiled using solar energy and the steam is collected in the lid. This salt free water is then distilled and used for drinking.

The LuminAID light

Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta developed this solar-inflatable light for use in Haiti’s disaster hit areas. The flat light pack takes hardly any space in storage and can be inflated to use as a lantern. The LED based LuminAID light has been used in humanitarian relief aid in the wake of disasters such as Hurricane Isaac and Hurricane Sandy. It is also an easy illumination for people living away from power lines in remote regions.

We will look at a few more similar science projects that have ended up being helpful to humanity at large in the next blog post.

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Air Quality Check Around the Neighborhood

Particles suspended in the air are actually the cause of poor air quality. These polluting air particles are to be measured around the neighborhood in this science project. Here is a list of things that you will need.

Black permanent marker, hole punch, some string, petroleum jelly, magnifying glass, a digital camera, set of 12 card paper squares of about three inch sides. The object of the science project is to test the air quality in three different locations around the neighborhood and in your house.

Pick three locations such as the park, the school yard, the local market or any other place in the neighborhood. In each card paper square  draw a one inch large square with the marker in the middle of the card. Now punch a hole in the right top corner and run some string through it. Leave enough to tie the string from a branch or pole at your chosen location.

Add a coat of petroleum jelly to the one inch square before you tie the card paper up. Each location gets three squares ties up in different areas so make sure you write the location on the card papers. Now leave the paper squares out for a week. This is best done when its not raining.

At the end of seven days collect the card paper squares and make the following observations. Use the magnifying glass to count the number of particles stuck on the square center. Take a photograph with the digital camera. Use a close up feature to get clear results. Now you can compare the air quality in different locations of the neighborhood in the science project.

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Growing Potato Eyes

Did you know that the bumpy blemishes on a potato that’s been on the store shelf too long are called the “eyes” of the potato? And that these “eyes” have nothing to do with sight and everything to do with reproduction of the potato plant.

Its a simple enough concept to understand. Potatoes are underground stems, not roots. So here’s a simple enough science project to watch how the stem grows. You will need about 5 potatoes, 5 brown lunch bags, 5 rubber bands to seal those lunch bags and a knife to cut the potatoes.

The first potato goes into the first brown bag and is sealed with a rubber band. The second potato is cut into two halves and placed into the second brown bag and sealed. The third potato is cut into three pieces and so on till the five bags have been sealed. Now place the brown bags in an area where they will not be disturbed and leave them that way for two weeks.

Once the time is up open out the sealed bags and check how many eyes grew on the potato pieces. Add the number of eyes in each bag irrespective of the number of pieces that the potato had been cut. What did you observe in this science experiment?  Write is all down to form your project.

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Turn an egg into a ball

Can you imagine playing with an egg as you would bounce a ball? Not possible you say as the shell would crack and the egg would splat! But guess what? You can make an egg bounce gently and you don’t have to worry about the shell cracking as you will actually dissolve the shell. Does that sound interesting? Then read on about this science experiment.

First we are going to boil the egg. So make sure that you have an adult help you with the hob and the boiling water. Once the water is boiling cook the egg for a further ten minutes to ensure that all the liquid is solidified. Then let it cool. Once it is cooled down place it in a glass bottle. Now pour vinegar into the bottle till the egg is completely covered.

Shut the lid of the bottle and leave the egg like that in the vinegar for a week. Over the week you will notice that the egg shell will bubble up and gradually dissolve. Now you can take out the shell less egg from the vinegar and play with it like you would with a soft bouncy ball. Did you have fun playing with your bouncy egg? Try out this science experiment based on eggs as well.

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And its gone – Absorption

A spill on the dining table does not exactly sound like the ideal venue for a science lesson, but it can be. Just as the spill is easy to mop up if you have the right kind of wash cloth, the scientific principle of absorption can be explained with a quick practical. Here is a simple science project that you can use to determine what cloth wipes up water spills better than the others. Its simple to do.

Here’s what you will need. A glass of water, a table to create the spills on, and a few different wash cloths made out different fibers and materials. You will also need a stop watch to calculate how fast the cloth wiped up the spill. Note down the readings in a note book so that you can compare the results later.

The process is very easy. You create a spill on the table top with the water that you have. Then you use a wash cloth to absorb it. You note the time it takes for the cloth to soak up all the water. Then you repeat the process with all the different wash cloths that you have. Be sure to make the spills with the same amount of water. Use a peg measure to get the exact same quantity of water on the table each time. Have fun mopping up. Try out some more science projects here.

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And its sunk – Absorption

The full effect of wonder when a sponge moves over a wet surface and leaves it dry is best experienced for the first time as a child. So just what is it about the sponge that allows it to make the fluid disappear from sight? It is the property of absorption. The sponge has a million little holes into which the liquid seeps in and allows the surface to get dried up. And here is a fund science experiment for you to do using the same principle of absorption.

Take a hollow dish about 5 inches tall and a piece of sponge. In the dish add some water to cover about 4 inches height and put the piece of sponge gently into it on top of the water. Does it sink or does it float? It will float. Then after five minutes take a look at the same sponge is it floating or has it sunk? It will have sunk. Or at least it would be closer to the bottom of the dish than to the top.

Why did this happen? Because the piece of sponge is absorbing the water as it is kept afloat on the water. Then it gradually becomes heavier as the volume of water in the sponge increases and now it can no longer float on the water and begins to sink. This is why it will gradually sink to the bottom of the dish. Try out some more science experiments here.

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What renewable energy can you use when living off grid?

Let us continue to explore the science project which involves preparing ourselves to live off grid. To live green we need to stop living the wasteful lifestyle we live on the grid. However living needs some basic chores to be completed. All chores need some energy to be completed.

Naturally some forms of energy will have to be used by us. Since non renewable energy sources are not an option consider what renewable energy sources you can use. There are a number of types of energy for off grid homes. Living green does not mean that you will be totally starved of all types of energy sources. After all you will still need to cook food and heat up your home in the winter.

I am sure you can think of using Solar Power and Wind Power. You can also burn Wood to create heat. Other more advanced but renewable energy sources that you can use include Propane, Water (micro-hydro), and Geothermal energy sources. These take a while to set up, and can be more costly initially as well.

However once you have your green home ready, you can live off grid successfully for many years. Of course this type of a drastic change in lifestyle is not possible for the majority of the population. This means that you need to do what you can at a smaller scale in your own homes.

Use solar powered heaters, or harness wind power to run a water pump. Your electric bills will come down and you will also have the pleasure of contributing to a greener environment. All the best with this go green science project.

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Get Green with your Clothes

Ever wonder how much it cost to put together the clothes that you are wearing? Think of it as a science project. Work out the material that has been used in the clothes. Is it natural or synthetic? If it’s natural it was grown as a crop or on the back of an animal. If it is synthetic it was manufactured chemically.

Why stop at clothes think about accessories like shoes, purses, socks and panty hose. That little black dress with the beads on the yolk which you love to wear. Ever wonder how eco-friendly it was to make? Or was it a large consumer of non renewable energy? Those permanent pressed pants that don’t ever wrinkle? How many chemicals polluted the ground to make them that way?

I’m not saying that being well dressed is a bad thing. Certainly you can’t be expected to go everywhere in your pajamas or a sweater that grandma knitted for you. However you can do a good deed by educating yourself on what clothes take a great deal of energy to be manufactured and so are not very green.

In case you missed my drift, the green has got nothing to do with the color of the garment you have on your back. Think of it as one of those wayward science projects which may not get you credits in school but will earn you brownie points with mother earth.

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What can I do to go green?

With the dependence on petroleum products being targeted for environmental degradation there is a huge hue and cry about going green. People are trying out new science projects to become less polluting. Not making a mess of the non renewable resources that are left and actually trying to live an eco-friendly lifestyle have become a priority again.

So if you decide to become more environment friendly what is it that you need to do? You need to make a firm commitment to not wasting natural resources. You need to reduce the Toys and Dolls you buy. Try avoid using those toys which need rubber such as Balloons, and Roller skate wheels.

Also avoid those toys which use a lot of plastic like Model cars, airplanes and wading pools. Not to mention Crayons. Avoid using packaging which can not be recycled such as tetra packs and instead use glass Milk jugs. In fact avoid using paper napkins and use regular cloth napkins on the dining table.

Don’t take print outs of all emails to keep your records. Burn a couple of back up CDs instead. The paper saved will be a huge help and you will find storing the CDs easier. You will save the trees and help go more green.

There are a million small things that you can do to help the environment.Why not list a set of ten things that you can use as a science experiment to live a greener life. All you need is a little love and a lot of commitment in this project.

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