Whether you’re a middle school student who forgot to prepare an experiment for the school science fair, or a teacher who wants to give a brief, simple scientific demonstration on science fair day, an easy middle school project that you can set up and run in one day can be both helpful and educational. At the middle school level, an easy science project will be one that does not require precise measurements or the use of advanced and potentially dangerous equipment.
Egg in a Bottle
The egg in a bottle middle school experiment requires just three elements--a glass milk bottle, a book of matches and a peeled, hard-boiled egg. Start by lighting three matches and drop them simultaneously into the bottle. Next, place the egg over the mouth of the bottle and observe what happens. The bottle should appear to “magically” suck the egg inside. However, the real cause of the phenomenon is suction, not magic. The fire from the matches consumes all of the oxygen in the bottle, which causes external air pressure to push down on the egg. When conducting this experiment, always have a fire extinguisher handy and obtain the permission of a teacher, principal or fire-safety official--if necessary--before conducting it.
According to legend, Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei performed his famous falling bodies experiment from the Leaning Tower of Pisa. However, you can conduct the same experiment by dropping objects from about shoulder-height to the floor. One of these objects should be a coin, while the other should be a circular piece of paper that you have cut to the same size as the coin. Hold each of the items out in front of you and drop them simultaneously. Air resistance will cause the paper to fall slower. Next, place the paper circle on top of the coin and drop them. The paper will fall at the same speed, as the coin shields the paper from the air resistance. This one-day project shows how gravity pulls with the same force on all objects, regardless of their weight.
Chemical Reaction Volcano
For a more explosive middle school science project, you can create a model volcano that erupts due to differences in the pH levels of two chemicals. Construct the volcano by molding modeling clay around a paper towel roll and then pour in some vinegar and baking soda. The acidic vinegar will react with the alkaline baking soda, causing a bubbling eruption of carbon dioxide gas and water.
Surface Tension Boat
This one-day middle school science project shows how you can use surface tension to power a boat. Surface tension is the force that holds the surface molecules of a liquid together, forming a film-like surface. To start the project, cut a groove in the back end of a small piece of cardboard and squeeze a piece of sponge into the groove. Your surface tension boat is now ready to set sail. Place the boat in a sink or container filled with water and apply some detergent to the piece of sponge. The detergent will break the surface tension of the water and release energy that propels the boat forward.