Testing aspects of various brands of consumer products can offer entertaining and informative science fair project ideas. Students can easily generate consumer science project ideas just by looking around the house. From chewing gum to glue, consumer products are easily accessible and offer compelling hypotheses for students to examine. Consumer products can be tested in measurable ways, making them excellent science fair project material.
A consumer science project suggested by the Arts Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut, tests which chewing gum holds its flavor the longest. The student needs to select a variety of popular chewing gum brands of equal sizes and use a timer to measure how long the flavor lasts.
An idea offered by the Louisiana Region 5 Science and Engineering Fair is to see whether people can taste the difference between foods advertised as fat free and their regular counterparts. The student needs to select a sampling of fat-free and regular foods--for example fat-free and regular ice cream bars. A panel of taste testers taste the two samples without knowing which one is fat free. All results need to be carefully documented, noting whether age, gender or other factors might influence the results.
A science teacher from the Selah, Washington school district recommends comparing the absorption rate of different brands of paper towels. The student chooses various brands of paper towels to test and then creates the same testing conditions for each brand while timing the rate of absorption. This project can easily be demonstrated during a science fair exhibit.
Another consumer science project suggested by the Arts Magnet School in New Haven, Connecticut, tests which brand of diaper holds the most water. Although this project is similar to the paper towel experiment, the objective is different. The paper towel experiment measures the absorption rate, but this project measures the amount of water each diaper can hold. Rather than buying several brands of diapers, a student could ask neighbors to donate diapers to the experiment.
A simple project suggested by the Arts Magnet School is testing the effectiveness of various brands of glue by seeing which one holds two boards together the best. The student needs to create the same circumstances for each brand of glue by using boards of equal size and density. The student could test how long it takes the glue to dry, along with the strength of the bond.
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