Middle school science fair projects that focus on saving energy and recycling raise awareness about the depletion of some of the Earth’s natural resources and show how every individual can make a difference. The projects share the effects of waste and pollution, and offer simple ways for young people and their families to reduce their carbon footprints.
Composting is an ideal way to recycle paper and food scraps, keep organic waste out of landfills and eliminate the need to use fertilizers made with toxic chemicals. For this project, a student shows how she created her own compost pile with the help of red worms, a technique called vermiculture or vermicompost. The worms sift through the debris in the compost pile and drop castings that serve as natural compost out the bottom of the special trays. The student offers pictures of items that she and her family composted, as well as pictures of the compost pile in its different stages of decomposition.
A Cool Home
During a science fair, a student can teach others simple steps to keep a home cool during the summer and warm during the winter while minimizing energy use. For this project, the student demonstrates the different energy-saving techniques with a small model of a home that has a tight building envelope, shade-providing trees, double-paned windows, reflective roof and Energy Star products. He then outlines the cost and energy savings that come with earth-friendly improvements and offers tips that others can immediately implement to have a more efficient home.
A project about harvesting rainwater demonstrates how a simple practice can help reduce an individual’s dependence on the local water supply. For this project, a student learns about the annual rainfall in her area, sets up a simple rain barrel at her home after verifying that rainwater harvesting is legal in her state and regularly measures the water levels in her barrel. She then estimates the amount of rainwater she can collect in a year and outlines the ways that individuals can use the harvested water.
A simple way that a home can reduce its energy consumption and recycle more is by living trash-free. For a science fair project, a student can show how he and his family reduced the amount of waste in their trashcans and the effects the new practices had. Different zero-waste methods can include using canvas bags instead of using plastic bags from a store, recycling as much as possible, shopping in bulk, composting food scraps and making homemade meals. The student posts the results of his endeavor, including the challenges and the benefits he experienced.