In these science fair projects for 7th grade, we’ll look at two major issues in the environment: first, how does groundwater become polluted? Second, how can oil spills be cleaned up?
One of the most exciting areas of modern science is the study of the environment, how to protect it, and how to clean it up when it becomes dirty.
Simulated Groundwater Pollution
Groundwater refers to the water that lies buried under the earth surface in small cracks and pores in the rocks. Groundwater is the water that is connected to our wells, so many of us are drinking it in our tap water, and it also has an effect on the ability of the soil above to support plant life. Groundwater is invisible, but essential to our well-being, so a great science fair project is to simulate how these aquifers become polluted.
- Clear plastic container at least 6×8 inches and 6 inches deep (bigger is often better)
- 2 pounds sand
- 2 pounds clean gravel or pebbles (marbles will also work in a pinch)
- coffee grounds
- Spray bottle with water
- green felt
- tap water
1. Fill the container about 1/3 of the way up with sand
2. Fill the container another 1/3 with pebbles
3. Pour water into the container to simulate groundwater in the sandy layer
4. Cover one side of the pebbles with green felt, then sprinkle the coffee grounds over the felt. This represents pollution on the surface.
5. Spray water over the landscape. The cocoa will seep through the surface and into the “groundwater”
Environmental science isn’t all gloom-and-doom. Your science fair projects for 7th grade can also test some of the solutions that environmental scientists work on to fix environmental problems. In these science fair projects for 7th grade, we test methods for cleaning up oil spills.
- Aluminum pie tin
- 3 tablespoons heavy corn oil or other thick oil
- rubber band
- 2×2 inch piece of white writing paper
- cotton swabs
- liquid dishwashing detergent
1. Come up with your hypothesis – which of the 3 methods will be most effective for removing the oil from the water?
2. Research methods for cleaning up oil spills. Try to match the methods used in the experiment with methods used in real life.
3. Prepare a data sheet with one row for each of the three methods (rubber band, paper, and dish soap), and columns for “remove,” “trap,” and “break up”
4. Fill the aluminum pan half way with water
6. Place the rubber band on the surface of the water.
7. Use a spoon or fork to drag it along the surface. Using the rubber band, try to collect as much of the oil as you can. Place check marks under remove, trap, and/or break up, depending on what you think happened to the oil.
8. Pour out the oil and water, and repeat steps 2-3 to get a new spill
9. Place the piece of writing paper on top of the oil spill. What did the paper do to the spill?
10. Repeat step 8 to get a new spill
11. Using the cotton swab, add a drop of detergent to the oil. Describe what happened with the science fair projects for 7th grade.
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