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Animals are great subjects for science fair projects, particularly if you have a pet or an interest in zoology. Do you want to do a science fair project with your pet or another type of animal? Here is a collection of ideas that you can use for your project.
- Are insects attracted to/repelled by a magnet? Does the presence of a magnetic field affect egg hatching rates of insect or other animal eggs?
- Do pet fish have a color preference for their food? (This assumes you can separate out the colors of a food.) Do pet birds have a color preference for their toys?
- What type of soil do earthworms prefer?
- What natural substances repel insect pests? Examples of insects to test include mosquitoes, ants or flies.
- On a related note, what substances might be used to attract and trap flies, beetles or other pests?
- Do animals display handedness (right-handed, left-handed) like humans? You can test this with a cat and a toy, for example.
- Are cockroaches (or other insects or creatures) attracted to or repelled by light? You probably already suspect cockroaches prefer dark. What other stimuli could you test? Does it matter if it is white light or would you get the same response from specific colors of light? You could test other types of stimuli, such as music, noise, vibration, heat, cold. You get the idea.
- An advanced version of the cockroach project is to select insects that don't run from light (for example). If you allow these insects to mate and keep selecting progeny that doesn't evade light, can you obtain a culture of cockroaches that don't mind light?
- Test household insect repellents.
- Can dogs or cats or birds hear ultrasonic insect and rodent repellent devices?
- What methods serve to disrupt the chemical trail that ants follow?
- How many nematodes (roundworms) are there in a soil sample from your backyard? What are the pros and cons of having these organisms in the soil?
- Do hummingbirds have a color preference for their food?
- What type of light attracts the most moths?
- Does catnip repel insects? If so, which types?
Know the Rules
Before you start any science fair project involving animals, make sure it is okay with your school or whoever is in charge of the science fair. Projects with animals may be prohibited or they may require special approval or permission. It's better to make sure your project is acceptable before you get to work!
A Note on Ethics
Science fairs that allow projects with animals will expect you to treat the animals in an ethical manner. The safest type of project is one which involves observing natural behavior of animals or, in the case of pets, interacting with animals in a usual manner. Don't do science fair project that involves harming or killing an animal or puts an animal at risk for injury. As an example, it may be fine to examine data on how much of an earthworm can be cut before the worm becomes unable to regenerate and dies. Actually performing such an experiment probably won't be allowed for most science fairs. In any case, there are lots of projects you can do that don't involve ethical concerns.
You may be unable to bring your animal science fair project to the school or otherwise put it on display, yet you'll want visual aids for your presentation. Take lots of pictures of your project. For some projects, you may be able to bring in preserved specimens or examples of fur or feathers, etc.