Simple 6th, 7th, 8th Grade Science Fair Project

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While simple, this science fair project focuses on an important current topic, sea level rise. One of the major factors contributing to sea level rise is the thermal expansion of water.

Many substances expand when heated (e.g air or metal). Water also expands when heated (note that the thermal expansion of water only begins above four degrees Celsius).

To demonstrate the thermal expansion of water a 750mL plastic bottle is filled with water and a drop of blue food coloring. A straw is put through the bottle cap and sealed so there are no leaks. The level of water in the straw is measured and then a lamp with a 100 watt bulb is turned on and directed at the bottle.

Measurements of the water level are taken for two hours to show the thermal expansion of water. When the light is turned off, the water cools and contracts, returning to its original position.

The thermal expansion of water is one of the primary causes (along with ice melt) of the rising sea levels on earth. As the global average temperature increases the water in the oceans expands occupying more volume. This leads to sea level rise.

This science fair project for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, with readily observable results, addresses both the science content as well as implications on a broader human scale.

Drawing done in Adobe Illustrator and captured with Camtasia Studio on a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. Audio recording using a Yeti Blue microphone.

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