This article contains ideas for science projects about Earth Science and natural resources. Project ideas can be used for 1st-4th grade, 5th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade students looking for an Earch Science project for a science fair. Science Projects: Earth Science and Natural Resources
These ideas for science projects help students learn about Earth Science and natural resources. Included are some tips to help at each range of grade levels. Notice that suggestions for younger students tend to be based on direct observation and measurement. Older students are asked to research and think through various topics. Each project can be adapted to make it easier or more difficult, and you can use projects from the “wrong” grade level if it fits your student and curriculum - just modify it as necessary.
1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Grade
Tips: Help students with planning, carrying out long term projects, and scribing for students for whom trying to write would impede their recording of their science observations.
- Identify natural resources - such as plants, land, minerals, water - on a walk.
- Enumerate your family's conservation efforts.
- Compare and contrast living and non-living natural resources.
- Compare and contrast uses of natural resources that use them up and that don't.
- Make a diagram showing things that influence air or water quality in your area.
- Start a list of what products and uses plant resources provide for humans. Continue to add to it as new items come to light (consider air, food, medicine, pigment, clothing, preventing soil erosion, etc.)
- Choose the five plants that you think are most important to people and the Earth and tell why.
- Define the role that natural resources play in defining an environment.
- Draw an illustration of the Water Cycle.
- Collect soil samples from a lot of different places, and label them carefully. Describe them. How do their components (clay, silt, sand, humus, rock fragments, etc.) change how they look and feel and smell?
- Compare and contrast soil from the Earth with soil bought at a store.
- Create a model showing the major soil layers.
- Use photographs to contrast natural and human-made resources.
- Make a map showing your state's natural resources.
5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade
Tips: These projects are a bit more challenging for students who can read and follow directions somewhat independently. You can make projects more specific for your location, if desired.
- Test soil near your house for its fitness for food growing. Decide what tests to perform and interpret the results.
- Explain the relationships between your state's natural resources and its industries.
- Collect rock samples and identify them.
- Find out about the tectonic plates that contributed to the formation of your state.
- Determine what you think is the most important erosion issue in your state.
- Collect news stories that record local and national pollution issues.
- How many agencies in your state and city have a role in conservation efforts?
- Locate the composting site nearest your home. Calculate the practicality and cost/benefits of using it and/or starting your own composting.
9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th Grade
Tips: Students may wish to adapt or extend these ideas based on the curriculum or findings they make along the way. For very long projects, intermediate check-ins for what's been accomplished are likely to assist the process.
- Create a model of the effects of human population increases on natural resources.
- Choose a legal case in which human land use was pitted against ecosystem preservation and stability and argue for what you think is the best outcome.
- For a human project (e.g. a highway, building permit) that has been stalled due to environmental concerns, develop an experiment that you think could break the deadlock.
- Collect a variety of maps of your neighborhood including natural resources, population, topography, satellite imagery. Compare and contrast these views of the same space.
- Create a geocaching game for family and friends. Use GPS and/or orienteering methods.
- Use topographic maps to plan a hike.
- Create a mineral classification system. Compare and contrast it with the standard system of classification by color, streak luster, hardness.
- How close to your house can you locate examples of igneous rock, clastic and non-clastic sedimentary rocks, and foliated and nonfoliated metamorphic rocks.
- Analyze the components of one or more soil samples.
- Build a model of the Earth's structure.
- Create an illustration showing the relationship of a tsunami to a preceding event.
- Overlay a map of the world with a plan showing the location and different types of volcanoes.
- Compare a pictorial chart comparing the heights of prominent mountains both above the land and under the sea.
- Research well and groundwater issues in your state. Interview the people involved.
- Find before and after pictures of areas in your state that are now used to collect waste. Infer the impact, positive and negative of the changes.
- Write a geologic history of your state.
- Identify your state's most important natural resources and provide a rationale for your choices.