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Science Projects Overview

Science projects can be fun, simple, educational, and completed for science class, science fairs, or just for fun. This article is an overview on the basics of science projects. Keep reading for more on science projects.

K­-12 Science Projects

The National Science Education Standards provide the national standards for teaching physical science, life science, and earth and space science in the United States. The document that holds this information lays out science teaching standards, professional development standards for science teachers, and science content standards, along with addressing other important aspects of science education.

 It is notable that in this document the scope of science content is not addressed one grade level at a time. Instead, content standards are presented across ranges of grade levels. The ranges used are:

  • Kindergarten through Grade 4
  • Grade 5 through Grade 8
  • Grade 9 through Grade 12

We might refer to these ranges loosely as elementary grades, middle grades, and high school. Now, what can we gather that these standards are organized by grade ranges, not by individual grades?

  • The use of ranges sharing content standards suggest that topics are developed over a long time, not treated in units and dropped.
  • The use of ranges suggests recognition of the fact that children develop at different paces and acquire different knowledge and understandings at different times.
  • The ranges also recognize that content standards are not the same thing as a curriculum.

There could potentially be many curricula that all conform to the content standards but go about it in different ways, treating different concepts at different times. So, for example, if you look at the 5th grade science books Scott Foresman Science and Houghton Mifflin California Science.


Scott Foresman

Houghton Mifflin


Life Science

Systems in Living Things


Physical Science

Water on Earth


Earth Science

Weather and the Solar System


Human Body

Elements and Their Combinations

Now, even without going into more detail, you can see that these two curriculum do not cover the same content. Which means that a science project that matches one may well not be appropriate for the other. It would be easy for us to write a bunch of articles and label them 1st -12th grade science projects, but they might well do you no good.

So, what we have done here is approach things topically and within each topic, included several suggestions ranging in difficulty from easier to more difficult. Based on what your particular curriculum covers and your child’s level of development and understanding, you can get ideas for projects that are right for him or her.


National Science Education Standards -

Houghton Mifflin California Science Fifth Grade -

Scott Foresman Fifth Grade Science -