Experiments & Project Ideas

Posts in the earth science projects category

Question: How Do Glaciers Affect the Earth’s Surface?

Summary: Glaciers are large masses of ice that move over the surface of the earth in many areas. This experiment is designed to demonstrate the effect of these rivers of ice on the earth beneath them.

Materials Needed:

(Any of The Materials Highlighted in Blue are Clickable Links for Purchasing)

1 lb. Cornstarch

Waxed Paper

Long-handled Spoon

1000 mL Graduated Beaker  




Permanent Marker


Paper and Pen for Taking Notes


Project Procedure:

  1. Put 350 mL of water in the beaker. Add a 1 lb. box of cornstarch and use the spoon to mix to the point where there is very little water standing on the surface of the cornstarch mixture.
  2. Place a golf-ball-sized amount of the cornstarch mixture in the center of an 8” square of waxed paper.
  3. Observe and note on your paper how the material behaves. Does it flow? This is similar to the way that ice deep in a glacier flows. Draw a diagram of what this glacier model looks like.
  4. On top of your glacier model, place another spoonful of the cornstarch mixture. This represents “new snow” that would fall on the glacier during the winter months. What can you observe about any changes in the glacier, and its perimeter?
  5. Sprinkle several tablespoons (approximately) of sand, gravel and soil in a band beginning about 1-1/2” away from the outside edge of your glacier model. Use the permanent marker to mark the inside and outside perimeter of the sand/gravel/soil band on the waxed paper.
  6. Now sprinkle some more soil on top of the glacier model. This represents loose rocks and soil from the Earth’s surface.
  7. Continue by placing successive spoonful’s of the cornstarch mixture on top of the glacier model in center. After each spoonful, mark the new perimeter to see how far your ice cap moved. Observe what happens when the glacier reaches the band of sand, gravel and soil. Stop when you have added enough cornstarch mixture to move your glacier within 2 inches of the edge of the waxed paper.
  8. Draw a diagram of your glacier. Compare the thickness of the glacier in the center and at the outer edges.
  9. Place a second piece of waxed paper on top of the glacier and carefully turn it over so you can see the reverse side. Measure and record each of the perimeters you marked previously. Observe and draw a diagram of the bottom of the glacier, taking particular notice of the position now of the sand/gravel/soil.
Posted by Isaac Fornari on 24 July, 2015 earth science projects | Read more →

Question: Does the Temperature of a Magnet Affect its Strength?

Summary: Magnets are used in many devices like refrigerators, audio speakers, and computers. They occur naturally in the earth’s rock. Magnets are dipoles, meaning that they have opposite charges at each end. When magnets are heated or cooled, their molecules become more disorderly. This project identifies the result of this disorder.

Materials Needed:

(Any of The Materials Highlighted in Blue are Clickable Links for Purchasing)

3 identical neodymium bar magnets  



Kitchen Stove







Oven Mitts

Pen and Paper

Project Procedure:

  1. Set one magnet on the table, so that it reaches room temperature.
  2. Bring a saucepan of water to boil, place the second magnet in the pan, and continue to boil for 45 seconds.
  3. Place the third magnet in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes.
  4. Place a compass on a flat table so that the needle faces to the right. Tape a ruler to the table so that its direction is perpendicular to that of the compass needle. The “0” on the ruler should touch the “0” on the compass.
  5. Start with the room temperature magnet. Slide it along the ruler towards the compass, so that the needle moves toward the magnet. (If it is moving away from the magnet, use the reverse end.) Note the distance between the magnet and the compass when the needle begins to move. Record that distance on your paper.
  6. Use the tongs to remove the heated and cooled magnets and repeat the above procedure, again recording the distance when the needle begins to move.
  7. Compare the data and reach a hypothesis about the effect of heat and cold on magnets.
Posted by Isaac Fornari on 24 July, 2015 earth science projects | Read more →

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