Though the Intel International Science and Engineering fair for high school students recognizes 14 categories of science fair topic ideas, elementary school students’ science fair topic ideas usually fall into one of seven main categories. A brief description of each of those categories might help your child decide what type of project he’d like to do for the science fair.
Biology is the study of living things and how they grow. This includes both plants and animals. Among other things, project ideas can include experiments which look at how some factor affects growth or why certain environments are better for specific plants and/or animals.
Chemistry is the study of substances. It looks at what happens when you combine them (create compounds) and analyzes the reactions and materials involved. One project idea would be testing soil samples to see what compounds or minerals they contain.
Earth science encompasses a great deal of things involving the earth. It can include thing such weather and climate; volcanoes or other earthly phenomenon; fossils; rocks and marine life. A project focus might include an analysis of where certain types of weather occur and what the common factors are to encourage that weather phenomena.
Electronics could also be thought of as “electricity.” These projects look at how electricity is conducted and can be controlled. This is also the category of project ideas that includes experiments with circuit boards and batteries.
Astronomy is the study of the universe and all the components that it is made up of, including stars, planets, moons, meteors and other celestial bodies. One astronomical project idea would be to build a sundial and to discover and explain why it works.
Engineering involves designing, creating and studying the function of machines and their processes. An engineering project might involve designing a machine with an entirely new function using various simple machines in the process.