Science Project Ideas for 9- to 12-Year-Olds

Picking the right idea for a science project is key.

Science projects are a staple in schools all over the country. Many science teachers give students the option of choosing the science project they would like to complete. Nine- to 12-year-olds have to find the appropriate project that has a level of difficulty they can handle. Students can choose from a large selection of projects, from the solar system to making a volcano. The science project can be a success if they take their time to complete it.

1 Astronomy

Students can measure the diameter of the sun and the moon by using a pinhole and a ruler. This science project idea is ideal for students who are interested in astronomy. Students will need to know basic geometry, as well as the distance between the Earth and the sun. If you were measuring the diameter of the moon, you will need to know the distance between the Earth and the moon. The student should make a pinhole by cutting a square hole that is 2 to 3 cm across, in the middle of the piece of cardboard. He should place a piece of aluminum foil over the hole and tape it down. A tiny hole should be made in the aluminum foil; a needle or a pin can be used for this task. Place the pinhole in the direction of the sun; an image of the sun should now be shown on the wall. The students should never look directly into the sun. Measure the diameter of the image that is projected on the wall. According to Science Buddies, use the following equation to get the most accurate diameter: diameter of the sun/distance from sun to earth = diameter of the image of the sun/distance from pinhole to image. Repeat this to measure the diameter of the moon. Record these findings for your project.

2 The Solar System

The solar system is a tried-and-true science project that can be done by 9- to 12-year-olds. Students can purchase Styrofoam balls in different sizes to correspond with the different planets. Students should paint the balls the colors of each planet. To make it appear like the planets are in outer space, students should paint a box black and hang the planets in the box. The biggest ball you should have is the sun, with the other planets around it. This science project will help students learn about the planets, their dimensions and the colors.

3 Geology

Students 9 to 12 can use online archived seismometer data to create personalized seismograms that measure how quickly waves from various earthquakes travel to the crust of the Earth. Students will use the Berkeley Digital Seismic Network to retrieve archive data. The network will give students the data that will assist them in determining the speed. Students will be able to understand earthquakes, seismographs, seismograms and seismometers. They can choose any earthquake from the network. They should also create a seismogram from their findings.

4 Volcano

The task of making a volcano can be interesting for students. For a science project, students can show how a volcano erupts and what comes out of it. Students can make a volcano out of plaster or papier-mâché. Students will also need a 35 mm film container, red and yellow food coloring, dish washing liquid, baking soda and vinegar. After they have made the volcano from the plaster or papier-mâché, they will need to fill it up. The 35 mm film container should go inside of the volcano, right at the very top. Two tbsp. baking soda should be added, as well as 1 tbsp. dish washing liquid and five drops of each packet of food coloring. An ounce of vinegar should be added to create the eruption. It will look like a real volcano eruption, with red lava.

Based in New Jersey, Ashley Leonard has been writing professionally since 2007. Her articles have appeared on and various other websites. Leonard holds a Bachelor of Arts in communications from Marymount Manhattan College.