What types of plants work well for science fair projects?
This is a very common question that students ask when they are presented with the task of completing a science fair project. The answer to this question is not as simple as it may first seem. After all the student needs to take into consideration how much time they have available to complete their project, what seeds are available, what their climate will support and what hypothesis they want to test. All of these factors will influence what type of plant will work the best for a science project.
Generally students will want to focus on common plants that have a short lifespan, such as peas and beans. This will ensure that they can find the seeds and that they can get the seeds to germinate and grow to maturity within the time allotted for the science project. Seeds for these common garden plants can be purchased throughout the year either through local department and garden stores, or through mail order companies.
If the student is interested in conducting hybridization experiments then the best plants to work with will be either flowering plants or plants that can reproduce through grafting. Hybridization of flowers is done by cross pollinating flowers. This can be done using a cotton swab and a steady hand. Hybridization of plants that can be grafted is done by taking a cutting from one plant and grafting it, or securing it, to a cut portion of the second plant. These experiments can produce new flower colors or fruit varieties.
Plant science fair projects are very popular with students, particularly ones that deal with pea plants and bean plants. If the student is interested in making their science fair project stand out then they will need to find a new angle to use, such as the experimentation on tropical plants or the creation of a new strain of plant, flower or fruit.
In these projects the student may need to purchase a plant that has already reached maturity. This will help the student to conduct pollination and hybridization experiments immediately.
Time is always a concern for students working on a science fair project. If the student is getting a late start on their project then working with a mature plant is the best option. However, if they are interested in pursuing a more complex and time consuming project then they may want to consider working on a longitudinal study that spans multiple school years. These projects will offer the student notoriety at their science fair.