The solar system
Click below to read a summary of The solar system project ideas for Bronze, Silver, and Gold awards; or to go back to project ideas click here.
Investigate the properties of soil needed to support life
What are the constituent components of soil? Would we be able to perform tests on a Martian soil sample to see if it was capable of supporting life?
In order to grow, plants need:
- Essential elements – Nitrogen, Potassium, Phosphorus.
- Trace amounts of minerals.
- Something to grow in!
- Carbon dioxide gas.
Soil (on Earth) can provide the first four, - Martian soil could also contain frozen carbon dioxide!
Build your own working sundial
A sundial uses a shadow stick (called a gnomon) to cast a shadow over a dial that allows someone to read off the time. There are essentially two types of sundial: equatorials (vertical ones) and horizontals.
Use the following link to find out more about sundials: http://www.sundials.co.uk/home3.htm. Choose one of the sundial forms, and design and build a working sundial. Test your sundial by comparing it to an accurate watch.
Build your own working orrery
An orrery is a working model of the Solar System (or sometimes the Sun, Earth and Moon – usually called a tellurian). They show the relative positions of the planets (and some moons) and how they revolve around the Sun. Some orreries are mechanical, some electronic, and some are computer models. Investigate the different types, choose one, and then build it!
Your research should also include finding out about the Solar System. Find out about the different dimensions of the planets and their moons. Is it possible to build the orrery exactly to scale?