If you are working on this year’s project, and you have less than a week to get it done…. Check out my suggestions in posts for “popcorn projects” or “bubblegum projects” or even “paper airplanes” — They can all be done in a weekend (or even a day if you are really stuck).
But if you are looking for a unique idea for NEXT YEAR – do research on BIOMIMICRY
Biomimicry is biology inspired engineering and here are a few examples (copy and paste into your browser):
My personal favorite is the Solar Powered Bat Inspired Spy Plane
STRATEGY: If your science fair has an engineering category, then you could build one of these designs (Learn and Use Engineering Design Principles) or study nature and build something based on it.
If your science fair does not specifically have an engineering category, you need to be careful that your project is not just a demonstration (remember the fatal flaw: gadgeteering). That means you will need to FIRST build a design and then SECOND use the design to ask a question and conduct an experiment.
– How does the shape of the whale fin affect spin rate of the turbine?
– How does the height of a honeycomb affect the strength of the structure?
– How does the thickness of the termite mound affect internal temperature?
This year my daughter did: How does valve type affect flow rate in a giraffe neck?
So much for Paintball!