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Collecting micrometeoritesFeatured science projectScience project video

Materials

The materials required for this science fair project:

-    1 bottle of distilled water
-    1 basin of water collected from a rooftop gutter
-    20 leaves plucked from an outdoor plant
-    2 plastic basins
-    1 plastic pan with a large surface area
-    3 beakers
-    3 plastic bags
-    1 strong magnet
-    1 basin of rainwater
-    1 hotplate
-    3 needles
-    1 microscope

Procedure

1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is the location where the dust samples are collected. The dependent variable is the presence of the micrometeorites. This is determined by observing the micrometeorites under a microscope. The constants (control variables) are the strength of the magnet used, the size of the collection pan and the magnification of the microscope used.

2.    Collect a sample of water from a rooftop gutter on a rainy day using a plastic basin.
3.    Lightly rinse and wash the leaves of the outdoor plant using distilled water. Collect the water in a plastic basin.

4.    Place a plastic pan outdoors during the rain. The pan should not be obstructed by any object. Ensure that water dripping from nearby trees or roofs do not fall into the pan.

5.    Place a magnet inside a plastic bag and seal it tightly, ensuring that it is air -tight. It is then swept around for about 2 minutes inside the basin containing water collected from the roof gutter. Then, hold the plastic bag over a beaker while carefully removing the magnet. Rinse the outer surface of the plastic bag with distilled water and capture the water with a beaker.

6.    Place the beaker on the hotplate and allow the water to evaporate. Magnetize a needle by rubbing it over a magnet. Then, rub it at the base of the beaker to collect the micrometeorite samples. Place the needle on a slide and view it under a microscope. Any rounded metal particles are most likely micrometeorites. Count the number of micrometeorites found and record in the table given below.

7.    Repeat steps 5 and 6 with the 2 remaining basins of water.
 

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Complexity level:
4
Project cost ($):
20
Time required:
1 day for preparation, 3 hours for this science fair project experiment
Material availability:
You will need a microscope for this experiment. Check with your school's science laboratory
Safety concerns:

None