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Fruit Battery

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© 2009 Supercharged Science By Aurora Lipper © 2009 Supercharged Science www.AwesomeScienceProjects.com Page 1

Table of Contents
Table of Contents ........................................................................................................................2 How to Use This Book: ................................................................................................................3 Materials List...............................................................................................................................5 Create a Science Fair Project with Fruit & Veggies .......................................................................6 Sample Data Sheet ....................................................................................................................10 Sample Report ..........................................................................................................................11 Exhibit Display Board.................................................................................................................25 Oral Presentation ......................................................................................................................28

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How to Use This Book:
Welcome to the world of Supercharged Science!
In just a moment, you’ll be building an ultra-cool science project, taking data, and transforming your great ideas into an outstanding science fair project! Whether you’re looking to blow away the competition or happy just get a decent grade, you’ve got the keys to a successful science fair project in your hands right now. The tools you’ll find in this manual answer the basic question: “How can I create a science fair project and enjoy the process?” We’re going to walk step-by-step through every aspect of creating a science fair project from start to finish, and we’ll have fun doing it. All you need to do is follow these instructions, watch the video, and do the steps we’ve outlined here. We’ve taken care of the tricky parts and handed you a recipe for success.

Who am I? My name is Aurora, and I am a mechanical engineer, university instructor, airplane pilot, astronomer, and I worked for NASA during high school and college. I have a BS and MS in mechanical engineering, and for the past decade have toured the country getting kids wildly excited about doing real science. What do the kids I teach learn? After a day or two, my students are building working radios from toilet paper tubes, laser light show from tupperware, and real robots from junk. And they’re crazy-wild excited about doing it. One of the problems kids have, however, is taking their idea and fitting it into something acceptable by science fairs or other technical competitions designed to get kids thinking like a real scientist. Another problem kids often face is applying the scientific method to their science project. Although the scientific method is not the primary method of investigation by industry, it is widely used by formal science academia as well as
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scientific researchers. For most people, it’s a real jump to figure out not only how to do a decent project, but also how to go about formulating a scientific question and investigate answers methodically like a real scientist. Presenting the results in a meaningful way via “exhibit board”… well, that’s just more of a stretch that most kids aren’t really ready for. And from my research, there isn’t a whole lot of information available on how to do it by the people who really know how. This report is designed to show you how to do a cool project, walk you through the steps of theorizing, hypothesizing, experimentation, and iterating toward a conclusion the way a real engineer or scientist does. And we’ll also cover communicating your ideas to your audience using a display board and the oral presentation using top tips and tricks from real scientists. For years, Supercharged Science has served as the bridge between the scientific community and the rest of the world. This is yet another step we have taken on to help serve as many families as possible. Thank you for your support and interest… and let’s get started!

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Materials List
Before we start, you’ll need to gather items that may not be around your house right now. Take a minute to take inventory of what you already have and what you’ll need. • • • • • • • • • • Apple, lemon, grapefruit, lime, potato, or other fruit/vegetable Digital multimeter (Radio Shack part #22-810) Alligator clip wires/test leads (Radio Shack part #278-1157) Zinc plate, galvanized nail Copper plate (1/2” x 2”) or shiny copper penny (you can scrub a tarnished penny with ketchup to shine it up) Camera to document project Composition or spiral-bound notebook to take notes Display board (the three-panel kind with wings), about 48” wide by 36” tall Paper for the printer (and photo paper for printing out your photos from the camera) Computer and printer

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Create a Science Fair Project with Fruit & Veggies
Before we start diving into experimenting, researching, or even writing about the project, we first need to get a general overview of what the topic is all about. Here’s a quick snippet about the science of electrochemistry. The basic idea of electrochemistry is that charged atoms (ions) can be electrically directed from one place to the other. If we have a glass of water and dump in a handful of salt, the NaCl (salt) molecule dissociates into the ions Na+ and Cl-. When we plunk in one positive electrode and one negative electrode and crank up the power, we find that opposites attract: Na+ zooms over to the negative electrode and Cl- zips over to the positive. The ions are attracted (directed) to the opposite electrode and there is current in the solution. Electrochemistry studies chemical reactions that generate a voltage and vice versa (when a voltage drives a chemical reaction), called oxidation and reduction (redox) reactions. When electrons are transferred between molecules, it’s a redox process. Fruit batteries use electrolytes (solution containing free ions, like salt water or lemon juice) to generate a voltage. Think of electrolytes as a material that dissolves in water to make a solution that conducts electricity. Fruit batteries also need electrodes made of conductive material, like metal. Metals are conductors not because electricity passes through them, but because they contain electrons that can move. Think of the metal wire like a hose full of water. The water can move through the hose. An insulator would be like a hose full of cement - no charge can move through it. One of the biggest challenges with fruit batteries is testing the voltage. You’ll need to become familiar with how to use a digital multimeter to test for the voltage generated by your homemade battery. When designing your experiment, you’ll need to pay close attention to the finer details such as placement of the electrodes and whether you’ve squashed the membranes enough. Your first step: Doing Research. Why do you want to do this project? What originally got you interested electrochemistry? Is it the idea of electricity and chemistry smacking together in a project? Or are you happy to have found a use for your dinner vegetables? Do you like the idea of powering a light from a potato?
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Take a walk to your local library, flip through magazines, and surf online for information you can find about electrochemistry, including information about English chemists John Daniell and Michael Faraday (both founders of electrochemistry). Learn what other people have already figured out before you start re-inventing the wheel! Flip open your science journal and write down things you’ve find out. Your journal is just for you, so don’t be shy about jotting ideas or interesting tidbits down. Also keep track of which books you found interesting. You’ll need these titles later in case you need to refer back for something, and also for your bibliography, which needs to have at least three sources that are not from the internet. Your next step: Define what it is that you really want to do. In this project, we’re going to walk you step by step through creating a power source from a fruit or vegetable (or both!) that really registers on your meter, made entirely out of easy-to-find parts. Go shopping and get all your equipment together now. Playing with the experiment: Before you start building the fruit battery, start playing with the multimeter. Push in the test leads that came with it (snap black into COM and red goes to VDC). Click the dial over to 20VDC and test any battery in the house (NOT the car battery – that’s outside your house!). Open a remote control and see how many volts you have left. Read the starting voltage from the side of the battery. Is there a difference? (If you’re stuck, don’t worry… we’ll walk you through each step on how to do this later.) After you’ve played with the equipment, it’s now time to actually build your fruit battery. This should take you anywhere between 5-10 minutes, depending on what and how you test your foods. Go watch the video and learn how to build a fruit battery. Formulate your Question or Hypothesis: You’ll need to nail down ONE question or statement you want to test if it is true. Be careful with this experiment - you can easily have several variables running around and messing up your data if you’re not careful. Here are a few possible questions: • • • • • • “Which fruit gives the highest voltage?” “Does half a lemon generate half the voltage of a full lemon?” “Does electrode position matter?” “Which types of metal for the electrodes work best?” “Does it matter if the fruit is hot, warm, cold, or frozen?” “How many lemons does it take to light up an LED?”

Once you’ve got your question, you’ll need to identify the variable. For the question: “Which fruit gives the highest voltage?”, your variable is the type of fruit you test (lemon, grape, apple,

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etc.) , keeping everything else constant (spacing between electrodes, type of electrodes, temperature of fruits used, etc.) If you wanted to ask the question: “Does it matter how big the fruit is?”, your hypothesis might be: “A lemon twice the weight will generate twice the voltage.” Or “Half a lemon generates half the voltage.” For testing the electrode types, you could try several different types of metals, including brass, aluminum, zinc, copper, steel, etc. You could also keep the material the same and vary the shape of the electrode – for example, testing out a paper clip, galvanized nail, regular nail, and zinc strip. Your hypothesis might be: “Increasing the volume of exposed metal increases the voltage generated by the electrochemical reaction.” Taking Data: Sticking with the question “Which fruit gives the highest voltage?”, here’s how to record data. Grab a sheet of paper, and across the top, write down your background information, such as your name, date, time of day, fruit temperature (was it in the fridge?), type and size of fruit, multimeter information, type of electrodes, and anything else you’d need to know if you wanted to repeat this experiment exactly the same way on a different day. Include a photograph of your invention also, so you’ll see exactly what your project looks like. Get your paper ready to take data… and write across your paper these column headers, including the things in ( ): (Note – there’s a sample data sheet following this section). • Trial # • Type of fruit/vegetable used – this is your independent variable. • Voltage Generated (volts) – this is your dependent variable. • Current (amperes) - this is another dependent variable. If you’re lighting up a LED, you can measure this using your multimeter set to amps connected in series. Be sure to run your experiment a few times before taking actual data, to be sure you’ve got everything running smoothly. You’ll need to connect up your wires and make sure you’ve got good electrical connections (you have a non-zero reading on your multimeter). Have someone snap a photo of you getting ready to test, to enter later onto your display board. Record your data on your data sheet. Run your experiment again and again, sticking the electrodes exactly the same distance apart of each food tested. Analyze your data. Time to take a hard look at your numbers! What did you find? Does your data support your original hypothesis, or not? Make yourself a grid (or use graph paper), and plot the Voltage Generated versus the Food Type. In this case, the Food Type goes on the horizontal axis (independent variable), and Voltage Generated (dependent variable) goes on the vertical axis.
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Using a computer, enter in your data into an Excel spreadsheet and plot a graph. Label your axes and add a title. Conclusion: So - what did you find out? What is the best fruit to use to power a LED? Which type of metals gave the highest voltage? Does half a lemon give half the voltage? Is it what you originally guessed? Science is one of the only fields where people actually throw a party when stuff works out differently than they expected! Scientists are investigators, and they get really excited when they get to scratch their heads and learn something new. Hot Tip on Being a Cool Scientist One of the biggest mistakes you can ever make is to fudge your data so it matches what you wanted to have happen. Don’t ever be tempted to do this… science is based on observational fact. Think of it this way: the laws of the universe are still working, and it’s your chance to learn something new! Recommendations: This is where you need to come up with a few ideas for further experimentation. If someone else was to take your results and data, and wanted to do more with it, what would they do? Here are a few spins on the original experiment: • • • Vary the ‘ripe-ness’ of the fruit (green to perfect to rotten… is there a difference?) Change the size of the electrodes Vary the number of fruit connected together in series (like the batteries in a flashlight)

Make the display board. Fire up the computer, stick paper in the printer, and print out the stuff you need for your science board. Here are the highlights: • Catchy Title: This should encompass your basic question (or hypothesis). • Purpose and Introduction: Why study this topic? • Results and Analysis (You can use your actual data sheet if it’s neat enough, otherwise print one out.) • Methods & Materials: What did you use and how did you do it? (Print out photos of you and your experiment.) • Conclusion: One sentence tells all. What did you find out? • Recommendations: For further study. • References: Who else has done work like this? Outline your presentation. People are going to want to see you demonstrate your project, and you’ll need to be prepared to answer any questions they have. We’ll detail more of this in the later section of this guidebook, but the main idea is to talk about the different sections of your display board in a friendly, knowledgeable way that gets your point across quickly and easily. Test drive your presentation on friends and relatives beforehand and you’ll be smoothly polished for the big day.

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Sample Data Sheet
Fruit Batteries
Name Date Time Type of Electrode Type of Electrode Fruit Temperature

Trial #

Fruit Type

Voltage Generated (volts)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Create this table yourself using Microsoft Excel. You can download your free copy at this link: http://www.ability-usa.com/download.php OR...download your free 60-day trail copy from Microsoft at this link: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/default.aspx

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Sample Report
In this next section, we’ve written a sample report for you to look over and use as a guide. Be sure to insert your own words, data, and ideas in addition to charts, photos, and models!

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Title of Project
(Your title can be catchy and clever, but make sure it is as descriptively accurate as possible. Center and make your title the LARGEST font on the page.)

by Aurora Lipper

123 Main Street, Sacramento, CA 10101

Carmel Valley Grade School 6th grade

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Table of Contents
Abstract…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..…2 State of Purpose………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…3 Hypothesis…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………5 Materials………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….……7 Procedures…………………………………………………………………………………………………………….………9 Results……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…12 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………………………………….…………15 Bibliography…………………………………………………………………………………………………….……………16 Acknowledgements……………………………………………………………………………………….………………21

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Abstract
This is a summary of your entire project. Always write this section LAST, as you need to include a brief description of your background research, hypothesis, materials, experiment setup and procedure, results, and conclusions. Keep it short, concise, and less than 250 words.

Here’s a sample from Aurora’s report: Which food (fruit or vegetable) generates the highest voltage? After researching electrochemistry, electrolytes, ions, atoms, and the periodic table, I realized I had all the basics for making a fruit battery. But which food gives the most juice (power)? I hypothesized that grapefruits give the highest voltage. My best guess is that the larger the fruit, the bigger the voltage generated. After raiding the refrigerator and finding inexpensive parts from Radio Shack, I created a fruit battery that could register on the digital voltmeter. I ran eight trials varying the type of food and measured the voltage generated using a multimeter. I found that my initial hypothesis of the grapefruit generating the highest voltage was not supported by the data. The fruit battery actually had the highest voltage (0.98 volts) with a lemon. For further study, I recommend running an experiment to test the various sizes of electrodes, and also another experiment to test to see how many lemons connected together in series will light an LED. This experiment was a lot of fun, complete with unexpected results!

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Introduction/Research
This is where all your background research goes. When you initially wrote in your science journal, what did you find out? Write down a few paragraphs about interesting things you learned that eventually led up to your main hypothesis (or question). Here is a sample from Aurora’s report: The basic idea of electrochemistry is that charged atoms (ions) can be electrically directed from one place to the other. If we have a glass of water and dump in a handful of salt, the NaCl (salt) molecule dissociates into the ions Na+ and Cl-. When we plunk in one positive electrode and one negative electrode and crank up the power, we find that opposites attract: Na+ zooms over to the negative electrode and Cl- zips over to the positive. The ions are attracted (directed) to the opposite electrode and there is current in the solution. Electrochemistry studies chemical reactions that generate a voltage and vice versa (when a voltage drives a chemical reaction), called oxidation and reduction (redox) reactions. When electrons are transferred between molecules, it’s a redox process. Fruit batteries use electrolytes (solution containing free ions, like salt water or lemon juice) to generate a voltage. Think of electrolytes as a material that dissolves in water to make a solution that conducts electricity. Fruit batteries also need electrodes made of conductive material, like metal. Metals are conductors not because electricity passes through them, but because they contain electrons that can move. Think of the metal wire like a hose full of water. The water can move through the hose. An insulator would be like a hose full of cement - no charge can move through it. One of the biggest challenges with fruit batteries is reading an average voltage. Due to the nature of the experiment, the voltage can vary as much as +/- 30%. Does it really matter which fruit we use to power a LED? If so, does it matter much?

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Purpose
Why are you doing this science fair project at all? What got you interested in this topic? How can you use what you learn here in the future? Why is this important to you? Come up with your own story and ideas about why you’re interested in this topic. Write a few sentences to a few paragraphs in this section.

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Hypothesis
This is where you write down your speculation about the project – what you think will happen when you run your experiment. Be sure to include why you came up with this educated guess. Be sure to write at least two full sentences.

Here’s a sample from Aurora’s report: I hypothesized that grapefruits give the highest voltage. My best guess is that the larger the fruit, the bigger the voltage generated.

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Materials
What did you use to do your project? Make sure you list everything you used, even equipment you measured with (rulers, stopwatch, etc.) If you need specific amounts of materials, make sure you list those, too! Check with your school to see which unit system you should use. (Metric or SI = millimeters, meters, kilograms. English or US = inches, feet, pounds.)

Here’s a sample from Aurora’s report: • • • • • • • • • • Apple, lemon, grapefruit, lime, potato, or other fruit/vegetable Digital multimeter (Radio Shack part #22-810) Alligator clip wires/test leads (Radio Shack part #278-1157) Zinc plate, galvanized nail Copper plate (1/2” x 2”) or shiny copper penny (you can scrub a tarnished penny with ketchup to shine it up) Camera to document project Composition or spiral-bound notebook to take notes Display board (the three-panel kind with wings), about 48” wide by 36” tall Paper for the printer (and photo paper for printing out your photos from the camera) Computer and printer

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Procedures
This is the place to write a highly detailed description of what you did to perform your experiment. Write this as if you were telling someone else how to do your exact experiment and reproduce the same results you achieved. If you think you’re overdoing the detail, you’re probably just at the right level. Diagrams, photos, etc. are a great addition (NOT a substitution) to writing your description. Here’s a sample from Aurora’s report: First, I became familiar with the experiment and setup. I connected the wires to the multimeter and tested different batteries from around the house, getting familiar with the instrument and seeing what kind of readings I could expect. I then connected the electrodes to the fruit, wired up the multimeter, and tested to see if there was a voltage measured. Once I was comfortable with the setup, I could now focus on my variable (food type) and how to measure my results (voltage). I found it difficult to get a steady reading after 10-15 seconds, so I kept the first (and usually the highest) reading for my data. I made myself a data logger in my science journal. I placed the fruit on the counter for two hours, so they would all reach the same temperature before testing. I had a fresh penny and fresh nail for each food. With each food, I punched in the nail and penny, measuring the distance of 2 inches apart. Working quickly, I then connected each electrode to the multimeter and read off the voltage. I recorded the time measurement in my data sheet. I continued this process, changing the food for each trial.

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Results
This is the data you logged in your Science Journal. Include a chart or graph – whichever suits your data the best, or both if that works for you. Use a scatter or bar graph, label the axes with units, and title the graph with something more descriptive than “Y vs. X or Y as a function of X”. On the vertical (y-axis) goes your dependent variable (the one you recorded), and the horizontal (x-axis) holds the independent variable (the one you changed).

Fruit Batteries
Name Date Time Aurora Nov. 12, 2009 12:09pm Type of Electrode Type of Electrode Fruit Temperature copper zinc 72 deg F

Trial #

Fruit Type

Voltage Generated (volts)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

lemon lime grapefruit kiwi banana apple potato orange

0.98 0.35 0.63 0.87 0.3 0.47 0.92 0.25

NOTE: The numbers above are NOT real! Be sure to input your own.

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Fruit & Vegetable Battery Performance
1.2

1 Voltage Generated (volts)

0.8

0.6

0.4

0.2

0 lemon lime grapefruit kiwi banana apple potato orange

Fruit/Vegetable Tested

NOTE: The numbers above are NOT real! Be sure to input your own.

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Conclusion
Conclusions are the place to state what you found. Compare your results with your initial hypothesis or question – do your results support or not support your hypothesis? Avoid using the words “right”, “wrong”, and “prove” here. Instead, focus on what problems you ran into as well as why (or why not) your data supported (not supported) your initial hypothesis. Are there any places you may have made mistakes or not done a careful job? How could you improve this for next time? Don’t be shy – let everyone know what you learned!

Here’s a sample from Aurora’s report: I found that my initial hypothesis of the grapefruit generating the highest voltage was not supported by the data. The fruit battery actually had the highest voltage (0.98 volts) with a lemon. For further study, I recommend running an experiment to test the various sizes of electrodes, and also another experiment to test to see how many lemons connected together in series will light an LED. This experiment was a lot of fun, complete with unexpected results! I did not have absolute control over the electrolyte conditions inside the lemon, although I tried to squish each citrus fruit equally. Next time, I’d recommend testing only solid foods or only citrus to minimize errors.

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Bibliography
Every source of information you collected and used for your project gets listed here. Most of the time, people like to see at least five sources of information listed, with a maximum of two being from the internet. If you’re short on sources, don’t forget to look through magazines, books, encyclopedias, journals, newsletters… and you can also list personal interviews.

Here’s an example from Aurora’s report on Rocketry: (The first four are book references, and the last one is a journal reference.)

Fox, McDonald, Pritchard. Introduction to Fluid Mechanics, Wiley, 2005. Hickam, Homer. Rocket Boys, Dell Publishing, 1998. Gurstelle, William. Backyard Ballistics, Chicago Review Press, 2001. Turner, Martin. Rocket and Spacecraft Propulsion. Springer Praxis Books, 2001. Eisfeld, Rainer. "The Life of Wernher von Braun." Journal of Military History Vol 70 No. 4. October 2006: 1177-1178.

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Acknowledgements
This is your big change to thank anyone and everyone who have helped you with your science fair project. Don’t forget about parents, siblings, teachers, helpers, assistants, friends…

Formatting notes for your report: Keep it straight and simple: 12 point font in Times new Roman, margins set at 1” on each side, single or 1.5 spaced, label all pages with a number and total number of pages (see bottom of page for sample), and put standard information in the header or footer on every page in case the report gets mixed up in the shuffle (but if you bind your report, you won’t need to worry about this). Create the table of contents at the end of the report, so you can insert the correct page numbers when you’re finished. Add a photo of your experiment in action to the title page for a dynamic front page!

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Exhibit Display Board
Your display board holds the key to communicating your science project quickly and efficiently with others. You’ll need to find a tri-fold cardboard or foam-core board with three panels or “wings” on both sides. The board, when outstretched, measures three feet high and four feet long. Your display board contains all the different parts of your report (research, abstract, hypothesis, experiment, results, conclusion, etc.), so it’s important to write the report first. Once you’ve completed your report, you’ll take the best parts of each section and print it out in a format that’s easy to read and understand. You’ll need to present your information in a way that people can stroll by and not only get hooked into learning more, but can easily figure out what you’re trying to explain. Organize the information the way museums do, or even magazines or newspapers. How to Write for your Display Board Clarity and neatness are your top tips to keep in mind. The only reason for having a board is to communicate your work with the rest of the world. Here are the simple steps you need to know: Using your computer, create text for your board from your different report sections. You’ll need to write text for the title, a purpose statement, an abstract, your hypothesis, the procedure, data and results with charts, graphs, analysis, and your conclusions. And the best part is - it’s all in your report! All you need to do is copy the words and paste into a fresh document so you can play with the formatting. The title of your project stands out at the very top, and can even have its own ‘shingle’ propped up above the display board. The title should be in Times New Roman or Arial, at least 60 pt font... something strong, bold, and easy to read from across the room. The title has to accurately describe your experiment and grab people’s attention. Here are some ideas to get you started: • • • • Fruit Batteries: Determining the Ideal Power Supply Citrus Batteries: Studying the Effect of Temperature of Electrolytes Safer Power: Just Where Should You Place the Electrodes without Losing Power? How to Turn Food into Light: Investigating the Effects of Fruit Batteries in Series

On the left panel at the top, place your abstract in 16-18 pt font. Underneath, post your purpose, followed by your hypothesis in 24 point font. Your list of materials or background research can go at the bottom section of the left panel. If you’re cramped for space, put the purpose in the center of the board under the title.

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In the central portion of the board, post your title in large lettering (24-60 pt. font). (You can alternatively make the title on a separate board and attach to the top of the display board… which is great if you really want to stand out!) Under the title, write a one-sentence description of what your project is really about in smaller font size (24-48 pt. font) Under the title, you’ll need to include highlights from your background research (if you haven’t put it on the left panel already) as well as your experimental setup and procedures. Use photos to help describe your process. The right panel holds your results with prominent graphs and/or charts, and clear and concise conclusions. You can add tips for further study (recommendations) and acknowledgements beneath the conclusions in addition to your name, school, and even a photo of yourself doing your project. Use white copy paper (not glossy, or you’ll have a glare problem) and 18 point Times New Roman, Arial, or Verdana font. Although this seems obvious, spell-check and grammar-check each sentence, as sometimes the computer does make mistakes! Cardstock (instead of white copy paper) won’t wrinkle in areas of high humidity. Cut out each description neatly and frame with different colored paper (place a slightly larger piece of paper behind the white paper and glue in place. Trim border after the glue has dried. Use small amounts of white glue or hot glue in the corners of each sheet, or tape together with double-sided sticky tape. Before you glue the framed text descriptions to your board, arrange them in different patterns to find the best one that works for your work. Make sure to test out the position of the titles, photos, and text together before gluing into place! In addition to words, be sure to post as many photos as is pleasing to the eye and also helps get your point across to an audience. The best photos are of you taking real data, doing real science. Keep the pictures clean, neat, and with a matte finish. Photos look great when bordered with different colored paper (stick a slightly larger piece of paper behind the photo for a framing effect). If you want to add a caption, print the caption on a sheet of white paper, cut it out, and place it near the top or bottom edge of the photo, so your audience clearly can tell which photo the caption belongs to. Don’t add text directly to your photo (like in Photoshop), as photos are rich in color, and text requires a solid color background for proper reading. Check over your board as you work and see if your display makes a clear statement of your hypothesis or question, the background (research) behind your experiment, the experimental method itself, and a clear and compelling statement of your results (conclusion). Select the text you write with care, making sure to add in charts, graphics, and photos where you need to in order to get your point across as efficiently as possible. Test drive your board on unsuspecting friends and relatives to see if they can tell you what your project is about by just reading over your display board.

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How to Stand Out in a Crowd Ever try to decide on a new brand of cereal? Which box do you choose? All the boxes are competing for your attention… and out of about a hundred, you pick one. This is how your board is going to look to the rest of the audience – as just one of the crowd. So, how do you stand out and get noticed? First, make sure you have a BIG title – something that can be clearly seen from across the room. Use color to add flair without being too gaudy. Pick two colors to be your “color scheme”, adding a third for highlights. For example, a black/red/gold theme would look like: a black cardboard display board with text boxes framed with red, and a title bar with a black background with red lettering highlighted with gold (using two sets of “sticky” letters offset from each other). Or a blue/yellow scheme might look like: royal blue foam core display board with textboxes framed with strong yellow. Add color photographs and color charts for depth. Don’t forget that the white in your textboxes is going to add to your color scheme, too, so you’ll need to balance the color out with a few darker shades as you go along. It’s important to note that while stars, glitter, and sparkles may attract the eye, they may also detract from displaying that you are about ‘real science’. Keep a professional look to your display as you play with colors and shades. If you add something to your board, make sure it’s there to help the viewer get a better feel for your work. For a fruit battery exhibit, you can add sparks of electricity up the edges of your display board and around the top of your board in gold or blue. Add a spare fruit battery at the top of your board as an attention-getter. Have a fruit battery working on display so people can see your experiment in action. If you’re stuck for ideas, here are a few that you might be able to use for your display board. Be sure to check with your local science fair regulations, to be sure these ideas are allowed on your board: • Your name and photo of yourself taking data on the display board • Captions that include the source for every picture or image • Acknowledgements of people who helped you in the lower right panel • Your scientific journal or engineer’s notebook • The experimental equipment used to take data and do real science • Photo album of your progress (captions with each photo)

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Oral Presentation
You’re now the expert of the Fruit Battery Science Experiment… you’ve researched the topic, thought up a question, formulated a hypothesis, done the experiment, worked through challenges, taken data, finalized your results into conclusions, written the report, and build a display board worthy of a museum exhibit. Now all you need is to prep for the questions people are going to ask. There are two main types of presentations: one for the casual observer, and one for the judges. The Informal Talk In the first case, you’ll need quick and easy answers for the people who stroll by and ask, “What’s this about?” The answers to these questions are short and straight-forward – they don’t want a highly detailed explanation, just something to appease their curiosity. Remember that people learn new ideas quickly when you can relate it to something they already know or have experience with. And if you can do it elegantly through a story, it will come off as polished and professional. The Formal Presentation The second talk is the one you’ll need to spend time on. This is the place where you need to talk about everything in your report without putting the judges to sleep. Remember, they’re hearing from tons of kids all day long. The more interesting you are, the more memorable you’ll be. Tips & Tricks for Presentations: Be sure to include professionalism, clarity, neatness, and ‘real-ness’ in your presentation of the project. You want to show the judges how you did ‘real’ science – you had a question you wanted answered, you found out all you could about the topic, you planned a project around a basic question, you observed what happened and figured out a conclusion. Referring back to your written report, write down the highlights from each section onto an index card. (You should have one card for each section.) What’s the most important idea you want the judges to realize in each section? Here’s an example: Research Card: Which food (fruit or vegetable) generates the highest voltage? After researching electrochemistry, electrolytes, ions, atoms, and the periodic table, I realized I had all the basics for making a fruit battery. But which food gives the most juice (power)? Question/Hypothesis Card: I hypothesized that grapefruits give the highest voltage. My best guess is that the larger the fruit, the bigger the voltage generated.

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Procedure/Experiment Card: After raiding the refrigerator and finding inexpensive parts from Radio Shack, I created a fruit battery that could register on the digital voltmeter. I ran eight trials varying the type of food and measured the voltage generated using a multimeter. Results/Conclusion Card: I found that my initial hypothesis of the grapefruit generating the highest voltage was not supported by the data. The fruit battery actually had the highest voltage (0.98 volts) with a lemon. Recommendations Card: For further study, I recommend running an experiment to test the various sizes of electrodes, and also another experiment to test to see how many lemons connected together in series will light an LED. This experiment was a lot of fun, complete with unexpected results! Acknowledgements Card: I want to express my thanks to mom for grocery shopping with me, for my teacher who encourages me to go further than I really think I can go, for my friends for eating the foods I didn’t test, for my sister for chasing the numbers on the multimeter, and for dad for showing me how to turn the fruit battery into a tongue zapper.

Putting it all together… Did you notice how the content of the cards were already in your report, in the abstract section? The written report is such a vital piece to your science fair project, and by writing it first, it makes the rest of the work a lot easier. You can do the tougher pieces (like the oral presentation) later because you took care of the report upstream. As you practice your oral presentation, try to get your notes down to only one index card. Shuffling through papers onstage detracts from your clean, professional look. While you don’t need to memorize exactly what you’re going to say, you certainly can speak with confidence because you’ve done every step of this project yourself. You’re done! Congratulations!! Be sure to take lots of photos, and send us one! We’d love to see what you’ve done and how you’ve done it. If you have any suggestions, comments, or feedback, let us know! We’re a small company staffed entirely human beings, and we’re happy to help you strive higher!

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