Steve visits many science fairs throughout the year and listens to students share their projects. This spring, he found a young man who did an amazing project on the Greenhouse Effect. Saul, a second grader, didn’t just research his topic, he turned it into a true science fair project.
The greenhouse effect is actually a natural process that keeps the Earth warm in the vastness of space. When the sun’s rays hit the Earth, some pass through the atmosphere and some bounce back into space. The rays that pass through are absorbed and warm the Earth. The heat is radiated back up into the atmosphere and absorbed by greenhouse gases. The Earth stays warm.
The burning of fossil fuels releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The gases include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide. These gases have heat-trapping abilities. For more on the greenhouse effect, check out National Geographic’s Interactive graphic.
Saul’s experiment tested the effects of carbon dioxide in heating a small biosphere. His control jar contained only dirt and air, his first test jar had dirt and a plant, symbolizing the rainforest and the second test jar contained dirt and carbon dioxide gas. He used a lamp as the heat source. The jar with the carbon dioxide had a warmer temperature than the other two.
This was a creative and unique science fair project that went beyond the Diet Coke and Mentos experiments and dove into a real world problem. Congratulations to Saul for one amazing project.