Projects on Oil Spills
* Since the industrial age, oil spills have had the potential to cause massive damage to the environment. Students could do projects on the effects of oil spills on various ecosystems. They could also do a project on cleaning up oil spills. The BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico showed how scientists use many different ideas to try to clean up oil spills. A student could do a project showing the various successes of different materials in cleaning up oil.
Water Pollution Projects
* Water is the basis for all life on this planet, and many environmental concerns are ultimately about clean water. Students could check water in nearby rivers or streams for pollutants by testing for pH, nitrates or ammonia content. They could also test to see whether there is a difference between urban and rural water if samples are available. Testing for acid rain by testing rainfall over a period of time is another potential water project option.
* When organic matter is just thrown into a landfill, it decomposes in a way that is not productive to a self-sustaining environment. On the other hand, when organic material is properly composted and used in gardens, lawns or for growing anything, it is actually beneficial to the environment. Students can do a project on the rates at which different types of compost break down based on the types of materials in the compost, and based on the composting worms that they add to it. They could also take the project further and see what effects the compost can have on growing plants.
* Most high school students are going to live in an urban area, so a study of environmental factors in an urban area can be a good project that they can get hands on with. A study of the various plants and animals that exist in a park or the way that the natural habitat changes when humans move into it both make good projects for older students. The effects of smog or urban air quality could be...