A greenhouse is basically a structure that has been designed to capture and retain the heat from the sun. It is used to grow plants when the climate does not want to cooperate. Greenhouses can be used in a number of science fair projects and can be used to test concepts from a variety of fields of sciences including engineering, physics, botany and biology.
Project #1 Capturing Heat Energy
In this project the students will be designing a greenhouse that captures heat energy from multiple sources. They will be capturing heat energy from the sun and geothermal heat energy from the ground. This project will require the student to learn about heat extraction techniques related to solar energy and geothermal energy.
Sample hypotheses that can be tested with this project include:
(1) The thickness of the plastic used for enclosing the greenhouse impacts the amount of heat conservation in the greenhouse;
(2) The opaqueness of the material used for enclosing the greenhouse impacts the amount of heat conservation in the greenhouse;
(3) The depth of the insulation on the floor of the greenhouse impacts the amount of geothermal heat conservation in the greenhouse.
Project #2 Growing Radishes
In this project the student will build a greenhouse so that they can grow radishes and conduct experiments on the radish plants during times of the year that are not normally conducive to gardening. Radish projects can look at a number of things. For example, students can try to cross pollinate radishes with another root vegetable like carrots, they can attempt to grow radishes in sand or they can try to manipulate the size of the radish by exposing the plant to 20 hours of light per day.
Project #3 Engineering Greenhouses
For students that are interested in engineering, greenhouse science fair projects can be developed with an engineering focus. For example, students can try to develop a greenhouse using nothing but materials that are normally thrown out or recycled, such as cans, bottles and plastic containers. Students will not only need to design and build their greenhouse, but they will also need to test the effectiveness their greenhouse has in regards to collecting and conserving heat energy.
Project #4 Studying Solar Energy Applications
The final project option will be an application project. Students will be learning about solar energy and how to use this knowledge to harness the suns energy to heat a greenhouse. For this project students will design and build a greenhouse that maximizes the energy delivered by the sun. A good approach for this project is to see if their design can magnify solar energy within the greenhouse to make it effective in cold weather.