Fourth-Grade Science Projects Without Water

Fourth-grade pupils find many kinds of science projects interesting, and many of these projects require the use of water as a key element in the experiment. However, for fourth-graders who are looking for projects that do not use water, many options are sure to be enjoyable and educational.

  1. Electromagnet

    • Use different batteries to test their effect on the strength of the magnet.
      Use different batteries to test their effect on the strength of the magnet.

      The purpose of this experiment is to build an electromagnet and experiment with its properties. You will need a large nail, wire, wire cutter, direct current switch (optional), different kinds of batteries (AA, AAA, 9-volt) and paper clips or small nails to test the magnet. To build the magnet, strip the ends of the wire and wrap the wire tightly around the large nail 25 to 50 times. Connect one end of the wire to a battery and the other end of the wire to the direct current (DC) switch, or the other pole of the battery if you do not use a DC switch. Create another short piece of wire and connect it to the other pole of the battery and the DC switch. Turn on the DC switch and see if the magnet works. Tests can include how different batteries affect the magnet's power, how the amount of wire affects the power and how the number of times the wire is wrapped around the nail affects the magnet. You can also check how the electromagnet reacts when it comes into contact with a standard magnet.

    Bendable Spinal Column

    • Examine the properties of the human spine.
      Examine the properties of the human spine.

      This project is appropriate for pupils who are interested in anatomy and physiology. You will need a pencil, six spools of about the same size, small pieces of poster board, scissors, a ruler, tape, a hole punch and a bendable straw. Trace the largest end of the spool to make five circles and cut them out. Punch a hole in the center of each circle. Thread the straw through the first spool and tape 1/4 inch of the straw to the base of the spool. Thread a cardboard circle through the straw next, and continue threading, alternating spools and cardboard circles, until the last one is threaded. Tape the end of the straw to the base of the last spool. Hold the model of the spine and see how it moves and stretches. Each spool represents an individual vertebra; the adult human spine has 24 vertebrae.

    Hanging Planet Mobile

    • A model of our solar system can be hung as a mobile.
      A model of our solar system can be hung as a mobile.

      Pupils interested in the solar system can create a representation of our solar system's planets. You will need cardboard boxes, scissors, a pencil, circles to trace, tempera paint, a hole punch, fishing line and 20-gauge craft wire. Research each planet's characteristics and its order in our solar system. Then use circular objects to trace around and create the circles for each planet on the cardboard. Cut out the circles from the cardboard and paint each planet as it looks in outer space. After the planets dry, punch a hole in them and thread fishing line through the hole, tying a knot at the end of the length of fishing line. To create the base of the mobile, use a two-foot length of 20-gauge wire formed into a circle and twisted together to hold it in place. Use another piece of wire to fall through the middle of the circle. This is where you can hang the sun. Finally, arrange the planets around the sun, placing each planet so that the mobile does not fall or tip too far in any direction.

    Footwear Impressions

    • Criminals sometimes get caught based on their shoes.
      Criminals sometimes get caught based on their shoes.

      Pupils interested in forensics or TV detective shows can make footwear impressions. You will need an old shoe, cooking spray, cocoa or hot chocolate powder, a piece of white paper, a small paintbrush and a magnifying glass (optional). Lightly spray the bottom of the shoe with the cooking spray. Press the bottom of the shoe onto the white paper and lift it away. Dip the paintbrush into a small amount of cocoa powder and apply it to the wet area of the shoe print, using a dabbing motion. Blow away the excess powder. If you're using a magnifying glass, you can examine the impression more closely to see if you can identify any features in the tread of the shoe, such as cuts or other unique marks in the tread. Try the same process with different kinds of shoes to explore the differences.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/ Images Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images

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