Earth Science Projects for Middle School

Instructor: Adam Nystrom

Adam owns a Master's degree in Professional and Digital Media Writing. During his time as a graduate assistant, he developed lesson plans for upper-level English courses.

Earth science involves the study of everything from the weather we see outside to volcanic eruptions and the stars in the sky. Read this article to get a few ideas for upcoming middle school science projects.

DIY Volcano

Are you looking to simulate the look of a volcanic eruption? It might be easier than you think. All you need to do is shape some playdough into a cone and sculpt a hole big enough to hold an empty canister for film. Now, combine baking soda and vinegar in the film canister to make your volcano explode! You can adjust the amount of ingredients to make the eruption more or less violent.

When you're finished, check out the Understanding Volcanoes video lessons at to learn more about the types of volcanoes, their formation, and methods for preventing some of the hazards they can cause.

Ideal Stargazing

How does the night sky look from your back yard? Have you ever wondered if the view could be better? Compare the number of stars visible from your back yard to what you can see at the same time of night in another location. You can explore what the differences in stargazing conditions say about local air quality and light pollution, and how they can be affected by temperature.

For more information about air quality, check out this Human Impact on the Atmosphere chapter to discover the sources and types of air pollution as well as the uses of the air quality index.

Breezes at Sea

Your oven is an ideal tool for an experiment that can help you understand air pressure. Use a pan to heat sand to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. After the pan is out of the oven, place it in an area where it won't catch any drafts. Put another pan full of ice next to it. Now, light a candle, and after blowing it out, set it between the two pans. Notice the direction in which the smoke travels, and record your observations about how temperature affects air pressure and creates wind.

Watch the video lessons in the Energy in the Earth System chapter to get more information about air pressure, density and temperature in addition to solar energy, atmospheric circulation, wind and weather fronts.

Additional Resources

To learn more about Earth science, check out additional chapters in the Middle School Earth Science class. These chapters also contain short videos and a ton of self-assessment quizzes that can help you pick out your favorite areas of Earth science for your project and understand the results of your experiment. Topics include:

  • Earth's spheres and structure
  • Plate tectonics
  • Earthquakes
  • Rock deformation and mountain building
  • Thermal energy
  • Earth's material resources

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