35 of the Best 8th Grade Science Experiments for Classrooms or Science Fairs

Did somebody say Rube Goldberg machine?

8th Grade Science

8th grade science introduces new and interesting concepts, and often includes a science fair open to the entire school. These experiments are perfect to bring biology, physics, chemistry and more to life in the classroom. They also make for really cool science fair projects. It’s time to blind your students with science! (Well, not really—please use all the right safety equipment, okay?)

1. Stand on a pile of paper cups.

Combine physics and engineering and challenge 8th grade science students to create a paper cup structure that can support their weight. This is a cool project for aspiring architects.

Learn more: Science Sparks

2. Conduct fingerprint analysis.

8th Grade Science Fingerprints Pixabay Image

Budding forensic scientists will love this idea. Learn to dust for prints and try a technique called “fuming” for trickier surfaces. See if you can compare prints and make accurate matches in the classroom.

Learn more: Home Science Tools

3. Blow out a candle with a balloon.

Blowing up a balloon with baking soda and vinegar is the classic acids and bases experiment. Take it a step further by experimenting with the carbon dioxide it produces. (Don’t be afraid of fire in the science classroom! Here’s why you should try it. )

Learn more: Edventures With Kids

4. Guide a growing plant through a maze.

8th Grade Science Plant Maze KiwiCo

Prove that plants really do seek out the light by setting up a simple or complex maze. This is a simple 8th grade science project with really cool results.

Learn more: KiwiCo

5. Extract your own DNA.

8th Grade Science DNA Home Science Tools

DNA is the blueprint of life, and you’ll be surprised at how easy it is to extract your own with a few simple supplies. Preserve it in alcohol in the freezer when you’re done.

Learn more: Home Science Tools

6. Turn juice into spheres.

You’ll need a few special supplies for this experiment, but the results are so cool. Spherification is a chemical process that’s become popular with food scientists, and your 8th grade science students will get a kick out of seeing it in action. 

Learn more: Science Buddies

7. Construct a Rube Goldberg machine.

8th Grade Science Rube YouTube

Create a machine to complete a simple task in the most complicated fashion! This is a neat 8th grade science project, because it allows you to use a variety of physics concepts in a fun way. See an example in this YouTube Video, and learn more about Rube Goldberg machines here.

8. Measure and compare lung capacity.

This experiment combines math and biology to measure lung capacity using a balloon. There are a lot of interesting hypotheses students can form, document, and explore while taking these measurements.

Learn more: Blog She Wrote

9. Block the sun’s UV rays.

8th Grade Science UV Steve Spangler

Use color-changing UV beads (readily available online) to test the protective power of medicine bottles, hats, clothing, and more. This is an 8th grade science experiment with nearly endless possibilities.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

10. Discover the strength of interleaved paper.

8th Grade Science Phone Books Science Buddies

Paper seems smooth and slides apart easily, right? This experiment challenges that notion by interleaving multiple pieces of paper and testing their strength. It’s an easy project with fascinating results.

Learn more: Science Buddies

11. Assemble a Newton’s cradle.

Newton’s cradle is a fascinating way of demonstrating momentum and energy transfer. Follow the directions at the link to build one, or challenge 8th grade science students to experiment with their own construction methods.

Learn more: Babble Dabble Do

12. Separate water into hydrogen and oxygen.

8th Grade Science Electrolysis Navigating by Joy

Use electrolysis to prove that water really is made up of hydrogen and oxygen. It’s a simple concept, but one that never fails to amaze.

Learn more: Navigating by Joy

13. Build an infinity mirror.

8th Grade Science Infinity Mirror Science Buddies

Experiment with optical illusions by creating a tunnel of lights that seems to stretch away into infinity. 8th grade students will learn about engineering and the physics of optics along the way.

Learn more: Science Buddies

14. Grow a carbon sugar snake.

8th Grade Science Carbon Snake KiwiCo

Remember those little black pellets that fire up into long snakes on the Fourth of July? This is the same concept, but much bigger! The simple chemical reaction of sugar and baking soda makes it happen.

Learn more: KiwiCo

15. Raise a hydraulic elevator.

This hydraulics project was originally written for younger kids, but it works for older ones just as well. They can tinker around with the design and see just how much weight their elevator can hold.

Learn more: Teach Beside Me

16. Generate a Lichtenberg figure.

8th Grade Science Lichtenberg

Lichtenberg figures capture the branching path of electricity as it travels through an object. You can make your own in a variety of ways, including burning it into wood or acrylic.

Learn more: Science Notes

17. Teach a computer to play tic-tac-toe.

8th Grade Science TicTacToe Pixabay

This intermediate Javascript coding project requires some very basic background programming knowledge. It’s perfect for kids with an interest in all things computers.

Learn more: Science Buddies

18. Cast animal tracks.

Explore wildlife biology by becoming an expert tracker! Learn to identify tracks and take casts, even if you can’t go for a hike in the woods.

Learn more: Blog She Wrote

19. Assemble a spring scale.

8th Grade Science Spring Scale Science Buddies

Apply Hooke’s Law to find out if the stretching of a spring can be used to accurately measure the weight of objects. The materials are simple, but you’ll need patience and physics to calibrate a spring and use it to test weights.

Learn more: Science Buddies

20. Brew up some root beer.

8th Grade Science Rootbeer Steve Spangler

Who says science can’t be delicious? Plus, any experiment where you get to use dry ice is always fun (take proper safety precautions, please). This yummy project teaches chemical reactions and of course, requires a taste test.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

21. Construct a cup holder.

Can your 8th grade science students build a device to stabilize and carry two cups of water, using only a few simple supplies? Oh, and can they manage it in just 5 minutes? This timed challenge pushes their creative engineering limits!

Learn more: Homeschool Creations

22. Test water quality.

8th Grade Science Water Testing Homeschool Scientist

A student water testing kit opens up limitless options for 8th grade science experiments. Test the water quality of local streams, swimming pools, or even their taps at home.

Learn more: The Homeschool Scientist

23. Extract bismuth from Pepto-Bismol.

8th Grade Science Pepto Popular Science

This is the kind of project that really makes you feel like a scientist. Grinding tablets with a mortar and pestle, filtering in beakers, heating over a bunsen burner … kids will need supervision and some special materials, but their inner chemist will love it all.

Learn more: Popular Science

24. Make a solar desalinator.

8th Grade Science Desalination Science Buddies

Clean freshwater is a valuable commodity. Construct solar-powered desalination devices with readily available materials, and find the most effective desalination methods.

Learn more: Science Buddies

25. Perform a starch test with iodine.

This simple chemistry experiment uses iodine to determine the starch content of food items. In a world that’s become more aware of the effects of starch on our diet, this seems like a timely activity.

Learn more: Biology Notes for IGCSE

26. Keep your hands warm.

8th Grade Science Handwarmer Steve Spangler

If you live in a chilly part of the world, chances are you’ve seen chemical hand-warmers for sale. In this 8th grade science experiment, you’ll make your own hand-warmer by harnessing the power of oxidation.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

27. Create a rainbow of flames.

8th Grade Science Fire ThoughtCo

You can change the color of fire by adding chemicals found at your local grocery store—what a sight! This experiment is easy to set up, but of course, requires safety precautions.

Learn more: ThoughtCo

28. Get your laundry really clean.

8th Grade Science Cleaning Steve Spangler

Find out if all those laundry detergent commercials are really telling the truth with this 8th grade science experiment. Test their cleaning power on a variety of stains and fabrics, and analyze your results.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

29. Explore symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

8th Grade Science Symbiosis

Many plants depend on nitrogen for growth, but how important is it? This science project compares the growth of pea plants with and without nitrogen-fixing bacteria.

Learn more: Education.com

30. Crash cars for science.

8th Grade Science Crash The Ardent Teacher

This is a great class project for teachers, but it’s also excellent for an 8th grade science fair experiment. Build cars and crash-test them to learn the best methods of keeping passengers safe.

Learn more: The Ardent Teacher

31. Discover the center of gravity.

Once you find and maintain its center of gravity, almost any object will balance, even in surprising circumstances. This is such a fun concept to play around with!

Learn more: Rookie Parenting

32. Power up homemade batteries.

8th Grade Science Battery 124 Homeschool 4 Me

Building batteries is a classic science experiment for any age. Make it into a project by trying different variables and exploring the amount of power you can produce.

Learn more: 123 Homeschool 4 Me

33. Examine the connection between personality and memory.

8th Grade Science Memory Educationcom

Do introverts have better memories than extroverts? This science project aims to find out. Round up some willing volunteers and administer the Meyers-Briggs personality test, then challenge your subjects with a memory test. The results may or may not surprise you!

Learn more: Education.com

34. Concoct and test your own shampoo.

8th Grade Science Shampoo Science Buddies

Ever wonder what makes shampoo effective? In this experiment, you’ll cook up your own recipes and try them out to see which ingredients work best.

Learn more: Science Buddies

35. Fuel a film canister rocket.

8th Grade Science Alka Seltzer Steve Spangler

Fire a film canister into the air using the chemical reactions of Alka-Seltzer. Once you’ve mastered the basic process, experiment with different strengths of solutions and sizes of container to see how high your rocket can go.

Learn more: Steve Spangler Science

Looking for more? We’ve got science experiments and projects for every grade, K-8.

Plus, ensure your STEM activities engage every student—Get 5 Strategies for Inspiring an Inclusive STEM Culture in Your School.

35 of the Best 8th Grade Science Experiments for Classrooms or Science Fairs

Posted by Jill Staake

Jill Staake is a writer living in Tampa, Florida. She's spent most of her life teaching in traditional classrooms and beyond, from 8th grade English to butterfly encounters, and believes learning is a life-long process.

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