Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: 8th Grade Science Fair Project ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: 8th Grade Science Fair Project
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: ciao-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 12 Sep 2003 12:39 PDT
Expires: 12 Oct 2003 12:39 PDT
Question ID: 255153
I need a science fair project for the eighth grade.  I am really
interested in volleyball and basketball.  I am also interested in
fashion.  Can you suggest any projects relating to the above that
could work for a science fair project.  Please!
Subject: Re: 8th Grade Science Fair Project
Answered By: digsalot-ga on 12 Sep 2003 14:53 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello there

Since you like fashion and need a science project. may I suggest a
project in anthropology, which is a science, though you won't need
test tubes or a microscope for the project.  In fact, it might wind up
looking more like a fashion display than a science project.  But I
assure you, it is science.

It would be a project in cultural anthropology and trace the history
of fashion and style based not only on culture and tradition, but on
climate, natural resources, migratory or settled status, and more.

You could tie in the development of linen and woolen clothes to
climate variables which not only include temperatures but rainfall and
the amount of pasturage available.  In Egypt where the climate was hot
in summer and mild in winter, you would link the raising of flax and
the development of a style of dress made of linen which was cool in
the heat.  At the same time, in other regions of the ancient mideast
where summers were hot and winters get cold, you could trace the
development of woolen dress for winter and long flowing robes to
protect from the summer heat.

While both areas have hot weather, you could point out the differences
people developed for dealing with it.  Minimal dress in Egypt and the
flowing robes of the desert.

As you move forward in time, you can trace the change of styles in
Europe from the cooler styles of antiquity through the "Little Ice
Age" and how the change of climate effected clothing style.  You can
tie in the development of leather and fur fashions to whether a people
had settled agriculture or were hunters and gatherers and how the use
of the two materials varied with each.  You can also demonstrate how
changing clothing style also represented the influence of other

A project in cultural anthropology would also be unique in that most
students will probably do the standard things about chemistry,
biology, physics, etc.  You will take them by surprise.

There is a lot you could do with an anthropology project based on

If fashion is an interest you might like to follow later in life,
having this kind of background in anthropology can only make you
better at your craft.

Here are some websites that could get you started: - "The
anthropology of dress" - From Univ. of Minnesota, St. Paul - "Makedonskite
narodni nosii - voved" - don't let the title scare you, the site is in
English. - - - "The Folk Costume possesses many other significant
meanings besides its primary purpose of protecting the human body in
various climatic conditions, as well as embellishing it. Apart from
the various mystical and ritual functions, the clothing portrays
territorial appertainance, family status as well as various social
relations of different generations." - quote from the website. - "Virtual Museum of World
Traditional Dress" - From International Folk Culture Center, Inc. -
"The Dawning of Dress:  Adornment and the Afterlife" - An interesting
theory on how the development of religion and the concept of an
afterlife led to personal adornment and fashion. - From - "Ancient Egyptian
costumes" - - "Egyptian dress for men and women, rich or poor, changed
very little over the centuries in Ancient Egypt. The clothing worn by
men and women was made of linen which is made from flax, a plant
having small leaves, blue flowers and stems about two feet tall,
Half-ripe flax stems  were pulled out of the ground and soaked for
several days. The fibers were separated, and were beaten to soften." -
quote from website. - "The History of
Costume - Index #1" - From Southern Illinois University - This is
information from the 19th century but could be a good source of
illustrations. - "Clothing in
Ancient Assyria" - by Assyrian Fine Arts Network - "A Research on
Ancient Iranian Dress, Hat (CAIS at SOAS)" - From University of
London. - "Digital History of
Fashion" - From Furman University

If you have a university nearby, call the cultural or social
anthropology department and tell them your needs.  You may find there
is more help out there than you realize.  If you have a natural
history or archaeology/anthropology museum handy, they also have
resources to help students.  Perhaps they can even supply fabric
samples, photos, and other items to help with your display.

You will also find that some of the websites listed above have good
bibliographies which you can trace down at your local library.

Your interest in fashion can make a spectacular science project and
there is virtually no limit as to the direction or specialization your
project can take.

I wish you the best and if you have anything you need clarified,
please ask.


Request for Answer Clarification by ciao-ga on 12 Sep 2003 17:01 PDT
Thank you so much for the suggestion of a project in anthropology.  I
need however, a beginning.  What would be my hypothesis?  I nned a
little help to get started.  Thanks so much, your suggestion is GREAT!

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 13 Sep 2003 07:29 PDT
Hello there

I didn't find your clarification request till this morning.  Give me a
day to work on it and I will have a couple of outlines ready for you. 
That doesn't mean you will have to follow them exactly but they will
get you pointed in the right direction.

My own anthropology science projects in school wound up paying for my
later education and got me started in a career as an archaeologist. 
You will have something to go on before the weekend is over.


Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 13 Sep 2003 10:05 PDT
Hello again

As I said, anthropology is infinite in breadth and scope, more so than
any other scientific discipline there is.  So I can understand you
suddenly finding a project you say you like, then being instantly
overwhelmed with possibilities.

I will point you toward designing one project whose premise you may
like or not.  What it will do, is give you a framework around which to
build any project you want.

Now, the first thing, and the most important thing to remember, is
that a science project is as much theater as knowledge.  You have to
get the judges attention.

For example, if you have a project in physics among many other
projects in physics, you may all have an aqual amount of knowledge you
can talk to the judges about during the inteviews.

Just so you know, I was the winner of four Signet Key Book Awards, had
automatic Ohio state superior ratings three years in a row after being
judged only at the lowest regional level.  I jumped to the top without
going through the middle.  My high school science projects in
anthropology, specifically Egyption archaeology, paid for classes at
Ohio State, UCLA, Oriental Institute University of Chicago, Chicago
House, Luxor, Egypt.

That is the reason I jumped on this question the second I saw it.  I
know just how important school science projects can be.

You too, now have a project that is every bit as detailed and even
more importantly "more unusual than anything else in the science

That is step one in science fair theater.  Make your project one that
does not quite fit.  In a project about the anthropology of dress, you
will be covering "the archaeology of dress," Fabric making materials
such as linen, wool cotton, which are both biological as well as
weather related subjects.  You will be demonstrating how we know these
things about fabrics from the ancient past.  So you will mention
preservation techniques which include chemistry, biology, even nuclear

Now, that is not as complicated as it seems, especially with a project
like this.

Your subject is "The Anthropology of Dress." - - - - Now, first of
all, how many science fairs even have an anthropology division?  And
then you show up with a legitimate scientific topic "The anthropology
of Dress."  Which seems to fit nowhere.

If you had a project in chemistry, the judges, who have to make sure
every contestant is in their proper category, would have an easy job
placing you.  The other judges would not even have to read your
project's review.  However, you have a project in anthropology, for
which there is usually no assigned placement, they all have to read
your review in order to figure out where to place you.  You have some
of each judges specialty included.  They are all aware of you and have
had to talk about you before the competition begins just to figure you
are in the right area.  And, rest assured, during the day, all of them
will drift by to see what the commotion was about.

That is the end of part one of that aspect of things.

Part 2 is that you have to have the knowledge to back up the show. 
What I have told you above will not get you the prize.  It is only
part of the science fair shuffle.  Those who are top competitors
already know the first basic rule I gave you above, which is try to be
original to the point of truly being original.

That was the easy part.  Now you have to make sure you really know
about the thngs you want to present.  When the judge asks you a
question and it may be the last thing you expected to hear, you have
to come up with the answer.  So, in order to have that detailed
knowledge, break your subject down even more.  Instead of trying to do
the whole of human history when it comes to dress, select a specific
period.  You will not be leaving yourself open to surprise questions. 
If you try to do the whole of history, you could have been
concentrating on Western dress and the judge asks a question about
ancient China???  He/she would be entitled to because your subject
left the whole world open.

On the other hand, if you narrow it down to something as esoteric as
'how the ancient Egyptian need for snow white linen in the formal
dress of the middle classes and higher, effected the development of
chemical sciences, sanitary practices and agriculture,'  you will know
that subject in great detail and the judges may have to do a lot of
digging on their own to even come up with a question that fits your

What you may already have figured out from the paragraph above, is the
detailed nature of the topic.  Next to the written word, the history
and study of clothing and fashion is the second most common way of
learning about the past.  The anthropology of fashion is not some
exotic throw away topic, it answers many questions.

Let's go back to that Egyptian white linen for a minute. - -   Because
fashion demanded the linen be so white, we have to know something
about the Egyptians knowledge of chemistry and chemical processes
creating ammoniated bleaches, how the transportation and storage for a
product that needed to be kept snowy white, effected the Egyptians
concepts of cleanliness and how this, in turn,  effected other
Egyptian sanitary practices.  The same piece of white linen also
speaks of Egyptian agricultural practices.  Of course the Egyptians
grew most of their own flax.  Information about how much area was used
to grow this crop, and how much had to be imported, as against growing
edible crops would be of interest to agricultural judges.

Now we take that same piece of linen to the lab.  We clean the ancient
dust from it.  In that dust we find pollens.  Old pollens are an
excellent record of seasons and weather patterns.  And because certain
plants grow in certain places and not another, we can identify where
that piece of linen came from and what season it was when it was
finally placed in the tomb where it was found.  By analysis of the
fiber, we can tell whether the flax was grown in Egypt or was

This is only a fraction of what a piece of linen can tell us just
because an ancient fashion code demanded a specific type of cloth for
formal dress.

You can see why the anthropology of clothing has an important niche in
the scheme of things.

You asked for a starting point.  Look through the histories of style
provided in the answer.  Pick a period that would interest you.  Now,
within that period, choose a region.  For example your topic might be
"fashions of late antiquity and what they tell us."  Now that is a
large area to cover.  So narrow it down to a region, once again as an
example, "fashions of late antiquity in the Eastern Roman Empire and
what they tell us."

Now that is still a fairly large subject and could keep you open to
some mayhem from judges questions.  Narrow it again to "fashions of
late antiquity in the city of Byzantium 5th-6th centuries."

You can then document how fashion evolution during those two centuries
give us important information ranging from climate change as different
fabrics come into or go out of style (For example, during an extended
period of cooler years, fashion would begin to incorporate warmer
fibers such as wool or the addition of fur trim and linings) to how
extensive foreign trade was.  Silk from Asia and imported cotton were
parts of Byzantine costume, their use, or lack of it, could be strong
economic indicators, or even indicators of expanded or restricted
trade issues.

You can document how fabric studies have provided information about
local agriculture and growth patterns by means of pollen and chemical
analyses.  See what I mean?  You will become an expert on agricultural
practices around the city of Byzantium as well as an expert on the
fashions within it.


Now, maybe I've shown you too much of the manipulative side of science
fairs.  But there is an important reason for it.  In order for that to
work, you have to know that you do actually have a project that stands
a chance of winning even without the bit of extra.  It has to be able
to stand alone.  If you don't have that degree of confidence, the
above won't work.

What that means to a knowing competitor, is that the personal
knowledge of the subject has to be able to withstand any question the
judge can throw within the topic.  You will know your subject well.

A science fair is where one first begins to learn about academic
competition.  It is an arena where ego and the willingness to promote
oneself actually leads to superior work more often than not.

And what if after all of this studying of fashion anthropology, and
who knows, maybe even going on and getting a degree in it someday, you
decide to be a fashion designer instead?

Well, not only will you know "what" your competitors are designing,
you will always be one step ahead of them, you will know the social
factors of "why" they are designing the way they are.  The mere fact
that you are a designer/anthropologist means that you might more
easily interpret what social or economic changes are in the works and
keep one step ahead of it with your own designing.

If you jump into this with both feet, regardless of what happens at
the science fair, you will emerge a winner.

Good Luck

Request for Answer Clarification by ciao-ga on 13 Sep 2003 12:01 PDT
May I keep in touch with you to discuss things that may arise while I
am preparing my project?  I am willing to pay for any questions I
might ask of you.  Please let me know how I get to communicate with
you and not another researcher.  Thanks!  Ciao-ga

Clarification of Answer by digsalot-ga on 13 Sep 2003 13:10 PDT
If you'd like to direct questions to me, you need only include my name
in the subject line of your question.

Of course, if there is any reason I cannot respond in a timely manner,
such as being out of town, many of the other researchers will know and
would be glad to assist you.

So, just to be on the safe side, If you ask a question directed to me,
if I have not responded to it within 48 hours, consider it open for
one of our other excellent researchers.  There are several with an
interest in anthropological subjects.

But I will try to grab them all.

ciao-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $20.00
Great information, guidence, and direction.  You went the extra mile
and pushed me to think deeper.  I really appreciate it.  Also thanks
for sharing with me your past experiences with anthropology.

There are no comments at this time.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy