Some good ideas for middle school science projects include studying the rate of mold growth on various surfaces or examining how search engines work. Projects with complete kits available, such as making a battery out of a potato, serve as good last-minute options.
A mold growth study project consists of three different types of food, each sealed in an airtight sandwich bag. The student seals the samples in the plastic bags, then applies water from a squirt bottle. For more variation, this project can be performed with wet, dry and cooked versions of each sample food type. Soon, mold grows on the samples and the student measures how quickly it grows on each sample.
One example of a good computer science project for middle school students is to examine the effectiveness of different search engine algorithms. Using three different search engines, the student enters a given set of keywords and examines the results returned. Each search engine's results should have a different level of relevance to the search terms. The student can compare the results from different search engines and the variation in results over time.
For a last-minute project, an all-in-one science kit can save the day. A popular kit project is using a potato as the battery to power a clock. Inexpensive home science kits are available that contain all the plugs, wires and accessories needed to build a potato clock.