Science project

All That Glitters

Difficulty Level




Safety Issues


Material Availability

All necessary materials are readily available, except gold.

Project Time Frame

4-6 weeks


This project details the properties and uses of gold. 

The goals of this project are: 

  1. To outline the uses of gold.
  2. To explore the monetary value of gold. 

Materials and Equipment

  • Computer with internet access
  • Color printer
  • Digital camera
  • Typical office/craft/hobby supplies (such as paper, pens & poster-board, glue, etc.)
  • Gold samples (optional – if you can’t get real gold, use fake gold for display purposes)
  • Microscope (optional) 

All materials can be found in your home, at local stores, or on ebay. 


Gold is a precious metal, listed on the periodic table of elements. It is the softest of all metals. In natural samples it is often found mixed with other metals, such as silver. Each gold atom has 79 electrons. Its scientific symbol is Au. But gold is so much more than that! The allure of gold is as old as human history itself. To early Native Americans, it became known as “the yellow metal that makes white men crazy.” In this project we take a closer look at the true power of gold. 

Research Questions 
  1. How and where is gold found?
  2. How is gold mined and extracted?
  3. In what ways is gold used by humans?
  4. Is gold a necessity?
  5. Why is gold so costly? 
Terms and Concepts to Start Background Research 
  • Alloy
  • Carat
  • Fool’s Gold
  • Gold Standard
  • Troy weight      

Experimental Procedure 

  1. Research related materials (see bibliography below)
  2. Search and print out images of gold samples that interest you.
  3. Visit jewelry stores, museums, etc. and photograph gold samples.
  4. If possible, also collect several real gold samples, but guard these carefully!
  5. Label all photos.
  6. Examine gold samples under a microscope (optional)
  7. List all the uses for gold.
  8. Compile data on gold prices (per ounce) over time. 
  9. Try to find out which factors cause the price of gold to change.
  10. Try to develop a system for predicting the price of gold.
  11. Clearly describe your ideas in a detailed report.
  12. Show the values and properties of gold with colorful charts and graphs.
  13. Include gold samples (real or fake) in your science fair display.
  14. Show interesting photos taken throughout the course of the project. 


Wiki topic: “Gold” and “Gold Mining.” (World Gold Council) (About gold) (Gold news)

Internet searches of your own choosing: Search for any of the terms listed above (or make up your own phrases to search), and click on any results that interest you. Have fun surfing the net!

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Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

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