Analyze data from tests to determine similarities and differences among several design solutions to identify the best characteristics of each that can be combined into a new solution to better meet the criteria for success.

  1. Microbes

    Slime cities

    Biofilms are like tiny cities of bacteria — some harmless, others destructive. Scientists are learning how to keep these microscopic metropolises under control.

  2. Environment

    Insecticide can change a spider’s personality

    A chemical meant to kill moths affects the behavior of some spiders. It alters the spiders’ ability to capture prey — including those moths.

  3. Plants

    Using plants to solve environmental problems

    Problems in their communities suggested good research projects to three teens. Each wanted to tackle a different issue, from pollution to world hunger. To learn more about these issues, they turned to their local ponds, wetlands and gardens.

  4. Materials Science

    Keeping roofs cooler to cut energy costs

    Cool it! A cheap paint-on coating for roofing shingles could help reduce a home’s heating bills and might even trim urban ozone levels, a teen shows.

  5. Tech

    Making cents of sounds

    Some people give up when a vending machine rejects their money. But one student decided to turn his frustration into inspiration. Through research, he showed how to identify coins by the sounds they make.

  6. Animals

    What’s the buzz? A new mosquito lure

    Broadcasting a fake buzz can lure male Aedes aegypti mosquitoes away from females. That could reduce populations of these annoying — and disease-causing — insects, reports a teen at the 2015 Intel ISEF competition.

  7. Cookie Science 16: If I had to do it all again

    My second cookie experiment didn’t turn out quite like I planned. Here’s what I would do differently, knowing what I do now.

  8. Chemistry

    Cool Jobs: Saving precious objects

    Museum conservators are experts at protecting and restoring precious objects. Along with art or history, many also have studied chemistry, physics, archaeology or other scientific fields.

  9. Cookie Science 15: Results aren’t always sweet

    From my latest experiment, I now know how to make a cookie that my friend can enjoy. But here’s a puzzle: I could not repeat some results from my first set of tests.

  10. Cookie Science 14: One experiment, 400 cookies

    Making delicious gluten-free cookies requires testing. And this means baking a lot of cookies with scientific precision.

  11. Health & Medicine

    How hot peppers can soothe pain

    Peppers can burn the tongue, but soothe sore tissues. Scientists have now sleuthed out how, and the answer shows a role for stretch sensors on cells.

  12. Cookie Science 13: The deal with gluten

    To find out how to improve my gluten-free cookies, I learned a lot about what gluten does, and what other baking ingredients might take its place.