How a volcano works
The time has been
That, when the brains were out, the man would die,
And there an end. But now they rise again
Macbeth, Act 3, Scene 4
Put away those baking soda and vinegar volcano demonstrations, kids. There's a much better middle school science fair project to tackle this year. It's basically a political science experiment, not physics, biology or chemistry, but prospective entrants should be able to convince their advisers that it is genuine research. While the set up is bound to be very costly, students won't bear the expenses (at least not until much later in their lives) because wealthy campaign donors are putting up hundreds of millions in cash to put democracy to the test. All you need to do is watch TV to see what the candidates, reporters and pundits are saying about the crucial issues facing America and notice what consequences flow from the torrent of stupidity.
Of course, any good science fair topic begins with a rigorous question. In this instance the question might be: Can a great nation survive while brain dead?
Evidence is already mounting to support a rigorously supported answer for the inquiry. In months to come the data should be even more plentiful: -- factory closings, stock market crashes, rising unemployment, social safety nets torched, urgent problems left unaddressed, unrest in the streets, loss of national prestige, etc. Tracking the collapse of the nation's sentience and decline in its nervous system functioning should be easily done. Fox News is especially good in reporting and amplifying the data, but the other networks are quickly gaining ground.
For young researchers looking for a quick start, here's a piece on "American Idiocracy" from the Economist.
Remember, kids, your project will also need a working hypothesis. Which would you choose?