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Science Fair

3 Life Changing Science Fair Experiments

Why Are Science Fairs Important?

A science fair project can give your child the first chance to design his or her own learning experience, one that allows him or her to innovate, just as scientists do in the real world. Students will be able to explore personal interests to select an area for his or her science fair project, as well as learn the scientific method to answer a question. Each student will also develop skills above and beyond science proficiency, such as:

1 - Reading Comprehension and Writing: Doing background research and writing a research paper

2 - Math: Creating graphs and performing data analysis

3 - Time Management: Planning a multi-step project

4 - Communication: Presenting and explaining the science fair project

5 - Ethics Understanding: Learning about plagiarism and the importance of credit and citations

Help and Tips:

Here is additional information that you may use to write a science project report. If your project included animals, humans, hazardous materials, or regulated substances, you can attach an appendix that describes any special activities your project required. Also, some reports may benefit from additional sections, such as abstracts and bibliographies. 
  1. Title
    For a science fair, you probably want a catchy, clever title. Otherwise, try to make it an accurate description of the project. For example, I could entitle a project, 'Determining Minimum NaCl Concentration that can be Tasted in Water'. Avoid unnecessary words, while covering the essential purpose of the project. Whatever title you come up with, get it critiqued by friends, family, or teachers.

  2. Introduction and Purpose
    This section introduces the topic of the project, notes any information already available, explains why you are interested in the project, and states the purpose of the project.

  3. The Hypothesis or Question
    Explicitly state your hypothesis or question.

  4. Materials and Methods
    List the materials you used in your project and describe the procedure that you used to perform the project. If you have a photo or diagram of your project, this is a good place to include it.

  5. Data and Results
    Data and Results are not the same thing. Data refers to the actual numbers or other information you obtained in your project. Data can be presented in tables or charts, if appropriate. The Results section is where the data is manipulated or the hypothesis is tested. Sometimes this analysis will yield tables, graphs, or charts, too. For example, a table listing the minimum concentration of salt that I can taste in water, with each line in the table being a separate test or trial, would be data. If I average the data or perform a statistical test of a null hypothesis, the information would be the results of the project.

  6. Conclusion
    The Conclusion focuses on the Hypothesis or Question as it compares to the Data and Results. What was the answer to the question? Was the hypothesis supported (keep in mind a hypothesis cannot be proved, only disproved)? What did you find out from the experiment? Answer these questions first. Then, depending on your answers, you may wish to explain ways in which the project might be improved or introduce new questions that have come up as a result of the project. This section is judged not only by what you were able to conclude, but also by your recognition of areas where you could not draw valid conclusions based on your data.

Appearances Matter
Neatness counts, spelling counts, grammar counts. Take the time to make the report look nice. Pay attention to margins, avoid fonts that are difficult to read or are too small or too large, use clean paper, and make print the report cleanly on as good a printer or copier as you can.


Finding an Idea for Your Science Fair Project

The Topic Selection Wizard asks you a series of questions about everyday interests and activities then recommends an area of science and science fair project ideas that are best for you.

Science Fair Project Ideas lets you browse through hundreds of science fair project ideas.


Your Science Fair Project Question

A scientific question usually starts with: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where. Here are some characteristics of a good science fair project question:

  • The question should be interesting enough to read about, then work on for the next couple months.
  • There should be at least 3 sources of written information on the subject. You want to be able to build on the experience of others!

Once you have chosen a question, Can you answer YES to the following?

  • Can you measure the results? The experiment should measure changes to the variables using percentage, length, width, weight, voltage, velocity, energy, time, etc. If you can't measure the results of your experiment, you're not doing science!

  • Can you conduct a fair test? A "fair test" occurs when you change only one factor (variable) and keep all other conditions the same.

  • Is your experiment safe to perform?

  • Do you have all the materials and equipment you need for your science fair project, or will you be able to obtain them quickly and at a very low cost?

  • Do you have enough time to do your experiment before the science fair?

  • Does your science fair project meet all the rules and requirements for the science fair?
If you don't have good answers for the above issues, then you probably should look for a better science fair project question to answer.

Some science fair projects that involve human subjects, mold, vertebrate animals (animals with a backbone) or animal tissue, pathogenic agents, DNA, or controlled or hazardous substances, need approval from your teacher BEFORE you start experimentation. Now is the time to start thinking about getting approval if necessary for your science project.

Examples

These are examples of good science fair project questions:

  • How does water purity affect surface tension?
  • Which material is the best insulator?
  • How does arch curvature affect load carrying strength?
  • How do different foundations stand up to earthquakes?

 

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