Direct questions to:
Lisa Sinclair email@example.com
Define Your Project by Asking a Question: Find a Project That’s Right for You!
Start with something that interests you and that you can understand. A common mistake a student can make is to choose a subject they do not like or that is too complicated. Projects will take a lot of time and effort, so choose something that will be fun and enjoyable. Narrow down your topic by learning as much as you can about the subject. Then fine-tune your project to get to a specific question (e.g. How are crystals formed?). Your question needs to be very specific. Fine-tune your subject by asking:
- Is my topic interesting?
- Is my topic realistic?
- Is it something I can do?
- Can I investigate my topic by experimenting and collecting data?
- Can I afford what I will need to investigate my topic?
- Do I have enough time to complete the experiment?
Teachers can guide students to make appropriate choices and supply resources that trigger ideas. A brief suggestion list is included in this packet. Books containing suggestions will be made available in the library and there is no end to the information available on the Internet.
Perform Your Experiment: Use the Scientific Method.
The scientific method is a way to ask and answer scientific questions by making observations and doing experiments.
The steps of the scientific method are:
- Ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When Who, Which, Why or Where?
- Do background research: use resources to find the best way to do things and stop mistakes.
- Construct a hypothesis: “If __[I do this]______ then _________will happen.”
- Test your hypothesis by doing an experiment: Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is true or false. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same.
- Analyze your data and draw a conclusion: Collect your measurements and analyze them to see if your hypothesis is true or false.
- Communicate your results: To complete your science fair project, you will communicate your results to others in a final display board.
Write Your Hypothesis.
The specific question you choose to answer can be turned into your Hypothesis. Your Hypothesis is what you expect to happen as a result of your experiment or project (e.g. your prediction). To state the Hypothesis, change the specific question identified above into a statement and include your expected outcome. Testing your hypothesis is at the heart of the scientific method. Accepting or rejecting your hypothesis is the core of your science fair project. How you organize your work should revolve around the way you wrote your hypothesis.
Make A Plan.
Plan and conduct your experiment. If you are doing a demonstration, you need to plan and practice your demonstration. If you are doing a model or collection, you need to develop a plan to accomplish your tasks and complete the project. Some basic elements your plan should cover are:
- State your question and hypothesis.
- The purpose of your experiment.
- The variables you will change and measure.
- Determine and if necessary purchase needed materials.
- Determine how you will conduct the experiment.
Allow Plenty of Time
Science fair investigation requires time management skills. Students must budget their time, space out the work into manageable chunks and make a sensible schedule. They must complete their experiment early enough to have ample time for making conclusions and retesting results, if necessary, for confirmation and confidence in their data. Preparing the display board always takes longer than imagined and planned, so a weekend for pulling everything together is suggested. Please pay attention to the schedule on the first page to avoid doing things at the last minute.
Report Your Findings.
Report your findings on a tri-panel display board. See the guidelines tab.
Possible Questions To Get Started
Why does bread rise?
Does the shape of an ice cube affect how quickly it melts?
Which materials absorb the most water?
What is the optimal time for cooking microwave popcorn?
Does temperature affect the growth of plants?
Does the shape of a kite affect its flight?
Which do dogs understand better … hand signals or voice commands?
Do all colors fade at the same rate?
How far does a snail travel in one minute?
Does sound travel best through solids, liquids or gases?
Does an earthworm react to light and darkness?
Which way does the wind blow most frequently?
What things will glow under a black light?
Will chilling an onion before cutting it keep you from crying?
Display Board Guidelines
- Synopsys Outreach Foundation has generously donated display boards. In order to receive your FREE board, submit your entry form by January 18th, 2017 and grab your board in the MPR from 7:50-8:10 am on January 19th, 2017
- Each project must have a display board. Students may also physically display their experiment, but this is optional.
- The display must be a 3-sectioned board that is self-standing and will sit on a table but fold and close flat.
- Construction or contact paper, cloth, or paint may be applied over the 3 sections.
- The display briefly summarizes the problem, hypothesis, procedures, results, and conclusions.
- You may layer the paper with your words or drawings on top of larger colored sheets of paper to “frame” your work.
- Photos of you doing your experimentation are a terrific eye catcher!
- Be creative. Use attractive colors, large print and high contrast. This is the big pictorial advertisement of your project. People should look at your board and want to see more!
- Your name and grade should be clearly written/typed on the bottom of the center front section as well as the top center of the back. Label all materials with grade and name.
You want a display that people will remember positively. So before you glue everything down, lay the board on a flat surface and arrange the materials a few different ways. This will help you decide on the most suitable presentation.