Student's Guide to Science Fair Projects - Easy Step-by-Step
Science fair projects can conjure up feelings of dread and anxiety for most students. However, they can be a lot of fun if you find the right topic and give yourself enough time to complete your project. This guide will walk you through the process of developing a winning science fair projects that will be fun to do.
Student's Guide to Science Fair Projects
Topic, Topic, Who Has a Topic?
The first component of this student’s guide to science fair projects is to select a topic. The topic is the central focus of your project. It needs to be specific, unique and interesting. It also helps if you are interested in the topic.
To come up with a topic start by listing the top ten things that you are interested in right now. Now conduct a little background research on each of these topics to see how science influences these interests. Narrow down your list to your top two or three choices. Now start asking questions about these choices. These questions will help you to narrow down your options and to bring one of the topics into focus for your science fair project.
Before you can get into the meat and potatoes of your project you need to understand your topic. To understand your topic you need to conduct background research. This will involve exploring at least five authoritative sources. Authoritative simply means that the source is reliable. Authoritative sources include textbooks, experts in their fields, reference books and peer reviewed journals. Bad sources to use for your background research include websites that are not edited or supported by a reputable organizations, such as government agency or a non-profit organization.
When conducting background research you will want to examine the specific aspect of the topic that you want to experiment with, such as solar energy or wind energy, as opposed to renewable energy. To help focus your research create a list of keywords to help you find information. A list of five to ten keywords is good enough to get you started.
Now that you have your science fair project topic and background research out of the way you are ready to really plow through the remaining steps in the scientific method. These steps will include coming up with a hypothesis, designing an experiment, collecting data, interpreting data and drawing conclusions. Each step requires you to focus on your topic in a different way.
The hypothesis is basically just a prediction of a cause and effect relationship between variables.
The experiment design will test how your variables could be related
The collection of data will involve running your experiment and documenting your observations. You will then need to analyze your data using statistics and graphs.
Drawing conclusions will be done by looking at your data analysis and seeing how this information supports or rejects the prediction that you made in your hypothesis. You will also need to indicate how reliable your results were and if you have any recommendations for future research.
How to Win A Science Fair Contest
Science Fair Project Supplements
While you may think that all you have to do to complete your science fair project is to run an experiment and collect data there are two turn-ins that you will also need to work on. The first item will be a science fair project report. It will basically present a summary of each step that you took to complete your project. The second item will be a science fair project display board. This item will also include summaries of each step of your project, however, it will also contain graphics and visual elements that help to illustrate what you were experimenting with and what you discovered.