1. Figure Out Your Project.
One of the biggest Hurdles you face is choosing a good project idea. Some points to consider are:
- choose a topic that interests you
- choose a topic that you can understand
- choose a topic that is not too complicated
Narrow your topic into science project ideas by learning as much as you can about the subject. Discuss your ideas with teachers and people that may be able to help you design your project. Check out the library, magazines, and of course, the sciencefaircenter.com links for information you can use.
After studying your selected topic, begin asking questions that you can answer with scientific experimentation. Keep focusing in on a smaller subtopic until you have a specific question. Your question needs to be very specific. It should indicate the subject to be studied and the variables that will produce the data.
2. Science Fair Project Hypothesis.
The question you choose to answer will become your Science Fair Project Hypothesis. To state the hypothesis, change the question into a statement and include what you expect to happen as a result of your experiment or project.
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 the hypothesis.
3. Make a Plan for your project.
This means if you are doing an experiment, you need to 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, a collection or a computer program, 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.
- Detailed procedure outlining what materials are needed
- How you will conduct the experiment or study.
Use a calendar to schedule your tasks to be sure enough time is allowed for each task.
Add enough time for writing your report and preparing your display. Save a weekend before the Science Fair to handle last minute needs of your report and display.
4. Do your project.
The next step is to follow the plan you have written. Keep a journal or lab notebook to record your data and observations. Try to write detailed notes on everything you observe. You may want to take pictures, videos or make sketches of your observations. These notes are important to your project because they are needed when you write your report and make your display.
Keep in mind that if your project does not work out as expected, you should still use it. Many scientific experiments do not produce the expected outcome, but still can be successful. Tell what you have learned from the results. Explain where the results differ from what you expected. Examine what you learned and keep notes on what you might do differently to improve results. Remember, your science project still produced useful information.
5. Analyze your results.
Once you are finished with the experiment, organize your data and notes. You may want to put your data into a spreadsheet and your notes into word processing. Then study the results.
Ask yourself what happened… do the results agree with your hypothesis… how can you analyze the data to help others understand your project. Make charts and graphs to represent the data to help you analyze it.
Next, draw conclusions from your work. Your conclusion is a summary of the results and discussion of how the results relate to the hypothesis. Does your conclusion answer your original question?
6. Write your report.
Write a report detailing your science project. Include what you did, how you did the project, and what you discovered. Be sure to write about your plan and your experiment. Include your data, and perhaps some of your charts and graphs that help interpret your data. Use the background information earlier as references where appropriate.
As you write your report, make sure it is legible and has correct spelling and grammar. Make it interesting by writing it in your own words. Try to make it neat with an interesting cover.
7. Make your display.
The display is crucial to your success at the actual Fair. Your display must be neat and organized, but also needs to tell the story of your project in a concise. It should include:
- Your Name
- Summary of information
- Explanation of project
- Display items
- Charts, diagrams, graphs, pictures, etc.
- Application of what you learned.
- Written Report with data
You can find display boards at office supply stores. The display is your chance to be creative. Present your work in a visually exciting way that clearly shows your Science Fair Project.
8. Practice your presentation.
When you make your presentation to the judges and others, it is important that you are prepared. Know what you are going to say before you have to say it. By rehearsing your presentation, you become confident talking about your project. Start practicing by yourself, then find some adults to present to as judges.
Practicing will make you calmer and more composed on science fair day. If you are prepared and know what you are going to say, you will do your best and make yourself proud.
9. Do not wait until the last moment.
Plan ahead. Allow enough time to do your science project and you will have fun learning about one of your interests.