something you are interested in.
Since science fair projects require a lot of effort. Choose a topic you
are interested in or you will not enjoy working on your project or
learn much from it.For example, If you like sports you could try to
measure how the distance a rugby ball travels in the air is related to
the angle at which it is kicked upward. If you like music you could try
to measure and compare the volume of sound from different CD's to try
to determine which CD's are loudest. Or you could try to determine the
effect music has on people's emotions.
all the assistance you can in performing and understanding your
project, but do the work yourself.
You will get a much better understanding of why things do and do not
work as expected.
wait until the last minute to start your project.
A good project requires that you spend a lot of time thinking about it.
The judges want to test your understanding of your project, of how it
works or other scientific and technical issues. You should also allow
enough time to repeat your experiment more than once.
experiment is to test an idea about something, not to prove you are
right. Don't get upset if your
experiment demonstrates that your idea (hypothesis) is incorrect. You
may even want to revise your hypothesis in light of what you find out
from your experiments, especially if you find a more interesting line
Practical hints for Science Fair
want to pick a subject for your science project that you like. If
you're not sure what you would like to do, consult with local
professionals in the subject area you would like to investigate. Many
people would be glad to help, they just need to be asked. Also,
continue to keep in touch with them, as they could give you advice and
direction throughout your project.You need to find out some background
information on your topic and try to understand any terms associated
with your subject that you’re unfamiliar with. From here you
will start to see GAPS in our
knowledge, the possibility of a
project is beginning to show itself!
with an idea about something you want to test. A hypothesis is just an
idea of what you think might happen under a specific set of conditions.
Setting a hypothesis at the beginning is to keep you focused on
answering a specific question and to keep your experiment on track. It
is not intended to lock you into one idea that can't be changed later
on when you find that it was incorrect. An example of a hypothesis
would be: Does cigarette smoke have a damaging effect on plant growth?
Keep things as simple as possible. A variable is a condition of the
experiment that you could change to affect the outcome, eg,
temperature, amount of light, etc. It's much better to test only one
You need to have a standard to test your experimental results against.
For example, if you're studying the effect of cigarette smoke on plant
growth, you will probably keep some plants that were not exposed to
cigarette smoke to compare them the others to. The plants that grew in
the same conditions except for being exposed to cigarette smoke are
called "controls". Most experiments will have controls and it's worth
taking time to figure out what a good control would be for your
Size: You will need to have
several "subjects" in your experiment. For example, you'll need to test
the effect of cigarette smoke on several plants, not just one.
Allow enough time for complications if things don't go right the first
time. You might need to start your experiment over again. Allow 6-8
weeks to complete the experiment. It is usual for an experiment to be
repeated. This needs to be taken into account as well.
a detailed notebook: Don't
cross anything out, you might need to refer back to it later. Entries
should be dated with the date and the number of days into the
experiment. Include all observations, don't assume you'll remember
points and particulars. What might not seem important at the time might
be an important result later and might actually support your
conclusion, so you'll want an accurate record of it.
your results by reporting things
in numbers, not just observations. For example, say that your plants
grew 1 centimeter. Don't say that the plants "look bigger today than
they did yesterday". Record your numbers in a table. These are "raw
data", a list of numbers, and should not appear in your finished
project. We will turn this list of numbers into a picture later on - a
data support your hypothesis? If not, that's a result too. It
doesn’t mean that the experiment didn't work. Also, consider
other possible explanations for your results. Did your treatment kill
your plants or was it that you forgot to water them? You're not out to
"prove" your hypothesis. Think more along the lines of "here's what I
thought was going to happen and here's what actually happened" and then
go on to explain why you think it happened the way it did.
show the tables of the raw data. These are lists of numbers, and its
difficult to see what is going on. A graph is a picture - making it
easier and quicker to see a pattern in the results. If you have to
present numbers, use averages, not individual measurements. Also, don't
present the data more than once. Don't make a line graph and pie chart
of the same data.
sample size (n=?). Older students should give some statistical analysis
of their data, such as standard deviation, chi-squared or students
print large enough to read from a distance.
sure that you understand all the terms and acronyms you present.
about future experiments and how you could expand on a project. Many
students do science fair projects in consecutive years. You should
think about expanding and significantly changing your project, not just
repeating the same project.
Remember those local professionals or
experts you consulted at the
start? Perhaps they could review your draft presentation and go over
how you could present your findings. They might be able to spot areas
you need to improve on and point out the strong points that would be