Science Fair Survival Package
Science Fair Survival Package
(with special thanks to D.Ross for preparing this science fair package)
What Makes a Good Project?
As kids and parents think about Science Fair projects, they sometimes
wonder how to pick a topic - not how to find an idea, but how to decide
if the idea is a good one.
1. You are interested in the topic - it's something you like
to think about.
· There are hundreds of websites online. You can go to www.google.ca
and type in “science fair ideas” and you will find many.
Make sure you do a project that matches your grade level. Making a volcano
is at about Grade 3. You can also ask your teacher for comments on your
2. You can do a test to find an answer to a question.
· A good Science Fair project is an experiment - that means it's
a test to find an answer to a question you have.
· Don't do demonstrations or simple reports - those don't use
the scientific method.
3. You can do it with only a little help from parents, teachers and
· Having someone else help too much takes away some of your fun
and you don't learn as much.
· Don't be afraid to ask for help if you really need it.
4. It doesn't hurt or scare people or animals, including you.
· It is against the rules of our science fair and of the regional
science fair to hurt or badly scare people or animals as part of an
5. It's a project that, even when you are done with it, makes
you think of new things you want to know.
· Did doing the project, or reading or seeing what happened make
you think of other questions you are curious about?
STEPS IN DOING AN EXPERIMENTAL
The steps in the experimental scientific method as usually
presented are: Observation, Hypothesis, Controlled Experiment, Conclusion.
To actually do a science experiment, many more steps are needed. The
following more accurately reflects the course of an actual experimental
investigation as stated by David Morano.
· The first step is to clearly write down exactly what you have
· Read books, magazines or ask professionals who might know in
order to learn about the effect or area of study.
· Keep track of where you got your information from.
Title the Project
· The title should be short and summarize what the investigation
will deal with.
State the Purpose of the Project
· Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your
observations and questions to write the statement.
· Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess
about what types of things affect the system you are working with.
Form a Hypothesis
· A hypothesis is a question that has been reworded into a form
that can be tested by an experiment.
· There is usually one hypothesis for each question you have.
· You must do at least one experiment to test each hypothesis.
This is a very important step.
Design Experiments to Test Your Hypothesis
· For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have
A control is a neutral "reference point" for comparison that
allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not
· Experiments are often done many times to guarantee that what
you observe is reproducible, or to obtain an average result.
Some Guidelines for Experimental Procedures
· Select only one thing to change in each experiment. Things
that can be changed are called variables.
· Change something that will help you answer your questions.
The procedure must tell how you will change this one thing.
· The procedure must explain how you will measure the amount
of change. Each experiment should have a "control" for comparison
that you can see what the change actually did.
Obtain Materials and Equipment
· Make a list of the things you need to do the experiment, and
Do the Experiments and Record Data
· As you do experiments, record all numerical measurements made.
· If you are not making any measurements, you probably are not
doing an experimental science project.
Record Your Observations
· Observations can be written descriptions of what you noticed
during an experiment, or problems encountered.
· Keep careful notes of everything you do and everything that
· Do any calculations needed from your raw data to obtain the
numbers you need to draw your conclusions.
· Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental
observations, try to answer your original questions.
Other Things You Can Mention in the Conclusion
· If your hypothesis is not correct, what could be the answer
to your question?
· Summarize any difficulties or problems you had doing the experiment.
· Do you need to change the procedure and repeat your experiment?
· What would you do different next time?
· List other things you learned
Please select an idea that will
fit into one of the following categories: