Student & Parent Resources
- 1) Choose topic and write project question
- 2) Get topic approved
- 3) Background research on your topic
- 4) Hypothesis
- 5) Design experiment
- 6) List and gather materials
- 7) Conduct experiment and record observations
- 8) Graph and explain data
- 9) Draw conclusions
- 10) Write scientific report
- 11) Display board
- 12) Oral report
Choosing a Topic
Brainstorm some possible questions that you are interested in learning more about. This question will drive your entire project.
1) Topic must be provable using the scientific method.
2) Topic must be of interest to the general public and YOU!
3) Must be able to put data into numbers.
4) Projects should NOT discriminate. NO negative stereotypes.
5) Anything involving pets or children must be pre-approved and be HUMANE.
6) Anything involving fire or firearms must be pre-approved.
Once you have decided on your topic/project question, get approval in order to start your project. This question can be the title of your project.
You must complete this page in order to start your project. You may use computers, science books, hobbies, etc. for ideas. Think about rumors or myths you have heard or might want to disprove. After you complete this, you may check with your teacher for topic approval.
#1: Topic must be provable.
#2: Topic must be of interest to the general public.
#3: Must be able to put data into numbers.
#4: Projects should NOT discriminate. NO negative stereotypes.
#5: Anything involving pets or children must be pre-approved and be HUMANE.
List three of your interests:
What is your topic trying to PROVE (or disprove)?
What VALUE is there to what you want to prove? (WHY would people care?)
If so, who would care?
Can your topic results be put into numbers (quantitative)? ___________________ *it cannot be opinion-based
How does your topic relate to science?
What is the title of your project?
This assignment is important because it will affect you in three ways:
- It is graded (extra credit)
- You will use it when you talk to the judges to convince them that you really understand your topic.
- The effort you put into this research will affect your language arts grade when you have to write a 10 page science fair paper in January. You need to do a thorough job on your research NOW so you will be able to use the information in your report.
Research means gathering information from different sources. Research will be different for every experiment. While completing research, focus on broader topic, not just the particular experiment. For example, if a student is experimenting with the affect of road salt on plants, research might include: where road salt comes from, how it is obtained, where in the country it is most often used, why it is used, how it works, how much is applied, how brands of road salt differ, what the salt molecule looks like, how salinity affects plants, what type of plants are most affected, and etc.
To begin, you need to come up with some questions to guide your research. For example, suppose you want to discover which kind of soil aloe plants prefer. Some questions you might ask are:
-What are some traits or characteristics of aloe plants?
-What is the scientific name for an aloe plant?
-To what area are aloe plants native?
-What growing zone do aloe plants prefer?
-How often should one water aloe plants?
-Do aloe plants require fertilizer or a certain type of soil?
-Have similar experiments been done on this topic? What did they test and what were the results?
Your report must use Times New Roman font size 12 and be double spaced. Feel free to embed graphics and/or charts. Each page of the report must have a heading that is centered at the top and include page numbers. For example, the hypothesis page must have the heading HYPOTHESIS at the top.
Title page – Make the title clear and interesting. Include name(s) and period # at the bottom of the title page. Include a picture that relates to your topic.
Table of Contents – List the page numbers and titles of each section. Do this section LAST, once you know what actual the page numbers are and where each section belongs.
Acknowledgments (Page 1) – Thank people who helped you with your project.
Statement of Purpose (Page 2) – This is the “Problem Statement”. Please explain: what you chose to study, why you chose it, who cares about your research, and how would it benefit a population.
Hypothesis (Page 3) – State the researcher’s AND class hypotheses or “best educated guess”. Explain WHY you guessed what you did, and if your partner has a different hypothesis, please include that as well. Your report should be written in THIRD person, NOT in first person. YOU MUST INCLUDE A GRAPH OF YOUR CLASS SURVEY and explain the data.
Background Information (Pages 4-5) – Provide meaningful information about your topic of study. This should include a background history of your topic and at least 7 SCIENTIFIC facts about your area of research. Please include diagrams if necessary and make sure it is easy to understand. This section should be about two pages (or more) and is graded more heavily than other sections. Remember to include citations for your information.
Procedure (Page 6) – Describe what you did to test your topic in detail – step by step. Use numbers if you would like. This section must be clear so that it could be replicated by someone reading the report. THIS IS THE ONLY PART OF THE REPORT THAT CAN BE IN BULLET/NUMBER FORMAT!
Materials (Page 7) – List the materials and estimated costs in a chart. At the end of the chart there should be a total. This does not include the materials for your display board.
Observations (Page 8) – Give the results of your data without any of your opinion. You must include at least one GRAPH here to show your results in detail.
Conclusion (Page 9) – State the results of your testing. Was the hypothesis correct? Were the results surprising or expected? Did something go wrong during the experiment? What would improve the experiment if it were to be repeated?
Works Cited (Page 10) – This shows the sources of information (books, websites, magazines etc.) A search engine is NOT a source, so do not write down google.com because that is not acceptable. Use MLA format and feel free to use sources like “BIBME.com” to help you out.
Display Board Guide
- Size: 36” x 48” trifold
- Name(s) & period front & back
- Include all steps of scientific method
- Minimum 2 graphs
- Do NOT include: title page, table of contents, acknowledgements, works cited
- Large title & enlarged font (easy to read)
- Use bullet points for any/all sections (especially background information)
- Photographs (include some that show YOU performing the experiment)
- Interesting title
- Photo paper
- Backing for all information & photos
- Neat & organized
- No glitter, but glitter glue is OK
Oral Presentation Guide
- 5-10 minutes
- Bribe your audience (no $), involve your audience (make it interactive)
- Go over all 7 steps scientific method & give 5 of the 7 scientific facts
- Make eye contact, speak clearly, be enthusiastic
- Give quiz at the end
- Share the spotlight with partner
- Hand in your report immediately before presentation
- PRACTICE 🙂
- Stand in front of the display / turn back on audience / fidget
- Speak too quickly/softly
- Stare at the ground, focus on just one person, or read off cards/display board