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Science Fair Projects


Title: Science Fair Project Author: rpautz Last modified by: User Created Date: 10/19/2003 6:40:30 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show (4:3) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Science Fair Projects

Science Fair Projects
  • Tips for a Successful Project

Selecting a Topic
  • Web pages
  • Use a search engine (Yahoo, etc.)
  • School library
  • Public library
  • University Library

How to Identify a Good Topic
  • Topic has to be narrow, specific.
  • Topic must be realistic, practical (do you have
    access to the equipment, etc.).
  • Topic must fall within the constraints of the
    rules and regulations.
  • Topic must match your interests!

Types of Projects
  • Models
  • Most have limited creativity!
  • An example of a creative model would be a design
    for a more efficient airplane that would include
    experiments supporting the theory behind the
    model design.

Type of Projects
  • A repeat from the past
  • An example would be an illustration of a
    scientific law.
  • This type of project might lack creativity!
  • Look for an original application rather than a
  • View things from a different angle!
  • For example write a computer program to
    simulate Mendels genetics.

Types of Projects
  • Original Investigation
  • This is the most difficult to plan or conduct!
  • It requires more library research, more critical
    thinking and lab work, but is also the closest to
    a scientific approach.

Planning For Your Project
  • Narrow your topic
  • For example instead of studying the effects of
    acid rain on a pond, investigate the effect of an
    acidic environment on a specific plant in a lab

Planning For Your Project
  • Document what you read
  • Use index cards in a library search!
  • For Books Record authors name, title,
    publisher, date of publication
  • For Magazines Record authors name, title,
    journal name, publisher, volume number, and page
  • For an Internet Source Record author and URL.

Example of a Scientific Bibliography
  • Magazines
  • Young, M., Pinhole Optics, Applied Optics,10,
    2763 (1971).
  • Fitch, J. M., The control of Luminous
    environment Scientific American, 219, 190 (Sep
  • Prigo, Robert, Bachman, C.H., some observations
    on the process of walking, Physics teacher.14.
    360 (1976).

Example of a Scientific Bibliography
  • Books
  • Goldstein, Herbert, Classical Mechanics,
    Addisson-Wesley, Reading, MA (1950), p.308.
  • Uvarov, Boris, Grasshoppers and locusts a
    handbook of general acridology, Cambridge
    University Press, London vol.1 (1977) p.479.

Plan Your Equipment
  • Be realistic! Cut down on expenses.
  • If you are an exceptionally talented high school
    student, you might be invited upon recommendation
    of your teacher to be mentored by a university
    professor. Therefore, you will have access to a
    university lab under your mentors supervision.

Plan Your Equipment
  • If you can construct some of your own equipment
    to gather data, this is a plus because you
    demonstrate creativity.
  • You may make the measurements at school by making
    arrangements with a teacher.

Plan for Safety
  • Avoid disease causing organisms, explosive gases,
    and/or dangerous chemicals!
  • If your project presents any safety concerns,
    make certain to work under the supervision of a
    qualified scientist.
  • Always share your project with your science
    sponsor at school! He or she will inform you
    about safety or refer you to someone who can
    advise you.

Plan Your Time
  • Keep a book where you will record your data and
    an agenda, list of supplies, bibliography, etc.
  • Plan your time for each part of your project.
  • Set a realistic timeline, as well as a deadline.
  • This will train you in learning responsibility
    and organization.

Realistic Planning Timeline
Duration What Date due
Selecting topic
Refining topic
Preparing plans
Conducting experiments
Evaluating results
Preparing reports
Prepare the display Board
Presenting the project
Scientific Method
  • Hypothesis (Your Purpose)
  • Should be one, clear and brief sentence based
    on the information gathered during research. The
    hypothesis is followed by a brief statement
    explaining or justifying this purpose.
  • Do not consider your experiment or project a
    failure if your investigation does not confirm
    your hypothesis. Just say that your hypothesis
    is not verified in your conclusion. The
    important point is to arrive at the truth. You
    may suggest further research or include a second
    phase in your project if the time permits.

Your Experiment
  • Outline steps keep design as simple as
    possible (the more complicated, the greater the
    chance of error).
  • Types of Data/ Observations
  • 1) qualitative careful observations without
    getting involved in measurement or statistical
  • 2) quantitative measurements and collection of
    numerical data (use the metric system) best type
    of data because it permits you to use mathematics
    to establish relations not based on opinions,
    but facts.

Doing Your Experiment
  • Include a control vary the experimental
    conditions if the outcome is caused by another
    factor, this will allow you to single out the
  • Keep accurate and regular records.
  • Objectivity Do not discard a result that is not
    in agreement with the rest of the study. Lone
    results may be due to faulty or contaminated
    samples, math errors, or give a clue to some
    interesting discovery.

  • Keep a notebook for recording any information,
    observations and data (in tables, graphs, etc.).
    Do not use scrap paper - use photographs,
    drawings, diagrams, etc.
  • You must never commit results to memory.

Your Conclusion
  • Must come directly and solely from the data in
    your notebook.
  • If you cannot arrive at any conclusion from your
    data, find a different approach to your
  • Must be clear and concise. Do not hesitate to
    present all the conclusions your data can support
    (especially if your project has several phases).
  • Do not reach a conclusion that is not supported
    by your data!
  • The conclusion should suggest a direction for
    further study.

What To Include In Your Report
  • A Title
  • Do not be vague.
  • Include both the dependent and independent
    variables in your title.
  • In an engineering project, the title might
    be the name of your design or your design versus
    its performance in a given environment.

  • The Abstract
  • The abstract is the summary of your scientific
  • Make certain that you write the abstract only
    after you write the report so you may stick to
    the essentials.

  • State Your Purpose
  • Be brief! You want to familiarize the reader
    with the problem you are intending to solve.
  • Explain what impact your investigation may have
    on scientific or technical knowledge.

  • Explain Your Methods
  • This is your procedure.
  • The materials you use.
  • This is the step-by-step investigation.

  • Follow-Up With Results
  • These are your observations.
  • Your observations will be recorded in sentences
    and paragraphs. Be clear concise simple and
  • You may use photos or schematic illustrations.
  • Record in tables and/or graphs.
  • Graphs take a primordial place in the way the
    scientific community communicates information .
  • They are almost always included in any scientific

Organization of Data in a Table
  • The independent variable is written in the first
  • For example when you walk, the distance you
    walk is changing as a function of time (D f
    (t). Time is the independent variable and
    distance is the dependent variable.
  • The time data will be in the first column and
    the distance data in the second column.
  • Note As shown in the next slide, if an SI
    unit is named after a person, it has to be
    capitalized. The unit of current is named after
    the scientist Ampere and the unit of potential is
    named after the scientist Volta. The equation
    is V R (I). The amount of volts depend on the
    amount of current.

Example of a Data Table Note the independent
variable is placed in the first column.
Current (Amperes) Potential (Volts)
0.12 1.2001
0.14 1.3358
0.18 1.7871
0.20 2.0004
0.25 2.4715
Example of a Graph
Example of a Graph
  • Analyze Your Results
  • Establish relationships or proportionality
  • Determine how data are mathematically related.
  • The variables are directly proportional (straight
    line y mx b).
  • The variable are inversely proportional
    (hyperbola y k/x).
  • The variables vary as a square function
    (parabola y ax2 bx c).

Conclude Your Report
  • Use your analysis to establish conclusive
  • The conclusion should always include suggestions
    for further research to solve the problem or look
    at it from a different angle. (What new problems
    or questions were uncovered by the project?)

Include Your References
  • This is your bibliography. (See examples on
    Slide 10 and Slide 11.)

Your Board Display
  • The Exhibit Size is Limited!
  • 76 cm (30 inches) deep, front to back.
  • 122cm (48 inches) wide, side to side.
  • 274 cm (108 inches) high, floor to top.
  • Projects exceeding these dimensions are
    automatically disqualified!

Presenting Your Project
  • Introduce yourself. Do not mention your school.
    Give the title of your project.
  • Explain your purpose. Summarize any background
    information. Discuss briefly how you developed
    an interest in the topic.
  • Explain how you proceeded. Use your display to
    support your explanations.

Examples of Displays
Examples of Displays
Examples of Displays
Examples of Displays
Presenting your Project
  • Emphasize results and conclusions. Point to your
    exhibit to support your logic. This will help as
    you present your project logically and
  • Tell about applications or suggestions for
    further study or suggestions to improve your
  • Invite questions from the judges.

Additional Tips
  • Practice makes perfect!!!!!
  • Practice in front of friends, teachers, parents.
  • Do not antagonize the judges!
  • Do not chew gum, wear extravagant clothing, etc.
  • People are impressed with good manners!

Additional Tips
  • Do not stand between the exhibit and the judges,
    but on the side. Give them a copy of your
    abstract, peak their interest, and maintain
    interest by periodic eye contact.
  • Point to lab apparatus, charts, and photographs
    on display. This will allow you to describe your
    project in an appropriate sequence. Do not read
    directly from your project. You should know what
    you are talking about! This is your project!

Judging Criteria
  • Scientific Content and Application
  • Does the project have a clear
    hypothesis? Is the problem specific and well
    stated? Are all variables recognized and
    defined? If a control was necessary, was it
    included? Is the data sufficient and relevant?
  • How do you communicate scientific
    thought? Do you use scientific language, tables
    ,charts, and/or graphs? Is your analysis based
    upon mathematical relationships? How did you
    arrive at your conclusions?
  • Did it include ideas for further
    research? Does it contain a bibliography?

Judging Criteria
  • Creativity and Originality
  • Did you construct a piece of equipment?
  • How did you get the idea for your project?

Judging Criteria
  • Thoroughness
  • Are your conclusions based on a single
    experiment or do you have enough repetitions to
    obtain sufficient data?
  • Did you look at all possible approaches?