Come see the exhibits at Science Fair 2008. All projects are open to the public on Thursday, January 31, 2008, from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.! See you there!
|A science fair project can be one of the most exciting projects you will ever do in school. However, it does take time, planning, research, preparation, and lots of hard work. You will learn a great deal about your topic as well as yourself when completing this project. You will examine, probe, and experiement with many ideas, techniques, and scientific principles, learning more about he world in which we live and more about the important work scientists do to help us understand our world. You are about to begin an exciting journey as you make new discoveries in science!||
What Is a Science Fair Project?
A science fair project is a presentation of an experiment or demonstration. It represents the efforts of your investigation into some area of interest and provides a way for you to demonstrate the results of that investigation. A science fair project is a unique way for you to satisfy your own curiosity about the world around you. It is a venture (and an adventure) into the world of scientific research that goes beyond lessons in the classroom or chapters in a book. Through the development of a science fair project, you can gain a first-hand appreciation of the work of scientists and the value of their discoveries. A project allows you to experiment, make decisions, form and re-form hypotheses, test and examine ideas, seek solutions, and most important, learn more about yourself and your world.
Science fair projects consist of three essential components. Each will be discussed in more detail by your science teacher.
The display unit forms the background for the project. It should be built of sturdy materials to provide a structure for a vertical display of graphs, charts, photographs, and other printed information. Usually three-sided, it includes the name of the project as well as other information that is important to observers.
The exhibit materials consist of items demonstrated by you or the experiment that you carried out during your investigation. Display materials give the science project a three-dimensional look and allow others to observe the actual materials involved in your investigation.
It is important for you to keep a written record of your investigation. This record outlines the original problem you chose and the means and methods used to investigate it. The written report should be accurate and easy to read, and it should give a clear summary of the entire project.
The final project you set up for a science fair is limited only by your imagination and curiosity. Projects have taken many forms and designs over the years. Most importantly, a project will help you develop and expand a deeper appreciation for scientific.
Keys to a Successful Project
Success in a science fair can be judged in a number of ways, but it should not be measured by ribbons, trophies, or other awards. If you, the student, have selected a topic, investigated it according to your own design, and reported the results of that investigation in the form of a display and a written report, you have succeeded. Winning "first place" or being "overall champion" is certainly praiseworthy, but your goal in taking part in the fair should be to investigate an area of interest and to discover new things about the area you choose. The satisfaction of making these discoveries will last far longer than blue ribbons or gold medals.
Here is a list of factors that you can use to evaluate your project and that your parents and teachers can use in judging it. Use the list throughout your investigation and also upon completion of the project to gauge the appropriateness of project features. Put a checkmark beside each question as assess the completed project.
Does the project represent your own work? Although you may receive help in investigating your topic and designing your project, the final effort must be yours-not that of a scientist, teacher, parent, or other adult.
Is the project the result of careful planning? Successful projects cannot be accomplished overnight. They are the outcome of a systematic plan of action carried out over a period of time. A hastily constructed project undermines the value of the science fair.
Does the project demonstrate your creativity and resourcefulness? You are permitted and encouraged to contribute you own ideas and ingenuity to the design and development of a particular project.
Does the project indicate a thorough understanding of the chosen topic? You need to investigate your chosen area as completely as possible. Doing so will take time. The project must reflect the results of those investigations done over an extending period.
Does the project include a notebook, written record, or final report? The display should include a written summary of the investigation. Such a record provides observers with additional information on the subject and documents your work.
Does the project include a number of visual aids? Photographs, charts, diagrams, graphs, tables, drawings, or even paintings liven up any display and make it more interesting.
Is the project sturdy and well constructed? Using the proper materials and being careful in assembling a project are important, particularly if the display will be standing for several days. It must be within the required size limitations and should reflect a degree of permanence.
Are all signs and lettering neat and accurate? The quality of a display is often judged by the attractiveness of signs, titles, and written descriptions.
Does the project meet all safety requirements? When electrical items, specimens, or chemicals are used in a display, care must be taken to ensure the safety of any observers. Do not bring live organisms to the fair, if possible.
Is the display three-dimensional? In addition to the background and accompanying written report, the inclusion of samples, collections, or other items is vital to the project. These should be attractively arranged in front of the background display; however, they should not be overdone.
Is all information accurate? Any data gathered from outside resources, such as printed materials, nonprint materials, interviews with experts, and data obtained from experiments must be presented accurately. All questions about data must be resolved before including them in a report or on a display.
Does the display present a complete story? You should illustrate the topic chosen for investigation, what was done during the investigation, the results, and a conclusion. In other words, the project should have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
Select a Topic
Choosing an appropriate topic for a science fair project is often the most difficult part of the entire process. There are so many topics to choose among and a wealth of available information. No wonder you are bewildered! Teachers and parents can help you narrow down choices, but the final choice of topic should be yours. You must be motivated to complete the project on your own. Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you choose your topic:
What kinds of things do you enjoy doing?
What area of science interests you the most?
If you could be a scientist, what would you like to do?
What are your hobbies or free time activities?
What do you like to do on rainy days?
What kinds of books do you like to read?
Which movies or TV shows might give you ideas of information?
What are your special skills or talents?
How hard will this topic be for you to understand?
What problems have you had with this subject before?
Are you familiar with this topic or is it brand new?
Do you think you will need to gather a lot of outside information?
Will you be able to work in this area for 12 weeks and still be interested?
What special tools or apparatus do you think you'll need?
Will you be able to spend some time on this project every week for 12 weeks?
How long do you think you will need to gather information about this topic?
Are you interested enough in this subject to spend a great deal of time on it?
Will you need to set up a special schedule to complete all the things you need to do?
Do you have enough free time at home to work on the project?
What special materials do you think you'll need for this project?
Do you have those materials at home or will you need to buy them?
Will you need to construct anything complicated?
Will you need help in putting the display together?
Will you need to order any materials through the mail?
Will you be able to buy materials in local stores?
Will your materials be inexpensive or costly?
How much help will you need with your project?
Will you be able to do most or all of the work yourself?
Will you need to consult any experts in your chosen field?
How much involvement will your parents have?
Will you be able to build the display unit on your own?
Will you be able to follow all safety rules in putting your project together?
Are there any dangers from equipment or materials associated with your project?
Will there be any dangers to observers of your project?
Will there be any danger to you at any time during the investigation of this project?
Oftentimes students select a topic simply because everyone else has selected it (that's why there are so many volcanoes and solar system displays at most science fairs). You need to understand that the choice of an appropriate topic depends on several factors that must be discussed and agreed on before the project is begun. Check with you science teacher for any requirements or rules he/she may have. You will need your science teacher's permission to use your topic. Of course, the primary criterion will be: Is it something that you are truly interested in doing?