HOW TO BUILD A SCIENCE PROJECT
Science Projects for your local Science Fair
Whether you are starting a new idea, continuing a science project from last summer’s camp experience, or have been assigned to do so from your teacher here is some helpful advice listed below.
The first thing is to find some idea that interests you, the future scientist. Try to think of something original that both inspires and takes your knowledge to new and inventive levels. If you need help with ideas than search the internet or go to your local library.Also when brain storming look around your environment (around your house, nearby park, electronics, plants etc.) and try and pose questions. When you discover interesting topics than ask yourself some questions such as:
How do rain drops, clouds, and thunderstorms form? How is acid rain formed and what are its affects on our planet? How to test for heavy metals or contaminants in drinking water? What is the difference between table sugar and high fructose corn syrup and do they affect people differently? What is the best type of cooking oil to make fry-bread in and why (different oils have different cooking temps, taste, etc.)? Is wind energy more practical that using coal derived electrical energy? How to design your own water recycling system to reuse water for watering your garden, plants, lawn etc. (i.e. collecting rain water, dish water, and washer machine water etc.) What would be the ideal robot for exploring Wind Cave?
Be sure that your idea makes sense and that your objective is clear and achievable. Make sure you define such items as disproving or proving, or well defined goals. Just because you have great idea does not mean that the judge will know what your goals are unless you clearly define your project.
Here are some questions that judges might ask you:
What made you think of this project idea?
What kind of research did it take you to get here?
Where did your literature come from?
Has this kinds of research been done before? If so what makes your project
so different or unique?
How long did experiments take or did it take to make such?
Was this a semester, summer, or continuation project?
Can you show or explain to me how this works?
How many different variations did you analyze?
What did not work out so well?
Please explain to me how your project pertains to science/engineering?
Are there any future steps to this project or could it keep on going?
Can you please show me your science notebook or field book?
This is YOUR project!
When you present your science project at the science fair you will be the only one there talking to the judges, curious students, the general public, or even local scientists and engineers. That means that YOU must understand your projects terminologies, concepts, methodologies, and your scientific notes. Thus, make sure to keep your project at a level you are comfortable with.
Of course you may receive guidance and help from your parents, science teacher, or mentor-advisor but don’t forget that this is not their project, it’s your project. When seeking outside help be sure to document and state when and where your help came from. When you look at your final poster make sure you can go through it and describe each steps scientific principle and any theories how you got to that point. One thing to keep in mind is that if your project confuses you than it is sure to confuse the judges when you are trying to explain it to them.
Stick to your point!
If you are posing a question make sure your research pertains to that topic. This topic should be thorough and complete. Make sure who ever reads your poster understands what you are talking about. Also, have intelligent responses to related experimental processes. This means be ready to answer and talk about your data and results in multiple ways.
Your Effort and Enjoyment
Like I mentioned earlier, make sure you choose a topic that interests you. Doing this helps dramatically with your enjoyment and the amount of effort you will want to put into it. You will want to at least get quick start on your project right away. This can help give you an idea of what all needs to be done. You do not want to wait until the last minute because you may not finish on time and the judge will always know.
Not only will you conduct experiments or build something but you will also need time to research and read. Just because you have a successful experiment does not mean you stop there, you will need to read about why it work or didn’t, and where to go from there. Remember that everything that you do should be documented in a note book or field book. This notebook should be with you at all time from start to finish and have all your research days, field days, and experiment days noted in it with date, time, location, who you worked with, and if need be weather temperature, clouds, rain, wind, your environment etc. (even pictures or drawings). The quality of your note taking can reflect greatly with judges, plus you will have to have your notebook present with you at the science fair so the judges can see for themselves.
Your Science Project Presentation
There are two main matters when presenting your project. The first is the presentation of your work and how you display it on your poster. Make sure your poster shows your work in a concise and flowing matter. The second is the presentation you yourself give to the judges. So remember to keep this list below in mind while conducting, finishing up, and presenting your science project:
Find a unique topic to start with;
State a question topic and stick with it;
Interpret your data correctly;
Do your research;
Take good notes and don’t lose your notebook;
Be able to step the judges through your experiments;
Explain its real world application;
Be able to explain the basic scientific concepts;
Be able to explain your entire project.