A science fair project is a student directed scientific study. The student has complete control over their project and complete control over the quality of their results. What is so intriguing about science fair projects is that they serve multiple functions. They inspire students to be innovative, they educate students about the scientific method and they excite students about science. So what exactly makes up a science fair project? The answer can be found in the following steps.
Find a Topic
The first thing that a science fair project is, is an exploration of a specific science topic. This topic can be related to anything that interests the student. Topics can be found by paging through textbooks and magazines, watching science news stories or by creating a list of things that you are interested in.
Develop a Hypothesis
After a topic has been selected the student needs to develop a hyptohesis. The hypothesis is a prediction that relates to the topic that was selected. It needs to focus on one independent variable and one dependent variable. If the topic is extremely complex then several hypotheses can be developed. Each hypothesis will focus on only onle set of variables. The hypothesis is the foundation of the science fair project.
Design an Experiment
An experiment is another fundamental part of a science fair project. The experiment has one role, to test the hypothesis. In order to test the hypothesis effectively it will need to isolate the variable being tested. It is important to include a control experiment in the design of your overall experiment setup. The control experiment will be used to establish a baseline of data for comparison.
Data collection is one of the more exciting parts of a science fair project. In order to collect data the student will need to run their experiments multiple times. The data that is collected needs to be complete and accurate. This means that students will need to use the proper measurement tools and techniques. To keep the data organized that is collected, students are encouraged to set up spreadsheets and tables.
The analysis of data is another part o f a science fair project. The analysis process will involve the use of basic statistics like averages, means, modes and medians. Standard deviations can also be used. When analyzing data it can be helpful to take advantage of data analysis tools offered by spreadsheet software programs.
After the analysis of data is completed conclusions needs to be drawn. The conclusions of a science fair project will usually start with the affirmation or the negation of the original hypothesis. The student can then go on to list the other relationships and information that were discovered.
One of the most time consuming elements of a science fair project is the written report. The report needs to summarize all of the work that the student has completed. The report will follow the steps in the scientific method and it will present the data that was collected in tables and graphs.
Dis play Board
The final component of a science fair project is the display board. The display board is what the judges will use to score the project. It needs to contain all of the information found in the written report in easy to digest visual panels. It is a good idea to include both graphic and text panels on a display board.
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