Tips for your Science Fair Project Your Science Fair Project should follow this outline based on the scientific method. 1. State the question. 2. Research the topic. 3. State your hypothesis. 4. Experiment (test the hypothesis.) 5. Analyze results. 6. Draw conclusions. 7. Report conclusions Choosing a Topic One of the most important considerations in picking a topic for your science fair project is to find a subject that you consider interesting. You'll be spending a lot of time on your project, so you don't want it to be about something that is boring. Go to http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_topic.shtml to find a fun survey to help you identify a science fair topic that’s perfect for you! The Question Remember, a science fair project is all about finding an answer to a question, so make sure you select a topic that is narrow enough for you to answer with a simple experiment. Background Research When you are driving a car there are two ways to find your destination: drive around randomly until you finally stumble upon what you're looking for OR look at a map before you start. (Which way do your parents drive?) Finding information for your background research is very similar. But, since libraries and the Internet both contain millions of pages of information and facts, you might never find what you're looking for unless you start with a map! To avoid getting lost, you need a plan. Steps in Effective Research Identify good Keywords. Ask a good question. Choose the best source. Planning Your Experiment What type of equipment will you need to complete your experiment? Make a materials list being as specific as possible, and be sure you can get everything you need before you start. Scientists run experiments more than once to verify that results are consistent. Where will you conduct your experiment? Will you need help or adult supervision? Anticipate problems and solve them ahead of time. Example: Fire extinguisher, first aid kit. Conclusions Your conclusions summarize how your results support or contradict your original hypothesis: •Summarize your results in a few sentences and use this summary to support your conclusion. • State whether you proved or disproved your hypothesis. •Summarize and evaluate your experimental procedure, making comments about its success and effectiveness. •Suggest changes in the procedure (or design) and/or possibilities for further study. Display Board Design Tips Emphasize your most important points. Explain complicated ideas so that anyone can understand them. Make it look professional. Don’t make your display too tall, too deep or too low. Too much information is just as bad as not enough! Display Part II: Fonts •Use a font size of at least 16 points for your main body text. Anything smaller is too hard to read. •Stick with traditional fonts like Arial, Times New Roman, or similar typefaces. •Use italics or bold for emphasis, not for all your text. •Don’t place text on top of a picture; that makes it difficult to read. •Don't use ALL CAPS; THEY ARE MUCH HARDER TO READ. ext • Don’t on use artistic fonts. They are much harder to read. •Don't use more than two or three different fonts on your board. Times New Roman for body copy and Arial for headings makes for a nice combination. Preparing for Judging Practice Makes Perfect •If you can communicate your project well, you maximize your chances of winning. •Write up a short "speech" (about 2–5 minutes long) summarizing your project. You will give this speech when you first meet the judges. (Remember to talk about the theory behind your project— why your project turns out the way it does.) •Organize a list of questions you think the judges will ask you and prepare/practice answers for them. Practice explaining your project to others and pretend they are judges. •Practice explaining your project in simple terms so anyone can understand it. Preparing for Judging Presenting Yourself During the Judging Period—Be Professional! •Always dress nicely for the judging period—NO JEANS! •Make good use of your board. Point to diagrams and graphs when you are discussing them. •Always be positive and enthusiastic! •Be confident with your answers; do not mumble. •If you have no idea what the judge is asking, or do not know the answer to their question, it is okay to say "I do not know." •Treat each person who visits you like a judge, even nonscientists. •After the fair, always ask for feedback from the judges to improve your project. You can find these tips and more at: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/ Or Ask Mrs. Beck or Mrs. Conner for a copy of this presentation.