Science fair time is here again! Here is a step by step guide to the process that we hope will help you have a higher quality project and be easier at the same time! Please remember to turn your entry form in on time so the Science Fair Committee can start contacting judges. There are 3 grade level divisions. K-2 is the primary division. 3-5 is the Intermediate division. 6-8 is the Junior Division. Below is a graph of what you need to complete for each division. Items Abstract Items on Table Log Book Display Board All Words Grades K-2 No Yes No Yes Handwritten or typed w/help Log Book Items Cover Abstract Table of Contents Charts and Graphs Purpose Research/background knowledge Hypothesis Glossary Procedure Observations/Results Materials Conclusion Acknowledgments References Grades 3-5 No Yes Yes Yes Typed w/help Grades 6-8 Yes No Yes Yes Typed by yourself Grades 3-5 Yes No No Yes Yes 25 or more words Grades 6-8 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes 1-2 pages Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Category Choices Animal Sciences – Study of animals and animal life, including their structure, function, life history, interactions, classification, and evolution, such as animal behavior, development, ecology, genetics, nutrition and growth, pathology, physiology, systematics and evolution, zoology Behavioral and Social Sciences -The science or study of the thought processes and behavior of humans and other animals in their interactions with the environment studied through observational and experimental methods, such as clinical and developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, physiological psychology, sociology Chemistry –The science of the composition, structure, properties, and reactions of matter, such as analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry, materials chemistry, organic chemistry, physical chemistry. It also includes Biochemisty –The study of chemical substances, interactions, and processes relevant to living organisms, such as analytical biochemistry, general biochemistry, medicinal biochemistry, structural biochemistry. Cellular and Molecular Biology is also a part of it – The study of the structure and formation of cells, such as cellular and molecular genetics, immunology, molecular biology Computer Science – the study of information processes, the structures and procedures that represent processes, and their implementation in information processing systems. It includes systems analysis and design, application and system software design, programming and datacenter operations. This also includes: Mathematical Sciences – the study of measurement, properties, and relationships of quantities and sets, using numbers and symbols. The deductive study of numbers, geometry, and various abstract constructs, or structures Physics and Astronomy and Magnetism – physics is the science of matter and energy and of interactions between the two. Astronomy is the study of anything in the universe beyond earth, such as magnetics, electromagnetics, electronics, mechanics, lasers, and optics. This also includes: Earth and Planetary Science – the study of sciences related to the planet Earth (geology, mineralogy, physiology, oceanography, meteorology, speleology, seismology, geography, atmospheric sciences Energy and Transportation and Engineering – the study of renewable resources, energy efficiency, clean transport, and alternative fuels. This also includes Engineering: Electrical and Mechanical – the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical structures, processes, and systems as well as robotics and thermodynamics. Engineering: Materials and Bioengineering are also included– the application of scientific and mathematical principles to practical ends such as the design, manufacture, and operation of efficient and economical machines and systems, such as industrial engineering and material science Ecology - Environmental Management – the application of engineering principals to solve practical problems of managing mans’ interaction with the environment with the goal to maintain and improve the state of an environmental resource affected by human activities, such as ecosystems management, recycling, waste management, and land management. This also includes: Environmental Sciences – the analysis of existing conditions of the environment, such as air pollution and quality, water pollution and quality. Physiology and Medicine and Health Sciences – the science of diagnosing, treating, or preventing disease and other damage to the body or mind, such as genetics, physiology, epidemiology, disease diagnosis and treatment. This also includes: Microbiology – the study of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, and pathogens, such as viruses, and antimicrobial agents. Botany – study of plant life, including their structure and function, life history, growth, interactions with other plants and animals, classification, and evolution, such as ecology, genetics, and breeding. The Process First of all we want to stress the importance of the scientific method which is: The Research question is the most important part of the Scientific Method. Every part of your project is done to answer this question. It was also called the purpose statement and referred to as the problem. Choosing a question is one of the hardest parts of creating a science fair project. Here are some guidelines: What topic interests you? What have you always wanted to know in that area? Choose a question that can be answered with a YES or NO. Narrow down your field of research. It is important to focus on one question. Rephrasing your question to expect a yes or no answer will help you see whether you have done this. Projects that should not be done: Can’t easily measure the results Doesn’t really involve science concepts Takes too long to complete Can’t be replicated at least 3 times without adding in variables Next is the background information/research. Rather than starting from scratch in putting together a plan to answer your question, you want to be a “savvy scientist and use the internet or library or ask someone knowledgeable about the topic”. You should research your topic before beginning the project. Then you need to construct a hypothesis. This is a statement that you think will be the answer to your research question. It is not something you already know or something already proven, but an educated guess based on acquired knowledge of your topic. You construct a hypothesis with: If ___________(I do this)______, then _____(this)______ will happen. Plan an experiment in which you test your hypothesis. It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one variable at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. You should repeat the experiment at least three times to make sure the results weren’t just an accident. It also gives you a chance to see if you need to make any changes to your procedure before doing the experiment again. Observations - At this point begin doing your experiments, keeping very accurate records of everything you do. Take lots of pictures. Record your failures as well as successes. Keep track of all steps you perform and all tests you make in your notebook. Where necessary use a control as well. The control is a particular sample that is treated the same as the rest of the samples except not exposed to manipulated variables. (If you are testing different soil types, keep the water the exact same and the amount of soil the same and change only the type of soil. ) As you observe your experiment, you will need to record the progress of your experiment. Data can be whatever you observe about your experiment. It can be recorded with numbers/charts/graphs/pictures. Examples of data are values in pH, temperature, a measurement of growth, color, distance, etc. Data should be recorded in Metric Values in your log book and on your presentation board or in a series of pictures and charts that show what occured. The results are usually in the form of a statement that explains or interprets the data. You simply state in words what your data shows. Example: “Test plant # 3 showed little difference as compared to the Control Plant. There should be an explanation with every chart/graph you make. Analyze your results and draw a conclusion. The conclusion is the answer to your question. Even if you prove that your hypothesis was true you may want to test it again in a new way or control other variables. The conclusion is a summary of the research and the results of the experiment. This is where you answer your hypothesis. You make a statement of whether your data supported your hypothesis or not. You may have data that did not support your hypothesis at all. In this case, you may explain why the results were different. How to put this in a log book: The log book pages should be in a binder. Cover Abstract (page 2) (remember not to use “I” in an abstract and 250 words or less) Title (all in caps) Name School Date 1st paragraph - background research and purpose statement 2nd paragraph - summary of procedure 3rd paragraph – things that happened and variables that may have caused it to have different outcomes. What you would do different next time. 4th paragraph – observations 5th paragraph – conclusion Title page (Page 3) Name School Date Table of contents Tables and graphs (remember titles on vertical and horizontal axis lines) Purpose statement/research question (should be stated in form of a question) Background research (remember to include a glossary of key terms) State your hypothesis List of your materials Procedure Details of how you went about your experiment – include all of the times you tried – even your failed experiments Observations: Details about what took place in your experiment. Your log book is the place to put all your details. Put it in an easy to read form on your backboard. Remember (especially for older grades) that you need to use the metric system and not standard units. Record all failures as well as successes and the progress of your experiment. Tables and graphs are often a good way to show the information. Results This is where you describe your tables, charts, graphs, pictures, etc. I know it sounds like you are repeating yourself, but this is where you analyze what you observed. You may want to tell how something either did or did not affect something else. Conclusion In this section you answer your research question. You make a statement of whether your data supported your hypothesis or not. You may also explain why the results were different than the hypothesis. You may also explain how different variables affected your project. Be sure to explain why others would be interested in knowing the results. Acknowledgements – credit people, businesses for financial support and donated materials or information that helped with your experiment. References or bibliography Consent forms (these are needed if you are working with people or animals) See your teacher for more details. Tips and Tricks All numbers must be in metric. Do not use the word “I” or any contractions. Put headings on each page of your log book and on the backboard. All writing should be double spaced in the log book except for the abstract. All writing should be the same type/font size (12 is recommended) in the log book except the headings which should be the same larger font size. All writing should be the same type/font size on the back board except the headings which should be the same larger font size. The words should be easy to see from a few feet away. Please dress to impress on judging day. Spelling and Grammar are important so peer editing is important. The students need to do the work. Judges will deduct points when the students can’t show extensive knowledge of the project. The backboard does not need excessive decorating. Clean lines and simplicity with a splash of color is best. Helpful Websites: Science http://www.sciencebuddies.org/mentoring/project_ide as.shtml Buddies All Science http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/ Fair Projects Science http://www.sciencebob.com/sciencefair/ideas.php Bob Science Fair Idea http://scienceclub.org/scifair.html Exchange Science http://www.science-ideas.com/ Ideas Science http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircen Fair tral/Getting-Started.html Central Science http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/pages/sciencefair News for zone/topics.asp Kids Science http://www.terimore.com/ Fair Projects PBS/Dragon http://pbskids.org/dragonflytv/scifair/index.html fly TV ISEF https://student.societyforscience.org/resources-2 Log book Your log book See instructions and cover should follow this basic Title page Abstract Name an example on the next page. Remember not to School use “I” in your format. abstract. Page 4 Table of Tables and contents graphs Date Purpose: Page 5 Background research Purpose statement or research question (remember State what you knew, and titles on vertical and Page 2 Abstract page 3 what you discovered while horizontal axis lines) researching your subject. Include a glossary of Page 3 Title page terms that relate to your Page 4 Table of topic. Materials Hypothesis Procedure You may construct a Make a list of all hypothesis with: materials used in your went about your experiment – If___________(I do this) project. include all of the times you Details of how you ___________, then tried – even your failed ___________ experiments. Make sure you (this)________ will happen. include how you controlled Explain why you think you will get these results.) Observations/results your variables and what happened each time you tried your experiment. Conclusion: Details about what took place in This is the answer to your your experiment. Especially for research question. This should higher grades the metric system include any variables that made should be used (not standard your experiment turn out in a units) Record all failures as well particular way. You may explain as successes and the progress of why your hypothesis was not your experiment. Some of this correct (if it wasn’t) may be recorded using graphs or tables or charts.