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SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS Tips for a Successful Project.

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1 SCIENCE FAIR PROJECTS Tips for a Successful Project

2 Selecting a Topic Web pages 1. Use a search engine (Yahoo, etc.) 2. Use Science Corner on the Vermilion Parish web site ( School library Public library University Library Write to science services

3 How to Identify a Good Topic Topic has to be narrow, specific. Topic must be realistic, practical (do you have access to the equipment, etc.). Topic must survive constraints from rules and regulations. Topic must match your interests!

4 Types of Projects Models Most have limited creativity! An example of a creative model would be a design for a more efficient airplane that would include experiments supporting the theory behind the model design.

5 Types of Projects Surveys Be aware of rules! Before drawing conclusions use math (statistics) to analyze your results. Use data tables and/or graphs over a period of time in order to use extrapolation.

6 Type of Projects A repeat from the past An example would be an illustration of a scientific law. This type of project might lack creativity! Look for an original application rather than a repeat. View things from a different angle! For example: write a computer program to simulate Mendels genetics.

7 Types of Projects Original Investigation This is the most difficult to plan or conduct! It requires more library research, more critical thinking and lab work, but is also the closest to a scientific approach.

8 Planning For Your Project Narrow your topic For example: instead of studying the effects of acid rain on a pond, investigate the effect of an acidic environment on a specific plant in a lab situation.

9 Planning For Your Project Document what you read Use index cards in a library search! For Books: Record authors name, title, publisher, date of publication For Magazines: Record authors name, title, journal name, publisher, volume number, and page number(s). For an Internet Source: Record author and URL.

10 Example of a Scientific Bibliography Magazines Young, M., Pinhole Optics, Applied Optics,10, 2763 (1971). Fitch, J. M., The control of Luminous environment Scientific American, 219, 190 (Sep.1968). Prigo, Robert, Bachman, C.H., some observations on the process of walking, Physics teacher (1976).

11 Example of a Scientific Bibliography Books Goldstein, Herbert, Classical Mechanics, Addisson-Wesley, Reading, MA (1950), p.308. Uvarov, Boris, Grasshoppers and locusts: a handbook of general acridology, Cambridge University Press, London vol.1 (1977) p.479.

12 Plan Your Equipment Be realistic! Cut down on expenses. If you are an exceptionally talented high school student, you might be invited upon recommendation of your teacher to be mentored by a university professor. Therefore, you will have access to a university lab under your mentors supervision.

13 Plan Your Equipment If you can construct some of your own equipment to gather data, this is a plus because you demonstrate creativity. You may make the measurements at school by making arrangements with a teacher.

14 Plan for Safety Avoid disease causing organisms, explosive gases, and/or dangerous chemicals! If your project presents any safety concerns, make certain to work under the supervision of a qualified scientist. Always share your project with your science sponsor at school! He or she will inform you about safety or refer you to someone who can advise you.

15 Plan Your Time Keep a book where you will record your data and an agenda, list of supplies, bibliography, etc. Plan your time for each part of your project. Set a realistic timeline, as well as a deadline. This will train you in learning responsibility and organization.

16 Realistic Planning: Timeline DurationWhatDate due Selecting topic Refining topic Preparing plans Conducting experiments Evaluating results Preparing reports Prepare the display Board Presenting the project

17 Scientific Method Hypothesis (Your Purpose) Should be one, clear and brief sentence based on the information gathered during research. The hypothesis is followed by a brief statement explaining or justifying this purpose. Do not consider your experiment or project a failure if your investigation does not confirm your hypothesis. Just say that your hypothesis is not verified in your conclusion. The important point is to arrive at the truth. You may suggest further research or include a second phase in your project if the time permits.

18 Your Experiment Outline steps: keep design as simple as possible (the more complicated, the greater the chance of error). Types 1) qualitative: careful observations without getting involved in measurement or statistical analysis. 2) quantitative: measurements and collection of numerical data (use the metric system); best type of data because it permits you to use mathematics to establish relations; not based on opinions, but facts.

19 Doing Your Experiment Include a control: vary the experimental conditions; if the outcome is caused by another factor, this will allow you to single out the results. Keep accurate and regular records. Objectivity: Do not discard a result that is not in agreement with the rest of the study. Lone results may be due to faulty or contaminated samples, math errors, or give a clue to some interesting discovery.

20 Results Keep a notebook for recording any information, observations and data (in tables, graphs, etc.). Do not use scrap paper - use photographs, drawings, diagrams, etc. You must never commit results to memory.

21 Your Conclusion Must come directly and solely from the data in your notebook. If you cannot arrive at any conclusion from your data, find a different approach to your experiment. Must be clear and concise. Do not hesitate to present all the conclusions your data can support (especially if your project has several phases). Do not reach a conclusion that is not supported by your data! The conclusion should suggest a direction for further study.

22 What To Include In Your Report A Title Do not be vague. Include both the dependent and independent variables in your title. In an engineering project, the title might be the name of your design or your design versus its performance in a given environment.

23 The Body Look at the format used in Scientific American. Your whole report might be handwritten or typed. If you have access to a computer, it is best to type (your note book can be handwritten). If you type, use double space, 1 margin on an eleven by eight and half inch sheet of paper.

24 The Abstract The abstract is the summary of your scientific report. Make certain that you write the abstract only after you write the report so you may stick to the essentials.

25 State Your Purpose Be brief! You want to familiarize the reader with the problem you are intending to solve. Explain what impact your investigation may have on scientific or technical knowledge.

26 Explain Your Methods This is your procedure. The materials you use. This is the step-by-step investigation.

27 Follow-Up With Results These are your observations. Your observations will be recorded in sentences and paragraphs. Be clear concise simple and accurate. You may use photos or schematic illustrations. Record in tables and/or graphs. Graphs take a primordial place in the way the scientific community communicates information. They are almost always included in any scientific report.

28 Organization of Data in a Table The independent variable is written in the first column. For example: when you walk, the distance you walk is changing as a function of time (D = f (t). Time is the independent variable and distance is the dependent variable. The time data will be in the first column and the distance data in the second column. Note: As shown in the next slide, if an SI unit is named after a person, it has to be capitalized. The unit of current is named after the scientist Ampere and the unit of potential is named after the scientist Volta. The equation is V = R (I). The amount of volts depend on the amount of current.

29 Example of a Data Table Note: the independent variable is placed in the first column. Current (Amperes)Potential (Volts)

30 Example of a Graph


32 Analyze Your Results Establish relationships or proportionality factors. Determine how data are mathematically related. The variables are directly proportional (straight line: y = mx +b). The variable are inversely proportional (hyperbola: y = k/x). The variables vary as a square function (parabola: y = ax 2 + bx+ c).

33 Conclude Your Report Use your analysis to establish conclusive statements. The conclusion should always include suggestions for further research to solve the problem or look at it from a different angle. (What new problems or questions were uncovered by the project?)

34 Include Your References This is your bibliography. (See examples on Slide # 10 and Slide #11.)

35 Your Board Display The Exhibit Size is Limited! 76 cm (30 inches) deep, front to back. 122cm (48 inches) wide, side to side. 274 cm (108 inches) high, floor to top. Projects exceeding these dimensions are automatically disqualified!

36 Presenting Your Project Introduce yourself. Do not mention your school. Give the title of your project. Explain your purpose. Summarize any background information. Discuss briefly how you developed an interest in the topic. Explain how you proceeded. Use your display to support your explanations.

37 Examples of Displays




41 Presenting your Project Emphasize results and conclusions. Point to your exhibit to support your logic. T his will help as you present your project logically and sequentially. Tell about applications or suggestions for further study or suggestions to improve your project. Invite questions from the judges.

42 Additional Tips Practice makes perfect!!!!! Practice in front of friends, teachers, parents. Do not antagonize the judges! Do not chew gum, wear extravagant clothing, etc. People are impressed with good manners!

43 Additional Tips Do not stand between the exhibit and the judges, but on the side. Give them a copy of your abstract, peak their interest, and maintain interest by periodic eye contact. Point to lab apparatus, charts, and photographs on display. This will allow you to describe your project in an appropriate sequence. Do not read directly from your project. You should know what you are talking about! This is your project!

44 Judging Criteria Scientific Content and Application Does the project have a clear hypothesis? Is the problem specific and well stated? Are all variables recognized and defined? If a control was necessary, was it included? Is the data sufficient and relevant? How do you communicate scientific thought? Do you use scientific language, tables,charts, and/or graphs? Is your analysis based upon mathematical relationships? How did you arrive at your conclusions? Did it include ideas for further research? Does it contain a bibliography?

45 Judging Criteria Creativity and Originality Did you construct a piece of equipment? How did you get the idea for your project?

46 Judging Criteria Thoroughness Are your conclusions based on a single experiment or do you have enough repetitions to obtain sufficient data? Did you look at all possible approaches?

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