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The Science Fair Project: Start to Finish Adapted from Emily V á squez Why Science Fair? Science Fair is the real application of scientific principles and techniques, not just reading about what someone else did in a book. Why do a science fair project?

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The science fair project start to finish l.jpg

The Science Fair Project:Start to Finish

Adapted from Emily Vásquez


Why science fair l.jpg
Why Science Fair?

  • Science Fair is the real application of scientific principles and techniques, not just reading about what someone else did in a book.


Why do a science fair project l.jpg
Why do a science fair project?

  • Helps students compare and contrast, look for patterns, organization, gather, analyze and evaluate information, recognize cause and effect relationships, synthesize information and draw conclusions.

  • To compete in a science fair.

  • Because science is fun!

  • To learn more about a certain area in science.


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Making predictions

Designing an experiment to test those predictions

Making careful observations

Interpreting those observations

Science Project use the “scientific method”


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The Scientific Method has four steps:

  • Observing and describing events

  • Forming a hypothesis (guess) to explain the event.

  • Using a hypothesis to predict the results of new observations.

  • Testing the hypothesis by doing an experiment


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Scientific Skills and Methods:

  • ORGANIZING your experiment

  • Creating a research QUESTION or PROBLEM

  • Constructing a HYPOTHESIS

  • Evaluating RESULTS


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Keep the project simple and doable…


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December

November

October

Project Timeline

To do a good project, allow 2 to 3 months. Use a log book to document everything you do


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Get Organized…

  • 1st – 2nd week…Decide what area of science interests you the most

  • 3rd – 4th week…Write a question or problem you want to research. Make a guess on how your research question will turn out. This will be your HYPOTHESIS


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  • 5th – 7th week…

    • Write down your PROCEDURE – step by step

    • Complete needed forms and get them approved

    • CONDUCT the

      experiment

    • COLLECT the data

  • 8th Week…ORGANIZE and ANALYZE the data (making tables, charts and graphs).


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  • 9th week…Write your conculsions – keep it simple and to the point!

  • 10th week…Have fun putting together your display – Be creative!


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Creating your research question or problem

What are you interested in? Pick an area of science that is of interest and research that subject.


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Project Categories

  • Behavioral and Social Sciences

  • Biochemistry

  • Botany

  • Chemistry

  • Computer Science

  • Earth Science

  • Engineering

  • Environmental Science

  • Mathematics

  • Medicine and Health

  • Microbiology

  • Physics

  • Space Science

  • Zoology


Where to get project ideas l.jpg

Newspaper

Magazines

Books

TV commercials

Internet

Your backyard

Where to get project ideas?



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http://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/projectguide projects…/

http://www.scifair.org/

http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/

http://www.pwcleancouncil.org/scifarpj.htm

http://www.isd77.k12.mn.us/resources/cf/ideas.html

http://www.fl-ag.com/PlanetAg/ideas.htm

http://members.aol.com/ScienzFair/ideas.htm

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/4kids/sciencefair.html

http://www.sciencehunt.com/hunthow.nsf/8th_Under?openframeset– guide and ideas (excellent)


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http://www.infoplease.com/spot/sciproject2.html projects…–project ideas

http://www.epa.gov/airmarkets/acidrain/experiments/index.html– acid rain projects

http://www.sciencehunt.com/HuntHow.nsf/MainFrame?OpenFrameSet– check out both sites

http://www.brainpop.com/science/scientificinquiry/scientificmethod/index.weml?&tried_cookie=true– movie clip

http://www.twingroves.district96.k12.il.us/ScienceInternet/Experiment.html- complete science fair guide


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http://edweb.tusd.k12.az.us/jtindell/ projects…- project ideas and guide (very good)

http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/experi.html– projects involving the nervous system

http://www.stemnet.nf.ca/sciencefairs/- project ideas

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/kids/fair/story.htm– projects in agriculture

http://www.si.edu/resource/faq/nmnh/buginfo/scifair.htm – insects project ideas


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http://www.west.net/~vcsf/vcsfidea.htm projects…- ideashttp://k12pages.r8esc.k12.in.us/allen/swacs/sciencefair/ideas.html- ideas


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Coming up with a research projects…question or problem

Think of something that you are curious about in the area of science that you picked.

  • Is it something that puzzles or interests you?

  • Or someone told you a fact and you don’t think it is true.


Now you know your question or problem what do you do l.jpg
Now you know your question or problem…what do you do? projects…

When you decide what you want to investigate, ask yourself these questions…

  • Can it be done?

  • Is there enough information available?

  • How much will it cost?

  • How much help is needed?

  • Are the materials easy to get or build?


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  • Is there enough time? projects…

  • Do I have paperwork completed?

  • If I use animals or plants, do I know how to take care of them?


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READ about your question…use your library, school, the internet…

Remember…Use a log book to take notes and write down where you got them!


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All internet… projects require some paperwork (forms) to be completed

  • Make sure to get science fair project forms to fill out BEFORE you start your project

  • Everyone needs to fill out three forms:

    • Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1)

    • Research Plan (1A)

    • Research Plan Attachment

    • Approval Form (1B).


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Additional forms are internet…required for projects involving:

Human subjects, vertebrate animals, potentially hazardous biological agents, controlled substances, chemicals, equipment, firearms, radioactive substances, radiation.


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Go to the following web site to obtain the forms you need… internet…Florida Foundation for Future Scientists - www.fffs.ucf.eduInternational Science and Engineering Fair - www.sciserv.org


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  • Read the Rules for science fair projects in the following web site…

  • StateRules: http://www.fffs.ucf.edu/FFFS_05_WEBPAGE/New%20Site/Forms/SSEF%20Rules%20Supplement%2004.pdf

  • Rule Wizard: http://www.sciserv.org/isef/students/wizard/index.asp

  • Rule Book: http://www.sciserv.org/isef/document/Rule2006.pdf

  • Be sure and read and fill in all the forms (except 1C and 7) BEFORE being approved.

  • Experimentation prior to approval can result in disqualification of a project.


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Do not start an experiment until your web site…

project and forms have been approved

by the teacher!


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Constructing a Hypothesis web site…

  • What is a HYPOTHESIS?

    It’s an educated guess on how you think your experiment will turn out.

  • How to write a hypothesis…

    • Make sure the words “if” and “then” are included in your hypothesis

    • Needs two variables


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Example: web site…If tomato plants are grown with different amounts of fertilizer then the plants receiving the most fertilizer should grow more.


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The hypothesis should force you to think about what results you should look for in your experiment.


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Developing a Procedure you should look for in your experiment.

  • Write down what experiment you plan to do (present tense).

  • Write down what materials you will need…

    • Can I buy them ($)?

    • Can I borrow them (ask)?

    • Can I make them (time and $)?

  • Decide where (home, school or other) and when you will do your experiment.


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Fertilizer


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Plant height have included:

  • A dependent variable – something that changes in response to the independent variable and that you can measure.


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For example: have included:

  • A control group – a group to which the independent variable is not applied

  • Repetitions – more than one test subject for each variable and control


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Variable have included:

Test subject

2nd treatmentless than the amount of fertilizer that is recommended

3rd treatment

more than the amount of fertilizer that is recommended

Remember: same age, same kind!

Fertilizer will be the variable in this example and you will add different amounts to your plants.

1st treatmentamount of fertilizer that is recommended


Choosing your control l.jpg
Choosing your control have included:

Don’t forget to include a CONTROL group.

A control group is where you don’t use your independent variable

IMPORTANT!!!


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Variable have included:

1st treatment

1

2nd treatment

2

3rd treatment

3

No fertilizer

4

CONTROL


Choosing your repetitions l.jpg
Choosing your repetitions have included:

Finally, your results are more reliable if you use more than one test subject for each variable change. This is called REPETITIONS or “reps”.


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REP A have included:

REP B

REP C

REP D

REP E

Variable

1st trt

1

1

1

1

1

2nd trt

2

2

2

2

2

3rd trt

3

3

3

3

3

CONTROL

4

4

4

4

4


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Use at least 5 test subjects for each treatment and control…

You should try to do all your “reps” at the same time or under the same conditions (same time, place, temperature, etc.)


5 decide what kind of measurements you will use to measure the change your variable will cause l.jpg

Use metric measurements when you measure height, weight and size!

Don’t use just yourto measure your results! .

5.Decide what kind of measurements you will use to measure the change your variable will cause

….height

….weight

….size

…..how often

…..what time


6 plan how to record your measurements data and observation in the log book l.jpg
6. Plan how to record your measurements (DATA) and observation…In the log book!

Experimental data (results) sheet

Activity sheet (journal)


7 log the steps of your procedure l.jpg
7. Log the steps of your procedure observation…In the log book!

  • Have you written out your procedure (steps that you will follow) carefully? This plan should explain how you will do your experiment and what it will involve.

  • Each step should be numbered and describe only one action.

  • After you have your procedure written, show and discuss it with your adult sponsor or teacher for approval.


Example l.jpg
Example: observation…In the log book!

  • I will purchase 25 tomato plants (my test subjects) that are the same age and kind. There will be 5 plants for each treatment and control.

  • I will obtain one kind of fertilizer (my variable) and I find out how much is recommended.

  • I will place my plants in a good location outside.

  • I will measure the different amounts of fertilizer carefully.

  • I will add the amounts to my plants once a week.

  • I will measure the height (data) of my plants every two daysfor 3 weeks.


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You are now ready to conduct your experiment… observation…In the log book!

Remember…be careful and be safe!


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What should you do if your experiment doesn’t go how you planned or the data doesn’t agree with the hypothesis?

Don’t worry…

You could amend the procedure or hypothesis…talk it over with your teacher or advisor.

Do not use white out – line through date and initial new procedure on forms and in log book.



Evaluating your results l.jpg
Evaluating your results experiment?

Organize your data…take your raw data (your experimental data sheet), combine and group it according to time, date, etc.


Example look at the experimental data sheet slide l.jpg
Example (look at the experimental data sheet slide) experiment?

Add all the data from test subject #1 from A rep, B rep, C rep, D rep and E rep. This will be your total from the 1st treatment.

8+6+6.5+7+5.5=33 cm

Treatment 1 (5 plants) grew a total of 33 cm

Now calculate the average amount of growth for the 1st variable:

33 cm (total growth for 5 plants = 6.6 cm

5 (number of plants used)

The average growth for a plant in Treatment 1

was 6.6 cm


You have your totals and averages now show them off l.jpg
You have your totals and averages, now show them off! experiment?

Tables – This is a mathematical show of your data


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Line graph experiment?

Bar graph

These graphs show visual changes in plant height over time


Analyzing your data l.jpg
Analyzing your data experiment?

  • You can also analyze your data where you compare your variable data with the control data.

  • You can use “statistics” to scientifically support your results.

  • Ask your math teacher to help you select the correct formulas for your data.


Looking at your results l.jpg
Looking at your results experiment?

You have looked at your data, now take a moment and think about your results.

  • Write down these thoughts…

    • Did your experiment give you what you expected? Why or why not?

    • Did you follow the procedure correctly?

    • Did you make any mistakes in your observations?


Composing your conclusion l.jpg
Composing your conclusion experiment?

Since you have written about your results, how about writing a conclusion (what happened and what did you learn)…

  • Did your conclusion agree with your hypothesis?

  • Were your results consistent?

  • If your conclusion didn’t agree with your hypothesis, can you explain why it didn’t?

  • Did you collect enough data?


What did you learn from your experiment l.jpg
What did you learn from your experiment? experiment?

  • Do you know more about your area of interest now that your experiment is over?

  • If you were to continue your experiment for the next science fair, would you change the procedure or investigate further your results? Explain what you would do…


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  • ABSTRACT your results can apply to a “real life situation” (helping farmers grow better or less expensive tomato plants), this will definitely add strength to your project. – This is a brief (one paragraph, 200-250 words past tense) summary of your project. It should include:

    • Problem or question (what you wanted to investigate)

    • Hypothesis (your educated guess)

    • Why you chose to do this experiment?

    • Short description of your procedure (steps)

    • Briefly describe your results (measurements you took)

    • Conclusion (what you learned)


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The abstract is VERY IMPORTANT. Make sure it is easy to understand. Since the judges will have many projects to evaluate, they will depend heavilyon the abstract to explain your project. You can find the form for an abstract at:

http://www.sciserv.org/isef/document/Rule2006.pdf


Building your display l.jpg

Your display is an advertisement of your hard work! understand. Since the judges will have many projects to evaluate, they will depend heavily

Building your display

  • The final step…your display

  • The purpose of the display is to summarize your project.

  • Usually the display is a three sectioned, free standing back-board made out of foam board, cardboard, pegboard, corkboard or plywood.



The display must include l.jpg
The display must include… area

  • Title (make it an attention grabber!)

  • Problem or Question

  • Abstract

  • Hypothesis

  • Procedure

  • Results

  • Conclusions

You should also show your best photographs, drawings, charts and home-built equipment but be careful not to clutter up your display (all photographs must have a credit line).


Preparing for the science fair l.jpg

2nd area

1st

3rd

HM

Preparing for the Science Fair

  • Once you have your display and report finished, you should be ready for your school’s science fair.

  • What could you win at the fair?

  • Also, if selected, your project could go to the Regional Science and Engineering Fair!


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The day of the Regional Science and Engineering Fair… area

  • When you arrive at the science fair, go to the main desk to be checked for proper forms and size. They will give you a number and tell you where to take your project.

  • Middle and High School…you will have to present and explain your project to various judges.


On judging day you should l.jpg
On judging day, you should: area

  • Look organized and professional

  • SMILE!

  • Be ready to discuss your work

  • Make good eye contact with your judge

  • Get plenty of sleep the night before

  • Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know an answer

  • Show the judges your knowledge and enthusiasm for your project


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The judges may ask questions like: area

  • How did you come up with the idea for this project?

  • What did you learn from your research?

  • How did you build the apparatus?

  • How much time did it take to run the experiment(s)?

  • Did you take all data under the same conditions (time of day, temperature, light…)?

  • Do you think there is an application in industry for this knowledge (technique)?

  • What is the next experiment to do in continuing this study?


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Judges like to see the following: area

  • Genuine scientific breakthroughs

  • Discovering knowledge not readily available to a student

  • Correctly interpreting the data

  • A clever experimental apparatus

  • Repetitions to verify experimental results

  • Predicating and/or reducing experimental results with analytical techniques

  • In engineering categories, experiments applicable to the “real world”

  • Ability to clearly portray and explain the project and its results


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Judges score low on these: area

  • Ignoring readily available information (not doing basic library research)

  • An apparatus not useful for experimentation and data collection

  • Improperly using jargon, not understanding terminology, and/or not knowing how equipment or instrumentation works

  • Presenting results that were not derived from experimentation


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Besides 1 areast, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention, private companies, research institutions and the military give out their own awards and prizes.



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Middle and High School projects, if selected at the County Fair, can go on to compete at the State Science Fair…this happens at different cities in Florida each year. You will meet new people, see other projects and have a great time!



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Botany Manatee County Science Fair…

Andrew Wilcox

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

On to State Science Fair!


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Behavioral & Social Science Manatee County Science Fair…

Molly Tuckerman

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

American Psychological Association Award

On to State Science Fair!


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Biochemistry Manatee County Science Fair…

Alex Beach

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

On to State Science Fair!


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Physics Manatee County Science Fair…

Alexandra Stemm

King Middle School

U.S. Navy & Marine Corps Distinguished Achievement and

United States Air Force awards

On to State Science Fair!


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Behavioral & Social Science Manatee County Science Fair…

Anthony Kimes

Haile Middle School

National Society of Professional Engineers Award

On to State Science Fair!


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This project is eligible to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Best of Show 2004

Engineering

Tom hauser

Bradenton Academy

U.S. Army and Herbert Hoover presidential library association awards

On to State Science Fair!


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Mathematics Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Andrew Derry-Farrell

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

On to State Science Fair!


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Medicine & Health Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Jonathan hermans

Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School

On to State Science Fair!


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Microbiology Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Bradley Stemm

King Middle School

Florida Junior academy of Sciences award

On to State Science Fair!


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This project is eligible to attend the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Best of Show 2004

Microbiology

Kaitlyn Arnold

Palmetto high School

On to State Science Fair!


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Zoology Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Caitlin wildes

Manatee high School

Manatee Audubon society award

On to State Science Fair!


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chemistry Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Shannon bock

Manatee high school

On to State Science Fair!


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Environmental science Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Sara hillstrom

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

U.S. Metric Association award

On to State Science Fair!


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Computer science Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Kristen Troxler

King Middle School

On to State Science Fair!


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Team project – Junior Division Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Amber Wright & Amanda Rigney

King Middle School

On to State Science Fair!


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Team project – senior Division Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Alexa derespino & kimberly wolfe

Lakewood ranch high School

On to State Science Fair!


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Medicine & health Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Anthony gruppo, jr.

Bradenton academy

U.S. Metric Association and Florida junior academy of sciences awards

On to State Science Fair!


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zoology Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Jamie schindewolf.

Bradenton academy

Eastman Kodak company photographic award

On to State Science Fair!


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chemistry Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Patrick mingledorff.

St. Stephen's Episcopal school

Nace international and Florida junior academy of sciences awards

On to State Science Fair!


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Earth and space science Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Logan zoller.

St. Joseph catholic school

On to State Science Fair!


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Environmental science Science and Engineering Fair in Portland, Oregon, May 9-15, 2004.

Drew chesanek.

Bradenton academy

On to State Science Fair!



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Contact your teacher for specific school criteria! meeting… same format as yours!

Good luck!

Reach for the stars!


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