Science Project Strategies Gail Guzman Youth & Teen Librarian Kelli Staley Information Technology Specialist Lansing Public Library
Science Projects… • Teach you to manage time over a longer assignment. • Teach you research skills when finding your information. • Teach you to keep organized records of your experiment. • Teach you critical thinking skills.
Our Plan • Finding a topic • Researching your topic • Encyclopedias & Reference Books • Non-fiction books • Online Resources • Searching our catalog • Finding articles
A Galaxy of Ideas…Where Do You Start? • Books • Magazines • Websites
Books to Give You Ideas • Science Fair collection • Science Experiments binders
Magazines to give you ideas • Discover • Discovery Kids • Mother Earth News • Popular Science • Science • Science News
Can give you lots if ideas for your project. Can help you decide what interests you. Remember, a good idea may still be difficult to research, depending on equipment needed, or time required. Using Project Idea Websites
Ways to find a science fair project idea #1 Look at the different science categories and pick one you are interested in. Next, narrow it to a specific project. If you are interested in recycling, try a project about composting in backyard gardens!
Ways to find a science fair project idea #2 Use your experiences Remember a time you noticed something and thought "I wonder how that works?" or "I wonder what would happen if..." then turn that into a project.
Ways to find a science fair project idea #3 Think aboutcurrent events. Look at the newspaper. People are hungry in Africa because of droughts - a project on growing plants without much rain, which types grow ok with little water? Or the ozone hole over Antarctica - how can we reduce ozone? -a project on nonaerosol ways to spray things. Or oil spills. how can we clean them up? -a project on how to clean oil out of water.
Keep it specific! • Make sure your project is well defined. • Pick a project that is age appropriate. • Pick a project that you can accomplish. • Make sure you have enough time to complete your project!
Sample Topics • Idea: • What freezes faster, water or juice? • Better Idea: • What freezes faster, water or orange juice?
Sample Topics • Idea: • Do plants grow if you feed them? • Better Idea: • Do plants grow if you feed them sugar, or salt?
Sample Topics • Idea: • What makes mold grow? • Better Idea: • What makes mold grow on bread?
Sample Topics • Idea: • Solar panels • Better Idea: • Solar panels: are they efficient, and why?
Sample Topics • Idea: • Batteries • Better Idea: • Build a battery.
Sample Topics • Idea: • Transporting electrical currents. • Better Idea: • Transporting electrical currents through vegetables.
Scientific Method • Purpose: What am I trying to discover or prove? • Research. • Hypothesis: What do you think will happen? • Procedure: How will I do this? Your steps of an experiment. • Results: What your experiment showed. Organize your data into charts or graphs. • Conclusion: Evaluate results into a summary. It’s OK if your hypothesis was wrong if your results prove your experiment.
Research-Searching for Information on Your Topic • Sometimes, terms are obvious • For plants, you can look at how they grow • Often search terms require critical thinking • For solar panels, look up sunlight and energy as well.
How to get started…an example • Project topic:Why do nails rust in water?
Specify Your Topic • Define the topic: • Why does an iron nail rust in water? • Why does an iron nail rust in salt water? • Does an iron nail rust faster in a 25% salt water solution or a 50% salt water solution? • Does an iron nail rust faster in ice water, 60 degree water, 100 degree water, or boiling water?
Check the Dictionary! • Rust (noun) 1. Any of various reddish-brown oxides formed on iron and iron containing materials by low-temperature oxidation in the presence of water. 2. Any of various metallic coatings formed by corrosion.
Decide on Your Search Terms • Water • Iron • Chemical interaction • Corrosion • Oxidation • Rust
Background Reading • Explore the library resources to find information on the general concept that your science project investigates.
Dewey Decimal System:How the library is organized • Science materials have call numbers in the 500s-600s. • General Science 500 • Chemistry 540 • Botany (plants) 581 • Biology 574
Trusted Websites • Lansing Public Library • www.lansing.lib.il.us • Illinois Clicks! • www.illinoisclicks.org • Internet Public Library • www.ipl.org • Librarians’ Internet Index • www.lii.org