Have you ever wondered how the experiments for electricity were done? Or why someone wanted to do them in the first place.
WHAT IS A GOOD SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT? You will learn: • how to make a science fair notebook • how to make a display board for your project • how to critically examine (4 C’s) your project the way science fair judges examine projects.
SCIENCE FAIR UNIT In this unit you will not simply read about science. You will become actively involved in science fair projects. You will conduct experiments, observe demonstrations, and judge other student’s science fair projects. You will also learn to create a satisfactory project of your own.
Scientists ask . . . WHY? Anyone can ask why, but it takes a true scientist to answer WHY!
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD The scientific method is a special way to look at and SOLVE PROBLEMS. There are at least 4 main parts to solving the problem. • QUESTION: stating the problem • HYPOTHESIS: deciding on an answer to your problem • PROCEDURE: establishing a method of investigation or experiment • RESULTS: collecting and analyzing data • CONCLUSION: decide on the outcome by drawing conclusion from the RESULTSof your investigation or experiment.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD Let’s look at a simple example of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD using: QUESTION, HYPOTHESIS, PROCEDURE, RESULTS and CONCLUSION Step #1: QUESTION & HYPOTHESIS: Crissy wanted to find out . . . Which brand of bubblegum would make the biggest bubbles? Step #2: PROCEDURE: She bought samples of every brand of gum she could find and divided them into equal sizes, according to weight. She then chewed each piece of gum exactly 150 times and blew bubbles. She repeated this procedure many times. Step #3: RESULTS: Crissy had a friend measure the size of each bubble she blew. These measurements were written down in a notebook. Step #4: DRAWING CONCLUSIONS: After a careful study of the data, Crissy found out which gum was best for blowing bubbles.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD HYPOTHESIS Let’s look a little closer at the 1st step of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Stating the PROBLEM and forming aHYPOTHESIS: A problem arises when you see something happen and wonder about it. You might wonder why leaves change color, or how strong ants are or why moss grows only on one side of a rock. AHYPOTHESISis your explanation or solution to a problem. It does not have to be right, but it should be a good guess based on what you observe. It should not be a WILD guess. Later on you will test yourHYPOTHESISwith MORE THAN ONE experiment. Please complete INVESTIGATION 1with your group.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD HYPOTHESIS DIRECTIONS: You are to write as many science fair problems as possible in the next 15 minutes. You will receive one point for every 3 problems that require experimentation and that boys and girls your age can do with the available materials. Use your Clue Card Activity 1to follow the sample models: MODEL #1 How does _____________ affect ______________? MODEL #2 What is the effect of ___________ on __________? MODEL #3 Which ________________ is _________________? consumer product strongest…lasts longest…is best, etc.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD PROCEDURE Now let’s look at the 2nd step of the SCIENTIFIC METHOD. Now that you have learned how to state a PROBLEM and form aHYPOTHESISfor a science fair project you are ready for the 2nd step . . . the PROCEDURE. After a HYPOTHESIShas been formed or a PROBLEMstated, an experiment needs to be designed to test the HYPOTHESISor solve the PROBLEM. In a science fair project this is called the PROCEDURE. Certain rules MUST be followed: 1ST - Keep careful records of everything you do. You must keep these records so carefully that another person could read your notes and do your experiment without any trouble. 2ND - You need to consider all of the things that can affect an experiment’s outcome. These things are called VARIABLES.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD VARIABLES Whenever you do an experiment, you must control the VARIABLES! Remember, the variables are the things that can affect the outcome of an experiment.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD VARIABLES Let’s say you wanted to find which brand of plastic cement is the strongest. You first buy two of the most popular brands - Super Stick and Mighty Stick. Next you get four pieces of plastic. You take two of the pieces and put a lot of Super Stick on them and squeeze them together for 5 minutes. Then you take the other two pieces of plastic and put a small dab of Might Stick on both pieces and squeeze them together for 3 minutes. In the morning you try to pull the pieces of plastic apart. First you pull on the pieces that were joined together by Super Stick. You cannot pull them apart. Then you pull on the pieces held together by Might Stick and the two pieces easily come apart. Super Stick held the plastic together, but you do not know if it held longer because the glue was better or because you used more glue than the other brand. Maybe Might stick would have held just as well if you used the same amount of glue as you did with Super Stick. You also held the pieces of plastic glued with Super Stick together longer than you did the pieces held together with Mighty Stick. Perhaps this is why Super Stick held better. AND HERE’S THE POINT . . .
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD VARIABLES You can’t be sure which brand of glue is better unless you have controlled all of the VARIABLES.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD VARIABLES Remember, the VARIABLES are the things that can affect the outcome of an experiment. In order to control the VARIABLES you must use the same amount of glue as well as the same size and shape of plastic; you must hold the pieces together for the same amount of time; and you must pull with equal force when you try to separate the pieces. All of these things that you try to keep the same are called VARIABLES. The only variable that is not the same is the brand of plastic cement you are testing. If one holds better than another, you can say it is a stronger brand of plastic cement . . . because you CONTROLLED all the VARIABLES.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD VARIABLES Remember, the VARIABLES are the things that can affect the outcome of an experiment. In order to control the VARIABLES you must use the same amount of glue as well as the same size and shape of plastic; you must hold the pieces together for the same amount of time; and you must pull with equal force when you try to separate the pieces. All of these things that you try to keep the same are called VARIABLES. The only variable that is not the same is the brand of plastic cement you are testing. If one holds better than another, you can say it is a stronger brand of plastic cement . . . because you CONTROLLED all the VARIABLES. Whenever you conduct an experiment, you must control as many of the VARIABLES as you can. If you are aware of VARIABLES that cannot be controlled, then you must put this fact in your notes.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD VARIABLES Now you are going to look at some projects from the Brightsville School Science Fair. Your team can collect 1 point by following the directions and completing theSCIENCE FAIR PROJECTSworksheet.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD RESULTS = COLLECTING DATA Throughout your experiments you will have many observations to make. These observations usually fall into 3 categories. MEASUREMENT: Here you would measure things like temperature, height, weight, distance, speed, and time. COUNTING: You might count the number of worms found in certain kinds of soil, or the number of animals living in a small pond. OBSERVATION is one where you use your senses. You would record things you SEE, HEAR, FEEL, SMELL, and, TASTE as they relate to your experiment. Brenda wrote in her notebook that the beans growing in the sand were a pale green and yellow. While Crissy was experimenting with gum, she observed a change in color and taste. She also noticed the gum became stickier the more she chewed it. During an experiment you may use all three kinds of observations or only one.While making your observations, you need to keep careful records in some kind of notebook. If you look at DATA SHEET - page 1 you will notice how carefully recorded the results of Jared’s experiment were.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD RESULTS COLLECTING DATA Another way to record information is with a data sheet. There are many ways to make a data sheet. One example is Tim’s data sheet on DATA SHEET - page 2. Notice how he carefully recorded the results of his experiment. Here is the important thing to remember: KEEP ACCURATE RECORDS AND NOTE THE OBSERVATIONS YOU MAKE DURING THE EXPERIMENT.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD RESULTS COLLECTING DATA In order to practice collecting data lets come up with a problem. Let’s go COLLECTING DATA. Be sure to look for ways to: MEASURE COUNT and OBSERVE Using CLUE CARD ACTIVITY 3fill in the Counting Data Sheet.
THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD RESULTS COLLECTING DATA The date from our next problem involves measurement. We will be measuring time, so a regular data sheet will be used to record time. What are your RESULTS?