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Science Fair Research Process. Goals. What are the characteristics of your program?. Goals. What are the characteristics of your program? Help students to become enthusiastic scientists Challenge students to learn the scientific method and scientific principles through experience

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What are the characteristics of your program?


What are the characteristics of your program?

  • Help students to become enthusiastic scientists
  • Challenge students to learn the scientific method and scientific principles through experience
  • Give students the opportunity to communicate what they have learned to others.
  • Other………………………………..

Who will Participate?

Will you allow Team Projects?

ask a question
Ask a Question

Finding a Topic Idea

Imagine if someone offered you the answer to any question that’s ever perplexed you, however big or small. That’s exactly the opportunity science fairs give you – the freedom and power to explore almost any curiosity you’ve ever had, and to do it on your own. (Of course, your friends, teachers and parents are there to help. You might even decide to tag-team a project with a friend.)

The first major decision to make is yours:

  • What topic will you take on?
  • Where will you channel your passion?
  • Will you pick a topic dominating news headlines?
  • Or maybe you’ll choose something you’re totally clueless about, to truly challenge yourself.
  • The bottom line is that your future in science fairs is wide open.

What are you students’ interests?

choosing the topic question
Choosing the topic/question…
  • What do you want to study or learn about?
  • What are your areas of interest? Hobbies?
  • What is going on in the world around you that you want to learn more about? (home? school? work place? community?)

What are the resources in your school and community?

research your topic
Research your topic…
  • Literature Review: Use science journals/internet/library to learn more about your topic
  • Seek out adults, professionals that know about your topic
  • Look for unexplained or unexpected results
  • Ask why? What if?
  • Identify a “testable” question.
    • Can variable(s) be identified and tested against original set of conditions
  • Can the question/problem be completed in the amount of time allowed for the project?
non inquiry based research
Non Inquiry Based Research

Not all areas of study are best served by scientific method….BE AWARE

  • Engineering Projects – creating things that never were
    • Define a need…How can I make this better?
    • Develop or establish a design criteria
    • Background research /literature search – what has already been done and what makes it good and what makes it weak
    • Prepare preliminary designs and materials list. Include costs and user requirements
    • Build and test a prototype. Consider reliability, repair and servicing
    • Retest and redesign as necessary. Product testing
  • Computer Science Projects
    • Creating and/or writing new algorithms to solve a problem or improve existing one
    • Simulations, models or virtual reality are other areas
  • Mathematics Projects
    • Involves proofs, solving equations
    • Math is the language of science and used to explain existing phenomena or prove new concepts or ideas
research project approval
Research Project Approval…




  • Define the question/problem
    • Teacher approval
    • Parent approval
  • What is the hypothesis and/or expected outcome(s)?
  • Plan your experimental procedures
    • Procedure – detail all procedures and experimental design to be used for data collection
    • Include all safety procedures
    • Must be a “controlled” experiment – one variable changed at a time
    • Include sufficient numbers to be statistically valid
    • Data Analysis – describe the procedures you will use to analyze the data/results that answer the research question(s)
    • Include list of materials
  • Bibliography –
    • list at least 5 major resources from your literature review
    • Include resources used to develop experimental design and/or safety procedures
required forms for competition
Required FORMS for competition…
  • Checklist for Adult Sponsor (1) – pre-experiment
    • Adult Sponsor/teacher carefully reviews the entire Research Plan and signs prior to experimentation
    • Check for additional PROTOCOL FORMS that might be needed to do the experiment
  • Student Checklist (1A)
    • Student information
    • Continuation?
    • Start and end dates
    • Where is experiment conducted?
  • Approval Form (1B) – Student and Parent approval
    • Understand Possible dangers
    • Ethics statement
      • Human Subjects
      • Vertebrates
      • Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents (PHBA’s)
      • Hazardous Chemicals, Activities, and Devices (SSEF RULE)
  • ATTACH COMPLETE Research Plan – Question/Hypothesis; procedures; Bibliography
conduct your experiment
Conduct your experiment..
  • Log book
    • Keep detailed notes of measurements and observations
    • Use data tables or charts to record quantitative data
    • Original writing
    • Could be used to PROVE what you actually did
analyze data
Analyze Data
  • Examine and organize your findings
  • Make “pictures” (graphs)
  • Identify patterns
  • Did you get expected results? Why or why not?
  • Was the experiment performed EXACTLY?
  • Are there any other explanations not originally considered?
  • Were there any data errors?
  • Statistically analyze your data and be able to explain their meaning
  • Did the variable(s) tested cause change when

compared to the standard?

  • What patterns did you see from graph analysis?
  • Which variable(s) were important?
  • Did you collect enough data?
  • It’s ok if results do not support your hypothesis
  • Were there errors that may have caused differences? If so, what?
  • What are the practical applications of your research?
  • How could this project be used in the real world?
  • How would you improve the experiment and what would you do differently?
formal presentation of research
Formal Presentation of Research


  • 250 words on one page
  • Purpose of the experiment
  • Procedures used
  • Data and conclusions
  • Research applications
  • Official Form –
formal presentation of research1
Formal Presentation of Research


  • Title Page and Table of Contents
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions
  • References/Bibliography
formal presentation of research2
Formal Presentation of Research


  • Good, scientific title
  • Photographs – must be appropriate and cited
  • Organized – follows a sequence
  • Eye-catching and NEAT
  • Correctly presented and well-constructed
formal presentation of research3
Formal Presentation of Research


  • The interview is the final determination of the student’s work
    • Is it thorough – well-thought out research
    • How much of thought and design is student’s own work
  • Will determine if data was collected and analyzed correctly
  • How did you come up with this idea?
  • What was your role? What didn’t you do?
  • What future plans do you have to continue research?
  • What are the practical applications of your project?
final presentation of research
Final Presentation of Research


  • Speak freely and confidently – KNOW your research
  • Greet the judge and introduce yourself – good first impression
  • Appearance, good manners, appropriate attire, and enthusiasm for what you are doing will impress
  • Relax, smile and enjoy your time
  • Judges will encourage you in your

scientific efforts and future goals

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