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Dive Into STEM 

Science Fair Projects (Grades 7 to 12)

Project Development

Time to get your ideas down on paper. Science is everywhere and science fair project ideas can come from many places. Pick something you are curious about and put it into the form of a question. Narrow down the topic as much as possible. If you can answer YES to these questions, you have chosen a good topic:

  • Is my topic realistic?

  • Is it something I can do?

  • Is my topic interesting to me?

  • Can I investigate my topic by experimenting and collecting data?

  • Can I afford what I will need to investigate my project?

Next take your question and form it into a hypothesis that you can test. You may be researching the issue, performing a series of experiments and reporting your findings to your friends, teachers and judges. If you are asking questions that start with, “Why does it… What is it… How can it… When did it… Where was it… you have a science fair project in the making. This event may be promoted through your school by teacher involvement, student participation and by organizing your own school fair. The road to scientific success begins with the school fair, followed by the Regional Science Fair, the Canada-Wide Science Fair, and on to International Science Fairs.

Categories

Biotechnology – Crop development, animal science and microbials.

Engineering,Computer & Math Science – Involves any branch of engineering or computer technology/hardware, software writing, data-processing techniques, etc.

Life Sciences – Zoology, botany, or pure and applied medicine.

Physical Sciences – Physics, chemistry or mathematics.

Earth and Environmental Sciences – Planetary processes or the relationships of organisms to those processes.

The Scientific Method

There is a standard procedure called the Scientific Method with which to do a research project, though the order can change:

PURPOSE – every project should be designed to answer a question and choosing that question is likely the hardest part of the whole process.

HYPOTHESIS – to answer the initial question, the student makes his or her best guess as to what the answer might be.

PROCEDURE – design a process to prove or disprove the hypothesis. This can be done in two ways: through observation or research in order to collect information or data about the scientific processes involved. The highest level of science fair project is a research project where the student designs and carries out experiments.

RESULTS – from the observation or experiments, a student is able to record the results in a form that others can easily understand, using graphs, charts and tables.

CONCLUSIONS – the results should tell the student whether his hypothesis is right or wrong, and why. A good conclusion is one that will encourage another researcher to follow the same experimental procedures. Some new original ideas may lead to future research work and next year’s SF project.

Presentation Tips

Your presentation is the communication of your ideas, data and results. It is the link between you and your audience – the judges who will evaluate your project.

Your project should:

  • Draw Attention!

    • Be inviting and interesting, so viewers will want to take a closer look and will read your summary information and reports. Look professional!

  • Colour Attracts

    • Too many colours overwhelm the display. Contrasting colours make the display more vivid.

    • Use colour to reflect your content, i.e. green for ecology. Fluorescent colours may come across as gaudy. As well, stay away from colours that clash.

    • Low light in exhibit areas will make dark colours hard to view.

  • Taking A Closer Look

    • A good project title will invite viewers to your display. The title should be clever and eye catching.

    • Make the title lettering large enough to be seen from 6 to 8 feet away.

    • Use a title header card to highlight the title and to give yourself more room for pictures, drawings, graphs and written material.

  • Holding Interest

    • Placement of information will encourage viewers to investigate your materials. Use the scientific method format for your display.

    • Use organized headings with materials placed in an orderly fashion.

    • Colour graphs, charts and photos are more appealing than black and white.

  • Be Professional

    • Check spelling and grammar.

    • Neat drawings, graphs and text.

    • Do a mock up or rough layout to find the best combination for your work.

    • Use your white (blank) space effectively.

    • Double space any type written material.

What the Project Display will Look Like

backboard.jpg

Final project dimensions 2.0 m high x 1.2 m wide and 0.8 m deep

JUNIOR PROJECT:

This is the minimum acceptable level for grades 7 and up. At this level there are two major types of science projects:

1) Building a model based on scientific principles with improved features over other designs.

2) Demonstrating a scientific principle, making improvements on standard experiments and developing a new application of an established principle.

 

INTERMEDIATE PROJECT:

Students answer a question by designing experiments that test one or two variable factors. For example, the student could study the rate of corrosion of metals under different temperatures and humidity levels.

 

SENIOR PROJECT:

At this level, experiments seek to control all possible variables. The results cannot be attributed to error or chance and can be documented consistently using the same experiments. The work is usually open-ended and leads to more questions and research possibilities.

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