Science Fair Project What is a science fair? • A journey of scientific inquiry. Students answer a scientific question by conducting an experiment. • The process ends with a showcase event. Why are Science Fair Projects so Important? Students will… 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. experience PBL (Project Based Learning) think like scientists develop organizational skills enhance writing and presentation skills work on real science problems demonstrate their abilities and knowledge to an audience learn the scientific method Student Benefits Integrates skills learned in other classes: -Math skills, -Computer skills, Research skills, -Writing and presentation skills Serves as a basis for future science fairs, which present opportunities for scholarships, awards, and prestige Promotes interest in a science career Partnership Students • Choose a topic • Design and perform experiment • Communicate results through presentation Teachers • Keep students on track • Answer Questions • Provide rules and regulations of fairs Science Fair Success Parents • Encourage your child to do their best work •Supervise safety Partnership Students • Choose a topic • Design and perform experiment • Communicate results through presentation Teachers • Keep students on track • Answer Questions • Provide rules and regulations of fairs Science Fair Success Parents • Encourage your child to do their best work •Supervise safety Partnership Students • Choose a topic • Design and perform experiment • Communicate results through presentation Teachers • Keep students on track • Answer Questions • Provide rules and regulations of fairs Science Fair Success Parents • Encourage your child to do their best work •Supervise safety Science Project Categories Physical Sciences : Chemistry, Astronomy, Physics Life Sciences: Agriculture, Behavior/Psychology, Health, Botany, Microbiology, Environmental, Geology, Medicine, Zoology Engineering/Computer/Math: Electronics, Computer, Mathematics, Concerns About Science Projects “So what kind of a project is required?” Allowable Projects: Experimental type projects that use the scientific method with a testable question. Ex. How Does …brand fertilizer affect the growth rate of roses? Projects Not Allowed: Research projects (What is a hurricane?) or models (a paper mache' volcano). These do not involve testing. Science Project Topics to Avoid What do the teachers need to do? Teachers will break the science project into small, manageable assignments that are spread out over time. What do the students need to do? Students need to complete the assignments on time and ask questions if needed. The Scientific Method? 1-Ask a question. This is the foundation. If your child identifies a question that is safe and can be answered through experimentation, the rest of the project will follow. For Example: How will the amount of fertilizer affect plant growth? How to Pick a Good Question The question should be interesting enough for your child to read about and then work on for the next couple months. Make sure the experiment is safe to perform. Ensure there is enough time to do the experiment before the science fair. For example, most plants take weeks to grow. If your child is doing a project on plants, he or she will need to start early. 2-Do background research. Collect information by looking in a variety of sources. Goal: Obtain enough information to make a prediction of what will happen in the experiment. 3-Construct a Hypothesis What is a hypothesis? An educated guess about the answer to a question. (It is a statement of “expected” results.) Avoid statements like “I think” and “I predict.” The hypothesis should be in the form of If/then: If I do [this], then [this] will happen. •For Ex: “If I increase dosages of fertilizer, it will cause greater growth in tomato plants. 4-Design Experiment Independent Variable Is the factor that changes in an experiment BY EXPERIMENTER Dependent Variable Is the factor that changes in the experiment because of the change in the independent variable Control Variable(s) All other aspects of the experiment must remain the same. “How Does amount of fertilizer Affect the Growth Rate of Roses?” Ind. Dep. Cont. 5-Materials The materials section is a detailed list of everything used in the experiment. Include what, how much, and kind of things used. They are typically measured in metrics. Non-Example •Water •Flower pots •Seeds •Dirt Example •5 liters of rain water •Six 4 cm. clay pots •12 bush bean seeds •10 liters of potting soil 6-Test the Hypothesis (Do an experiment.) The procedure is a listing of steps used in the experiment. It is very detailed, like a recipe. It makes it easy for someone to duplicate the experiment. 7-Data • Draw tables, charts, graphs. It can be Line or Bar or Circle. Example of a graph that “How wind generator power changes with wind speed”. 60 Power (kW) 50 40 30 20 10 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Wind Speed (m/sec) 9 10 8-Analyze the data • After organizing the data in easy-to-read tables and graphs. You create a written statement of the data and your observations during experiment • Look at measurements and observations recorded during the experiment. Think about the data and decide what the results mean. 9-Conclusion Did the data support the hypothesis? If not, why do you think it did not? Do not worry about negative results, or results that come out differently than expected. Just explain why you think you got those results. If the results turned out as expected, explain why you think it turned out this way. It’s ok if the experiment disproves the hypothesis. Safety, safety, safety! You can find this diagram and a lot of helpful information about display boards at www.sciencebuddies.org References In addition to www.sciencebuddies.org, these websites are useful… DiscoverySchool.com http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/ Discovery Channel’s guide to projects. Includes project ideas, questions & answers, tip sheets, and a “Parents-Get Involved” section. All Science Fair Projects http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/ Browse ideas by topic or grade level. You can also search if you know your topic. Be sure to look at the grade level of the project. United States Department of Agriculture http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/kids/fair/ideasframe.htm Agricultural project ideas dealing with Chemistry, Botany, Environmental Science, Nutrition, Microbiology, and Zoology. Changes this Year Harmony will not be having a school wide science fair this year. Students will complete their projects as in years past and present them to their classmates. Students will not be required to create a science fair board unless they are chosen to attend the cluster science fair Projects that will move on to the cluster science fair will be chosen by members of the science department. Important Dates Harmony Cluster Science Fair held at Harmony School of Political Science: December 8th, 2012 Austin Energy Regional Science Fair: February 20-23, 2013:(http://www.sciencefest.org) Texas Science and Engineering Fair: March 26-29, 2013:(http://emtsef.utsa.edu/) Have fun! QUESTIONS ?