Science Fair Resources
Middle School PreAP Science Project Requirement Guidelines
This booklet provides information for teachers and students on controlled experiments and field research projects. Click here to see this booklet!
The is link to the Austin Regional Science Festival webpage is found here.
What is the Scientific Method?
A successful project requires use of the "scientific method." That is not difficult; it only requires that the student: Observe, Plan, Experiment, and Explain what happens in the project.
Usually applied in a series of steps, the scientific method includes:
- Observing a single event or a group of events and recognizing a problem.
- Identifying a question to be asked.
- Formulating a hypothesis or attempting to explain what should happen.
- Designing and planning for experimentation or testing of the hypothesis.
In order to form a generalized conclusion, an investigation must include a number of observations of the events being investigated. For example, if the question is "Does the presence of sunlight affect the growth of petunia plants?" then a dozen petunia plants must be examined over a time interval in the presence of sunlight (experimental group), while another dozen plants must be subjected to the same conditions but in the absence of sunlight (control group). Using one or two plants in each group will not produce a valid investigation.
Conducting the experiment–Keep daily records, recording observations in an orderly manner in tables and charts. Be certain observations include the units of measurement being used. Determine whether results recorded in tables can be more easily understood with the use of graphs. All graphs must have a title which tells the reader what the graph is explaining. The abscissa (x-axis) and ordinate (y-axis) should be labeled indicating the units and dimensions.
Drawing conclusions–Making sense of what has been observed. Making a generalization based on observations and results.
Selecting a Science Project
When deciding on a topic to investigate, ask these questions:
- What topic interests me? What is a question for which I would like to seek an answer?
- Is this question too difficult for me to solve?
- What materials will be needed? Does this problem require sophisticated or expensive materials?
- Is the problem a safe one?
- Is it a valid one? Will it be possible to obtain results from this investigation?
- Is it of significance to today's society?
In choosing a project title, it is best to state the title in question form, such as "what are," "how is," or to use such phrases as:
- The Effects of…
- A Comparative Study of…
- The Observation of…
- An Investigation of…
- A Study of…
Online Science Fair Resources
The WWW Virtual Library - Science Fairs
Science fairs are held around the world. If you want to see what others are doing this site has hyperlinks to local, regional, state, foreign and even VIRTUAL science fairs.
Science Fairs and Science Projects - Resource Page
contains everything that teachers and students need to know about science fairs including links to the best resources on the Internet. If you are looking for great science fair videos or any printed materials check out the web site.
The Internet Public Library
http://www.ipl.org/youth/projectguide/contains the Science Fair Resource Guide that offers teachers, students and parents a complete listing of web sites dedicated to science fairs and projects. The site provides links to how to do a science fair project, samples, ideas, magazines and resources. This site is arranged from the basic to the most detailed, with special notes to teachers and parents. For more information about this resource, check out their web site.
a component of the MAD Scientist Network. This site contains links and resources on everything you ever wanted to know about science fairs, age-specific ideas for projects, as well as how to put a science fair together. Some of the links include: School Science Fair Homepage, Science Fair Idea Exchange, The Society of Amateur Scientists, Practical Hints for Science Fair Projects and Yahoo's listing of science fairs.
The Discovery Channel's Science Fair Studio
Something for everyone! The "Student" sections are Handbook, Project Ideas, Links and Books. The "Teacher" section deals with issues related to organizing a science fair. The "Parent" section titled "Helping Your Young Scientist" emphasizes that the most important outcome of your child's science project is the joy and learning that comes from scientific discovery—not winning a competition! It provides helpful hints to parents about selecting a project and resources available.
Intel International Science and Engineering Fair
The Olympics, the World Cup and the World Series of science competitions. Held annually in May, the Intel ISEF brings together over 1,200 students from 48 states and 40 nations to compete for scholarships, tuition grants, internships, scientific field trips and the grand prize: a trip to attend the Nobel Prize Ceremonies in Stockholm, Sweden. Science Service founded the ISEF in 1950 and is very proud to have Intel as the title sponsor of this prestigious, international competition.