How to Choose a Science Project
1. Brainstorm on all the topics you are interested in. At this stage, do not eliminate anything as being impractical. Make a list. Take a look at the Science Interest Survey on the website.
2. Think about each topic on your list in turn. Are there any questions you have wondered about regarding any of these topics? Is there a problem involving your topic that you think you could solve? Decide whether to do an investigation (answer a question) or an invention (solve a problem). Or do you want to learn more about a scientific topic?
3. Start to narrow down your questions to things you could realistically answer given what you have at hand and what you know is possible. Avoid “why” questions.
4. Design your experiment.
- Keep it relatively simple.
- You need to make observations and record them.
- You need to measure something.
- You need to compare at least two things. Most experiments need a control, which is the base result to which you compare your results
- For example, if your question is “What is my cat’s favorite food?” your control would be her usual food, and then you could try giving her three or four other foods to compare to her usual. You could measure time (how fast does she eat each food?), or quantity (if given the same amount of each kind, how much of each does she eat, by volume or weight?). You could set out all the kinds at once and see which she goes to first, or do a different one each day and see how much is left after an hour.
- If you are working in a group, you all should be involved in the design, and execution of the project.
- Run your design by your teacher, a parent, and listen to their suggestions. The final design is yours.
- If practical, collect data on your investigation or your invention at least two times to ensure that the results are reproducible and consistent
Assignment Descriptions & Due Dates
Download worksheets below
Key Information for Parents and Students
- Use a font size of at least 16 points for the text on your display board, so that it is easy to read from a few feet away. It's OK to use slightly smaller fonts for captions on picture and tables. For more details see: Everything You Need to Know About Fonts for Display Boards
- The title should be big and easily read from across the room. Choose one that accurately describes your work, but also grabs peoples' attention.
- A picture speaks a thousand words! Use photos or draw diagrams to present non-numerical data, to propose models that explain your results, or just to show your experimental setup. But, don't put text on top of photographs or images. It can be very difficult to read.
- Check the rules for your science fair. Here is a list of items that some science fairs allow (or even require) and some science fairs don't require (or even prohibit):
- Your name on the display board
- Pictures of yourself
- Captions that include the source for every picture or image
- Acknowledgements of people who helped you
- Your laboratory notebook (some science fairs want you to have it only during judging)
- Equipment such as your laboratory apparatus or your invention.
Project Boards Will Be Handed Out
Here are a few more tips:
- Keep it simple, neat and organized.
- Start with a powerful title. You want to grab the judges’ and visitors’ attention. A title like “Mentos and Diet Coke Geysers” is nice, but it doesn’t jump out. Try something like “Icky Sticky Soda Geysers – Which One Makes the Biggest Mess?”
- Use your imagination and make it attractive. Use pictures, 3-D objects, colors, graphs, charts or illustrations to draw in your audience.
- Know your facts. Make sure your report, data, materials and conclusions are all well-written and thoroughly researched.
- Practice and review. Practice your science fair speech in front of friends and family. Ask them to ask you questions about your project and rehearse your answers.
Watch these videos below to what a science fair is like...
Science Fair Rubric
What is a rubric?A rubric is a great tool for teachers, because it is a simple way to set up a grading criteria for assignments. Not only is this tool useful for teachers, it is helpful for students as well. A rubric defines in writing what is expected of the student to get a particular grade on an assignment.