Do you like creating experiments and testing out ideas? If that is the case, then the traditional science project is the category for you!
The objective of this category is to pick a testable question utilizing the scientific method to find the answer. You will design and conduct an experiment in order to prove your hypothesis and present your findings in a formal presentation to your class.
This category allows you to compete. Competition begins in each teacher's classroom. Top projects that meet all requirements will be sent to the Math/Science Center to be judged. Winners from this part of the competition will be given a chance to compete in the regional fair at SARSEF.
It is important that your science experiment be your own idea. It should not be taken out of a book, copied and completed. It is okay to look at the results of a past experiment and based on those findings create a new question and experiment.
How do you find a purpose for your project?The best way to find a purpose for an experiment is by doing research, examining results of past experiments or observing the environment around you.
Example: Students at Booth-Fickett Middle School noticed that the fence around the recycle bin area and playground was no longer silver in some areas. It had turned a reddish color. They also noticed that little pieces of the reddish color would chip off if you touched it. They continued to observe the reddish areas on the fence and noticed that when it rained the rust got worse. They researched metals and found that it was rust. They needed to find out how rust was formed. They spent more time researching the oxidation process. They found out that water and air is needed to form rust. Water acts as an electrolyte, which allows electrons to move creating a chemical change through the process of oxidation making rust. They wanted to know if other liquids would facilitate the oxidation process.
First, they came up with a problem, which is written in the form of a question.
How does a liquid besides water affect the process of oxidation on steel?
Next, they needed to continue their research and develop a list of research questions:
Have there been any other experiments with this problem?
What types of liquid would they use?
How much should they use?
How should they measure it?
Can we do this safely?
Third, they developed their hypothesis. The hypothesis is a possible explanation to a scientific problem, which can be tested by further investigation.
If you put a liquid besides water on steel then rust will form through the process of oxidation, because water, a liquid, acts as an electrolyte and lets electrons move over the steel and rust forms so this should be the same for other liquids.
Hopefully, this will help you understand how to begin your project. We challenge you to design an original experiment based on your interest.
Please check off as you complete your experiment. There are three parts that must be completed for your entire project:
1.) LOGBOOK: You should keep a logbook of everything you do as you complete your project. Each entry should be noted with the day, date and time that you worked on your project. You should be recording all notes, sources, rough drafts of written work, pictures, drawings, data, observations and thoughts on how the project is coming along and what you are learning.
Purpose: This is the reason you want to do the project. It is a question that can be answered through an experiment. The best way to pick a problem is to address something that is going on in your immediate life.
Hypothesis: The hypothesis is an answer to your question based on prior knowledge and research on your topic area. Use an "If....then.....because...." format for your hypothesis.
Materials: List everything you need and the amounts of each item needed in the metric system.
Procedures: These are a specific set of step-by-step instructions listed in sequential order.
oExperimental Group: This is the group where the testing is completed.
Independent variable: This is the factor that you want to test. Dependent variable: This is the result of the change in the independent variable. It is what you measure to gather results.
o Control Group: This is the group used to measure the results of the experimental group.
Observing and Recording Data:Utilize data tables to organize both quantitative and qualitative data. You must have both types of data.
oQuantitative Data: This is expressed in numbers including time, temperature, mass, distance, and volume. You will need to figure out a way to measure your results.
oQualitative Data: This is a description in words generally using the five (5) senses.
Summarizing Your Results: This is all of your measurements put together generally in data tables and graphs. The graphs give you a visual, so that you may analyze your findings. As you analyze your findings you write an explanation of what happened.
Conclusions:This is the area where you bring all of the information together and tie it all in. You restate your hypothesis and report whether it was correct or incorrect and why.
oHypothesis restated, correct, incorrect and why
oExplains why the result supports or does not support your hypothesis
oIdeas for further research and applications
2.) ABSTRACT: This is a one-page written paper that serves as a short summary of your project. The abstract has three parts that include the purpose, procedure, and conclusions.
3.) DISPLAY BOARD:
oMust have Tri-fold board made of cardboard or foam board
oNeat, creative, attractive and eye-catching
oAll steps of the scientific method included in sequential order
oNo pictures of with people in them
oData tables, charts, graphs, pictures and other informative items
oMetric Measurements labeled correctly
Website Resources: These are places where you can get ideas, you should create your own project.
General Links for Science Project help:http://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/projectguide/
Scientific Method Information:http://school.discovery.com/sciencefaircentral/scifairstudio/handbook/index.html
University of Arizona Science Fair Headquarters:http://www.sarsef.org
All Science Fair Projects:http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/category0.html
Examples of Testable Questions:
How does the color of a background affect its absorption of solar insulation?
How does the volume of a stream affect its flow rate?
Which species of wildflower grows best under artificial light?
How does temperature affect the water uptake in celery plants?
How does the speed of a baseball pitch affect the distance that the ball is hit?
How does the thickness of insulation affect how well heat is stored?
These topics may not be covered in middle school:
Comparison of brands such as batteries, dish detergent.
Human and animal testing needs special paperwork to be completed and approved by SARSEF.
Working with germs or bacteria requires special facilities, so if you do not have access to labs that can contain them safely avoid this topic.
Surveys, crystal growing, growing mold on food are topics are for elementary level students.