|Deciding on a project & Category|
|Looking for Help|
|Literature Research & Bibliography|
|Doing the Project|
|Preparing an Abstract|
|Setting Up a Project Board|
|Some Advice Regarding Competition|
|Elements of Science-Engineering|
SCIENCE FAIR: THE BASICS
What are the basics to include on a Science Fair project and display board? Here is a one-page “how to” guide that summarizes everything!
The BOLD type words are the areas to cover on the display board. When ready to make the board it is recommended that the bold type words are put into big letters at the top of each page/section that will be put on the display.
1. Title: Make this REALLY big! Make it clever and creative! Titles are usually in the form of a short question. This is probably the most important thing so make it catchy!
2. Abstract: This is a summary of the whole project (in 250 words or less). It includes the goal or why it is important, the methods, the results, and most importantly the conclusions. You may want to include a sentence at the end about what you would like to do to continue this project in the future.
*Note to High School Students: IF you are printing your project on a single sheet format, keep your abstract separate and attach next to your board. At ISEF, it cannot be on the single page layout.
3. “Statement of the Problem” or “Question” or “Hypothesis”: Either is OK. A short sentence or brief paragraph is good. How did you think of this project? What made you wonder about this? Convince us that you really wanted to know about it. Regarding a Hypothesis, keep it nice and simple. What are you trying to disprove or prove? You can have a few sub-hypotheses (littler questions that came up) if you want! Warning: Do not get this out of an idea book, they are all old ideas now and many others are looking at them too. Also, do not use animals, gross stuff or ask other students to do potentially harmful things (like strenuous exercising, icky taste testing, etc.) unless you get the official permission forms filled out (See SRC under rules).
4. Background or Introduction: This should be a short paragraph or two regarding what was learned about the subject of your project from your literature search. The literatures search (Library and internet) should be done first when starting a project.
5. Materials: List everything you needed to do this project (be specific) and put a few words about why you needed them, i.e. “A Watch: We needed this because we needed to time how long…etc.”
6. Definitions: Optional - but especially at Gr. 3-5, it is nice. How did YOU define the terms you used? What means one thing to you might mean something different to someone else.
7. Procedure: Number each step you did. You want to be painfully descriptive and detailed here. But make each step be short so they are quickly and easily read…no long paragraphs here, split them up into two instead.
8. Results: This is where your charts and graphs go. NO explanations are given here. Your raw data can either be included on this part of the board if it isn’t very much OR more often found in your notebook/binder and set in front of the display.
9. Conclusions: This is where you interpret and draw conclusions about your data, charts and graphs. May sentences will start with: “Based on my results, I can conclude that…” or “Based on my data…” Judges love that!
10. Considerations or Limitations: Optional. You can use this section to state why results might be limited to this study only and not generalized. Limitations are variables that you might not have been able to control or could not change – every research project has limitations! This is also where you can put in the extra stuff that made your project interesting, or things that made you think further, or wonder more. Ideas for future projects can go here, too!
11. Hints: Put your name on a 3x5 card or slip of paper and clip to the back. NO STUDENT OR TEACHER NAMES can go on the front of the board. Also be careful that any photos that you take should not focus on kids’ faces. Take them so that the photo shows what they are doing, not who is doing it. If the pictures are of subjects other than the student researcher, parental permission must be obtained before it can be displayed at SARSEF.
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