Prepare an Abstract
While abstracts are not required in grades K-4 they are encouraged. They are strongly recommended for 5th Grade to 8th grade students, as abstracts are required for those competing for the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC). Selections for this nomination are based upon a well written abstract in addition to the science they have done.
An abstract is a brief (250 words or less), written discussion/summary of your Science Project. It includes:
The Project Title,
The purpose/goal of your project / experiment: An introductory statement explaining the reason for the research, or a statement of the problem, hypothesis or question
A summary/description of the procedures, emphasizing the key points or steps
The results and observations made
Conclusions of your investigation, and it may also include any possible research applications or goals.
If there is space, you may also include where this will take you next.
Abstracts are helpful to the judges to understand more about the student's ability to write succinctly and show the degree of understanding of the project. Abstracts should never exceed 250 words. For the students in grades 5, 6, 7 and 8, the abstract will play considerably more importance than in the K-4 grades. It is a good learning tool and should be encouraged at all grade levels, even Kindergarten, but in the lower grades its absence will not downgrade a project. Its presence, however, could be the tie breaker. Abstracts are a good learning device at even the Kindergarten level. A Kindergarten abstract may only have 20 words, but he/she is learning how to tell their science story. As the student progresses in grade level, that ability to communicate with the written word becomes more and more important. Abstracts should be edited for correct spelling and grammar. Even the best writers and scientists have their work edited. A mentor, parent or teacher should review and help by editing your abstract AFTER you have written it.
DO NOT send abstracts to SARSEF. Bring your abstracts with you to set up for SARSEF at the Tucson Convention Center. They may be placed either on the table in front of the project or affixed to the display board (recommended).
Here are a couple of great web sites to assist in writing your abstract:
Click here for advice from Science Service.
The Sample High School Abstract below is copied from the Society for Science & the Public Link
The SSP Link: www.societyforscience.org
has a link under Rules & Guidelines to a Powerpoint presentation regarding writing an Abstract.
The color coding below in the Sample abstract indicates Purpose of the Experiment, Procedures Used, Observation/Data/Results, and Conclusions as explained below:
Purpose of the Experiment
- An introductory statement of the reason for investigating the topic of the project.
- A statement of the problem or hypothesis being studied
- A summarization of the key points and an overview of how the investigation was conducted.
- An abstract does not give details about the materials used unless it greatly influenced the procedure or had to be developed to do the investigation.
- An abstract should only include procedures done by the student. Work done by a mentor (such as surgical procedures) or work done prior to student involvement must not be included.
- This section should provide key results that lead directly to the conclusions you have drawn.
- It should not give too many details about the results nor include tables or graphs.
- Conclusions from the investigation should be described briefly.
- The summary paragraph should reflect on the process and possibly state some applications and extensions of the investigation.
Effects of Marine Engine Exhaust Water on Algae
Mary E. Jones
Hometown High School, Hometown, AZ
This project in its present form is the result of bioassay experimentation on the effects of two-cycle marine engine exhaust water on certain green algae. The initial idea was to determine the toxicity of outboard engine lubricant. Some success with lubricants eventually led to the formulation of "synthetic" exhaust water which, in turn, led to the use of actual two-cycle engine exhaust water as the test substance.
Toxicity was determined by means of the standard bottle or "batch" bioassay technique. Scenedesmus quadricauda and Ankistrodesmus sp. were used as the test organisms. Toxicity was measured in terms of a decrease in the maximum standing crop. The effective concentration - 50% (EC 50) for Scenedesmus quadricauda was found to be 3.75% exhaust water; for Ankistrodesmus sp. 3.1% exhaust water using the bottle technique.
Anomalies in growth curves raised the suspicion that evaporation was affecting the results; therefore, a flow-through system was improvised utilizing the characteristics of a device called a Biomonitor. Use of the Biomonitor lessened the influence of evaporation, and the EC 50 was found to be 1.4% exhaust water using Ankistrodesmus sp. as the test organism. Mixed populations of various algae gave an EC 50 of 1.28% exhaust water.
The contributions of this project are twofold. First, the toxicity of two-cycle marine engine exhaust was found to be considerably greater than reported in the literature (1.4% vs. 4.2%). Secondly, the benefits of a flow-through bioassay technique utilizing the Biomonitor was demonstrated.