GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT





• PICK YOUR TOPIC:

This is perhaps the most difficult part. Get an idea of what you want to study or learn about. Ideas should come from things in your area of interest. A hobby might lead you to a good topic. What is going on in the world that you would like to know more about? Most importantly, pick a question or problem that is not too broad and that can be answered through scientific investigation. You may want to explore several topics before making a final selection.



• RESEARCH YOUR TOPIC:

Go to the library or the Internet to learn more about your topic. Always ask Why or What if.... Look for unexplained or unexpected results. Also, talk to professionals in the field if possible.



• ORGANIZE:

Organize everything you have learned about your topic. At this point, you should narrow your thinking by focusing on a particular idea. Keep a bibliography of the resources you use. Write a summary paper telling what you have learned and include the bibliography



• MAKE A TIME TABLE:

Choose a topic that not only interests you, but can be done in the amount of time you have. Develop a time line to manage your time efficiently. You will need time to fill out the necessary forms and to review the research plan with your sponsor. Allow plenty of time to experiment and collect data. You will also need time to write a paper and put together a display board.



• PLAN YOUR EXPERIMENT:

Give careful thought to experimental design. Once you have a feasible project idea, write a research plan. This plan should explain how you will do your experiments and exactly what will be involved. Remember you must design your experiment so that it is a controlled experiment. This is one in which only one variable is changed at a time. The results are then compared to the standard data you take originally before you change that one variable.
Thus, you have designed an investigation with adequate controls and limited variables to investigate a question. Also, in your experimental design, make sure you include sufficient numbers in both the control group (if applicable) and the experimental groups to be statistically valid. It is important to consult with the teacher or sponsor to determine the appropriate methods for analysis. Describe clearly how you will measure your results. The experimental design should also include a list of materials. Once finished with the experimental design (also called a procedure) you are required to fill out all of the appropriate forms.



• CONSULT WITH YOUR ADULT SPONSOR AND GET APPROVALS:

You are required to discuss your research plan with an Adult Sponsor and obtain a signature of approval. In reviewing your research plan, you should determine if additional forms and prior approval(s) are needed.