How can I pick a science fair project that will win?
The answer to this question is both simple and complex. A good place to start with when trying to find a science fair project that will win is to look at what has won in the past. This is particularly true for students that have never entered a science fair before, or for students that are entering a new age category, such as moving from elementary to middle school, or from middle school to high school, or from high school to college.
Reading through the abstracts of winning science fair projects will accomplish a number of things. First of all it will help to educate you on how much work is necessary to produce a winning project and secondly it will help to give you ideas about the types of topics that generally do well as science fair projects. Finally it will help you to identify qualities that science fair judges are most impressed with, such as a complete report, a well designed experiment and a logical hypothesis.
The next step is to determine if you want to develop a completely novel science fair project or if you want to simply expand up a winning idea. If you want to reduce the amount of initial work that goes into producing a winning science fair project then you will want to select a winning project that has drawn your attention. You will then need to identify ways to improve upon the design of the project. For example, you can look at the notes from the original project report and see what problems that student identified with their experiment design. You can then solve these problems and produce a new project. You can also simply expand the scope of the project by conducting more experiments or by broadening the test population.
If you prefer to start from scratch then you will want to focus on the most topical concepts in science. A good way to identify these topical concepts is to read through newspapers and science journals. These media sources will identify breaking news in science, as well as the most pressing issues that the human race is facing. Once you have an interesting topic to work with you can begin to develop your project idea.
To develop your project idea into a winning science fair project you will need to figure out an interesting way to either learn more about the problem that you are working with or you will need to find a way to use science to solve the problem.