Having Fun Getting Started With Your Science Fair Project During The Summer

Science is all around you.

Whether you get inspired by the plants and animals as you go out for walks in the countryside or find visits to museums, planetariums, zoos or aquariums a fascinating way to find out about things like dinosaurs or animals at the zoo, make it an adventure to learn how things work.

Many schools are encouraging students to come up with science fair projects, sometimes to represent the school in a local science fair competition or just to foster young scientists. Science is an exciting subject and helps you investigate topics and explore new ideas about things.

image of static electricityYou need to choose the right science project for you – something that will keep you interested for the long summer vacation.

Work out who you could do this activity with, what might be needed (equipment), when and where can you do this activity.

Will you need help (parental supervision) or is this something you’ll be able to do by yourself?

Once you have a good idea about what you want to do, then you might need to consult the appropriate resources to find ideas and choose the best project for you. Will the topic really interest you?  Is it unique and original? Has there been much other research done about it?

Before you can start, you’ll need to narrow down your topic to specific parameters. What goal do you have in mind? This is important to getting good results and following a good scientific method of study.

Types of science fair projects:

There are different types of science projects that you might be interested in. The three main kinds are experimental, descriptive and building or engineering projects.

Experimental projects - you investigate a scientific issue by asking a question, testing a hypothesis, performing an experiment and finally draw conclusions from it. This is called the scientific method and is usually the most common. Such projects might look at the effect of exercise on blood pressure or how multiple rotors can be used for a high efficiency windmill design.

Descriptive projects – these demonstrate a scientific principle or phenomenon like investigating and describing the process of fermenting wine, describing different computer security methods, analysing major energy sources used in the home.  Examples of these sorts of projects might include investigation of the secrets of life (DNA) or analysis of the differences between turtles and tortoises.

Building or engineering projects – these consist of building a scientific or technological device or machine. For example you might build a simple crystal radio set, a Geiger counter, develop a browser programmed with Visual Basic or build a real working hovercraft. Projects might involve making simple electric motors or developing a computer programme using a particular type of language.

Background reading

You can find lots of ideas on the internet for experiments but part of the fun and an important part of the project is in the research and background reading you can do on the topic. Visit Kumons' blog to learn more about how to develop children’s reading skills.

This is where the internet is so useful. For example, if you were looking at the differences between turtles and tortoises, you can easily Google both to find out all about them. Wikipedia is a great source of information www.wiki.com.

Visit your library for books on the topic your project is about. Try to visit museums or places where you can find out more about the area that your project is about.

You might want to keep a diary or scrapbook for all your notes, pictures and information that you collect while working on the project. This can be very useful as most science fair projects usually end up with you having to present your results whether on a display board, a report or as a model of something you’ve created.

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