Monday, October 28, 2013

Tutor Doctor Longmont: How to Come Up with a Great Science Fair Idea

A successful science fair project can do wonders for your grade point averages and can even catapult you to stardom in the way that it has for some of our young entrepreneurs. The biggest hurdle for science fair projects is coming up with an original idea. Once you have your idea, you will follow the scientific method for determining the outcome.
What is the scientific method?
A good place to start is to examine the scientific method itself so you can understand where you’re headed. 

·         Step 1: Based on something you have observed, formulate your question.
·         Step 2: Predict the answer you think most likely and formulate this as a hypothesis.
·         Step 3: Create an experiment that will show whether your answer (hypothesis) is true or false.
·         Step 4: Analyze the results of your experiment and decide if your hypothesis is valid or invalid.
Let’s look at an example: If I observe that the plants in my room grow better than plants in the rest of the house, I can ask the question: “Why do the plants in my room grow better than the plants in other rooms of my house?”
I then formulate an answer or hypothesis: “The plants in my room grow better because I play music in my room.”
Now you design an experiment to test your hypothesis. This will involve two plants who have exactly the same growing conditions where one is exposed to music while the other one is not. You will record their growth rates over the stipulated period.
Analysis of the data should lead you to confirm or reject your hypothesis.
If you have time, you can do further experimentation. For example, you can test whether different kinds of music have different effects on plants.
Formulating a hypothesis
Once you understand the scientific method, you can see how easy it is to ask questions about anything in the world around you. Start by thinking about your favorite hobbies and interests; is there a question you can ask about these? You will be spending a lot of time with your science fair project, so it may as well be about something you like.
Look online: Sure, we know that you want an original idea, but looking at other science fair projects can really inspire you. Perhaps you will look at the experiment above and decide to test whether tap water or boiled water will help plants to grow better, or maybe you will want to test whether yelling at plants or complimenting them has an effect on their growth. You can take an existing experiment and put your own spin on it.
Start thinking about your science fair project now so that you have tons of time to come up with a great idea. Remember that science fair projects are only as great as the original question. Here are some resources that offer ideas for science fair projects. Use these to get inspiration for your original science fair project idea.

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  photo:Carnegie Science Center

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