By Blog Editor Susan Wells
Whether you are required to participate in your school’s science fair or if you are trying to decide whether or not to volunteer to participate, the hardest part of getting started is finding a project.
I have organized my school’s science fair for several years now, and I have found that once the project is picked, the kids are excited and off to the races.
If you are having a hard time finding a project, please read our post about How to Choose a Topic and Project Ideas.
Once you have your topic, it is time to get working on the nitty gritty of the project. The best place to start is with enthusiasm and lots of energy. Find your motivation and dig in. Hopefully you have chosen a topic that you are interested in and excited about. If not, go back and brainstorm.
Our science fair is strictly voluntary and I am always excited and proud of those students who choose to take time out of their busy activity schedules and homework assignments to put together a science project. I love seeing a light in their eyes when they describe what they are planning. For me, that is science fair at its best. Kids getting excited about science and learning – independently, outside of the classroom.
You are excited, you are motivated and you have a topic, now what? Here are a few tips to see you through to the end. Remember, you are a W.I.N.N.E.R.
Start your project by asking “I wonder why?” or “What if?” A little wonder can lead to a big discovery. Remember to think like a scientist and use the scientific method. Before you can find the answer, you have to ask the question. Make sure you choose something that interests you, so that you stay focused and have fun. Get excited about it.
You have your question, now go learn all about your topic. Ask an expert, visit the library, search online. It’s the job of the scientist to build connections between people who know, experiments that tell and discoveries that you make.
Allow for the unexpected and accept that you may find an answer that leads to more questions. If you know the answer before conducting the experiment, then you really don’t have a good question. It is totally fine to arrive at a conclusion that is a complete surprise.
If you reach a conclusion that is different than you expected, that’s okay! Now is the time to start asking more questions… why did my experiment turn out this way? What are some possible explanations for these results? Now you’ve got it… you are on your way to scientific discovery!
This is where you test your ideas.You’re still gathering information that will help you find your answer. When you experiment, things don’t always go as planned. Don’t consider this a failure – it’s just a part of learning. Don’t give up! Keep asking questions and moving forward with your experiment.
Need some help getting past the roadblocks? Ask a teacher or a parent! Don’t be afraid to ask for help… that is one of the best ways to learn, investigate, and grow.
Take notes, draw pictures, take photos, make recordings and share your discoveries with your friends and families. Test your results to ensure that your facts are correct. When you make your big discoveries, you will need the notes and pictures to help pull it all together.
This is the best part of the science fair experience. It’s time to share what you’ve learned with others. Organize your facts, explain your results, and answer your original question. Create posters, write a report, make a video – just share! The wonder grows, the questions come, and the big discoveries follow.