Science Fair Project Guidelines
Before You Begin
It is important to realize that there are two types of science fair projects. A Model, Display, or Collection shows something in science but doesn’t really test anything. We are looking for projects that use the Scientific Method to Test Something by carrying out experiments to find answers to scientific questions. Before you begin your project, carefully read through the steps below, and then design your project with these guidelines in mind.
Conducting a Project with the Scientific Method
1. Choose a question that you can answer through experimentation. There are so many exciting questions to find answers to. Don’t just choose something that sounds easy, or something that you won’t be able to prove with an experiment. Instead, pick something of interest to you that you would like to learn more about. Think about problems that could be solved with science. Be sure to talk it over with your parents. It is important to have your question ask what you want to find out, so be very specific. This will help you form ideas and conduct your research in an efficient way.
2. Research and experiment mentally. Do research by looking in books or websites, asking people questions, making observations, and finding out as much as possible on your topic. Then think about how you could answer your question with an experiment. Remember that every experiment should only have one variable being tested at a time. Feel free to set up multiple experiments in your mind, with a different variable changed in each experiment. As you experiment mentally, you may find a need to revise your question to better fit what you decide to test.
3. Formulate a hypothesis. A hypothesis is a prediction of what you think the answer to your question will be. You should NOT just guess when making a hypothesis. You should formulate your hypothesis based on what you have learned from your research. A well-formulated hypothesis makes a prediction that can be tested and is a starting point for further investigation.
4. Conduct the experiment that will prove or disprove your hypothesis. Talk to your parents about your plans for experimenting and be sure to follow the safety rules posted on this website. Carefully document each step of your experimentation, keeping track of measurements and other important details, so that you don’t end up with incomplete information. You may want to create charts or graphs to better show your data.
5. Analyze the data from your experimentation and draw your conclusions. Compile your findings and look at what you have learned from your project, including studying the data in any charts or graphs that you have made. Were you able to prove or disprove your hypothesis? Did you find a clear answer to your question? Is there further experimentation that you could do in this area? If you feel like your findings are incomplete, you may want to plan and conduct another experiment to better answer your question. With the scientific method, there is no limit to how many times you can start over and do another project, but be sure to keep track of every step that you take. It is perfectly fine to report that your hypothesis was wrong, especially if you can explain why based on your experimentation.
6. Prepare a short video presentation of your project. All content shown in your video must be original. Do not copy or reproduce the work of someone else. In your video be sure to include the following:
- State your question and the hypothesis that you formulated, including research to support your hypothesis.
- Explain and/or demonstrate how you were able to prove or disprove your hypothesis using experimentation.
- Show the results of your experiment and the conclusions that you have made. Present any charts, graphs, or other items that help explain your results. Be sure to point out any evidence that is available to support your findings.
Special Note from the Judges
Outstanding projects demonstrate a contribution to science. Projects of this caliber indicate that the student behind the project could have an impact on technology in the future. Any projects that encourage advancement in science will be given extra consideration for recognition in this competition.
1. Each student is only allowed to enter one project.
2. Students must be at least 5 years of age to participate.
3. Students may work together and submit a project as a team.
4. Each project must be submitted no later than May 14, 2019.
Rules for Safety
1. Safety always comes first. Make sure you have adult supervision.
2. Do not touch, taste, or inhale chemicals or chemical solutions.
3. Respect all forms of life. Animals may not be used in experiments. Do not perform an experiment that will harm yourself or another person.
4. Always wash your hands after doing an experiment.
5. Dispose of waste products safely.
6. Any projects that involve drugs, firearms, explosives, or illegal behavior are NOT permitted.
7. Use safety when browsing the Internet! NEVER write to anyone online without consulting an adult. Be sure to let your parent (or other adult supervisor) know about what websites you will be visiting.