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MacArthur 9th Grade Science Fair

Guidelines and Steps for Completion

As a requirement for GT credit in Biology each student must design and carryout a science
fair project. Projects may be conducted individually or in teams of two members. Any
student going to Mac 9 is eligible for participation to the science fair. All science fair
projects will be presented in the Mac 9 library during our school science fair. The best
science fair projects will be chosen to participate in the district science fair. All students
that are chosen must attend the district science fair.
Important Dates (TBD)

Planned Project Overview Due- Mid September

Research Plans Due- Early October
Experimentation Begins- Early October
Science Fair Project Forms Due - October
Experiments Ends- Late November
Abstracts and Display Due- Late November
Mac 9 Science Fair- Early December
District Science Fair- Late January
Regional Registration Due - February
Regional Science Fair- February 24-26, 2017
The Research Plan will be counted as a major grade for the 1st 9 weeks grading period.
The Abstract, Lab Notebook/Journal, Presentation to Judges and Display will be counted as
a major grade for the 2nd 9 weeks grading period.
Steps for Completion


Topic Selection
Design Experiment
Design Data Analysis Methods
*Subject Specific Guidelines Followed
Type and turn in Research Plans
Conduct Experiment & Record Results
Create Abstract and Display
*Only required for projects that involve:
Human Subjects
Vertebrate Animals
Potentially Dangerous Biological Agents
Dangerous Chemicals, Activities and Devices

Topic Selection
This may seem obvious, but you will choose a topic or theme for your project. This could be
something very broad like Global Warming or Paleontology, but you will need to be able to
narrow down your focus to an aspect of the topic. This will be done in the next step. Use
the given topics handout if you need help.
Once you choose a topic you will need to research as much as possible. Gather facts about
the topic to help you narrow down your topic to the problem you will conduct your
experiment to try and solve. When you find information that you will use in deciding on a
problem, hypothesis or experiment you will need to write the information down on a note
card and record the citation for your research plan. Use the give research and note cards
handout for help.
As you research you will narrow down the focus of your project to one problem that you
can create a hypothesis for and create an experiment to test that hypothesis. This should
be a specific question. For example, in our class we tested this problem, How does
osmosis affect chicken eggs?

Once you have decided on a problem to test create a hypothesis for that problem. A
hypothesis can vary but should be an educated guess to:
The answer of the problem
Expected Outcomes of the experiment
Goals for the experiment
Design Experiment
This is the procedure that you will use to conduct the experiment and collect data. The
steps of the experiment need to be absolutely specific. This will include all materials used
and means that you will do everything that you have in your procedures and do nothing
Design Data Analysis Methods
This is the method(s) that you will use to analyze the data that answers your problem or
proves your hypothesis.

Subject Specific Guidelines

If you have a problem that requires you to test any of the topics listed below, then you will
need to follow the guidelines listed below:
a. Human participants research:
Participants. Describe who will participate in your study (age range, gender, racial/ethnic
composition). Identify any vulnerable populations (minors, pregnant women, prisoners,
mentally disabled or economically disadvantaged).
Recruitment. Where will you find your participants? How will they be invited to
Methods. What will participants be asked to do? Will you use any surveys, questionnaires
or tests? What is the frequency and length of time involved for each subject?
Risk Assessment

Risks. What are the risks or potential discomforts (physical, psychological, time involved,
social, legal etc) to participants? How will you minimize the risks?
o Benefits. List any benefits to society or each participant.
Protection of Privacy. Will any identifiable information (e.g., names, telephone numbers,
birthdates, email addresses) be collected? Will data be confidential or anonymous? If
anonymous, describe how the data will be collected anonymously. If not anonymous, what
procedures are in place for safeguarding confidentiality? Where will the data be stored?
Who will have access to the data? What will you do with the data at the end of the study?
Informed Consent Process. Describe how you will inform participants about the purpose
of the study, what the will be asked to do, that their participation is voluntary and they
have the right to stop at any time.
b. Vertebrate animal research:
Briefly discuss potential ALTERNATIVES to vertebrate animal use and present a detailed
justification for use of vertebrate animals.
Explain potential impact or contribution this research may have
Detail all procedures to be used
o Include methods used to minimize potential discomfort, distress, pain and injury to the
animals during the course of experimentation
o Detailed chemical concentrations and drug dosages
Detail animal numbers, species, strain, sex, age, source, etc
o Include justification of the numbers planned for the research
Describe housing and oversight of daily care
Discuss disposition of the animals at the termination of the study
c. Potentially Hazardous Biological Agents.
Describe Biosafety Level Assessment process and resultant BSL determination
Give source of agent, source of specific cell line, etc.
Detail safety precautions
Discuss methods of disposal
d. Hazardous Chemicals, Activities & Devices:
Describe Risk Assessment process and results
Detail chemical concentrations and drug dosages
Describe safety precautions and procedures to minimize risk
Discuss methods of disposal

Type and Turn in Research Plan

Once you have completed all the steps above, then you are ready to type your research
plan. The research plan includes all the information that you have gathered up to this point.
The research plan requires the following criteria:

Name on each page

Question or Problem addressed
Goals/Expected Outcome/Hypothesis
Description in detail of method or procedures
Procedures for Experimentation
Procedures for Data Analysis
Bibliography (At least 5 major references, books, journal articles, internet sites)
Conduct Experiment and Record Results
This is very obvious, but you will carry out the procedures that you detailed in your
research plan. As you conduct you science fair project you will keep a laboratory journal.
Use the laboratory journal handout for help.

Create Abstract and Display

After you have conducted the experiment, collected data, completed the journal, analyzed
the data then you will write an abstract. The abstract is a kind of summary of the entire
experience. Finally display your project following the display guidelines. See the abstract
and display handout for help.
Prepare for the Science Fair
You will need to give an oral presentation of the project to each judge that comes to see
your display. Practice explaining what you will say to family members and friends. Props are
a nice idea, but many are not allowed in the fair, check with me first.
Tips for Science Fair Success


If you want to work with a partner, choose wisely!!!! If you work with someone your fate
and grade is tied to that person!!!!!!
Plan ahead! Think about where you will be able to do the project? How much time it will
take? What do you need to do it? How much will it cost? A good idea means nothing if you
cant get it done!
Be prepared! Nothing is more embarrassing that saying, I dont know to a judge when
they ask you a very basic question. Think about what you may be asked so you will have an
Be serious! I know that you are a teenager, but you will have a great and worthwhile
experience if you work hard and do a great job rather than if you give little effort. Some
students have said in the past that the science fair was a waste of their time, and I
completely agree. If you are not serious you will not get any worth from the time you
spendthis is a valuable lesson you will learn in time.
DO NOT WAIT TILL THE LAST MINUTE!!!! It may seem that you have a lot of time, you
dont. As you grow older you will need to be able to accomplish a complicated task in a
given amount of time. This project will be one of many chances for you to learn how