You are on page 1of 18

Student Guide to

Science Projects

Science Fair Preparation

Haggard Middle School Science Department
In science there are no failures… only unexpected results.

with an opportunity of advancing to District. The experimental phase of your project consists of designing and conducting an experiment that tests your hypothesis. Plano ISD has been well represented over the past few years. Regional. Option 1 allows you to compete in the building level science fair. The major goal of the Plano ISD middle school science program is to help students develop a working knowledge of the major science process skills that lead to effective problem solving and the science literacy necessary for success in high school AP science courses. Regional. which includes Log book. Most of those students started by entering their projects at the middle school level and expanding their ideas every year until they graduated. As a science faculty. ISEF forms are required for Option 1. To help accomplish this. The final project for Option 1. Your experiment should be completed by the beginning of November. If you choose Option 1. you will have opportunities to participate in a series of science fairs. Best wishes for a successful science project! The Haggard Science Department -1- . Option 2 will include all of the research and experimentation. and it is also due November 18. with individual students and groups receiving numerous first place awards.) The Review of Literature is due on October 18. and finally State competitions. and special recognition. The first competition is your school science fair. and State levels. All students must have a log book in class by September 2. procedure and IVCDV chart. If you select Option 1. All Science Fair (ISEF) forms must be turned in by October 8 (Option 1 ONLY). but will conclude with a typed experiment and log book. materials. and Presentation Board is due November 18. (The Review of Literature is NOT REQUIRED for Option 2. scholarships. At that time you must turn in your problem. Many of our high school students have successfully represented the state of Texas at the International Science and Engineering Fair. all pre AP science students are required to complete an Independent Research Project. with the possibility of continuing on and competing at the District. you must select Option 1 or Option 2.Dear Parents and Pre AP Science Students. The first step of your experimental phase is due on October 1. Research Notebook. you MUST write a Review of Literature of your topic. we look forward to working with you this school year as you develop a broader understanding of the nature of science. You may not proceed with the experiment until your teacher has approved the materials and procedure. hypothesis. After submitting your research problem and getting approval. The final project for Option 2 includes the Typed Experiment and Log book. Option 2 will NOT allow you to compete in the science fair at any level.

Texas Thursday. 2011 TBA Activity Three Problem Possibilities sheet Problem. November 18. Do not proceed beyond this point until you have your teacher’s permission Science Fair (ISEF)forms REQUIRED for OPTION 1 350-400 word. double-spaced. 12 font. Option chosen on back.Independent Research and Science Project Timeline Science Fair Dates: School Fair District @ Plano Civic Center Regional @ Fair Park State @ San Antonio. 2010 Thursday. Student name __________________________ Student signature ____________________ Parent name ___________________________ Parent/guardian _____________________ -2- . 2011 Saturday. and all requirements for the Haggard Middle School pre-AP Independent Research Project. and IVCDV Chart to test hypothesis. February 3. procedure. February 26. REQUIRED for OPTION 1 ONLY “Science fair-ready” presentation board. materials. hypothesis. word-processed Review of Literature paper with bibliography. research notebook. and log book (Option 1) TYPED experiment and log book (Option 2) Due Date 9-9-10 10-1-10 Grade MAJOR GRADE Major Grade 10-8-10 Notes:10-11-10 10-18-10 MAJOR GRADE MAJOR GRADE MAJOR GRADE Major Grade 11-18-10 Detach and return signed I have read and am aware of the timeline.

Science Fair Problems The first assignment for the Independent Research Project is a description of three possible problems. medical study. Your teacher will approve your problem sheet. Before you do any type of behavioral study. This is due September 9 . -3- .e. DO NOT PROCEED BEYOND THIS POINT UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR TEACHER’S PERMISSION. Some of these studies also require a qualified scientist to do the experiment. Does bleach or water make plants grow faster?). Do not attempt an experiment that is below your academic level (i. **Some types of projects need additional paperwork. The three possible problems must be well thought out and must be on the middle school level. These types of projects can ONLY be done for Option 1. which you will be required to find. make sure you talk to your teacher to get prior approval. or microbiology project. Included in this packet is a handout on which to write these problems and select Option 1 or 2.

Three Problem Possibilities Problem 1: _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ IV: __________________________________________________________ DV:__________________________________________________________ How will you MEASURE the DV? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Brief description of project: _______________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Option 1 or Option 2 __________ initial Problem 2: _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ IV: __________________________________________________________ DV:___________________________________________________________ How will you MEASURE the DV? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Brief description of project: _______________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Option 1 or Option 2 __________ initial Problem 3: _____________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ IV: __________________________________________________________ DV:___________________________________________________________ How will you MEASURE the DV? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Brief description of project: _______________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Option 1 or Option 2 __________ initial -4- .

In your own words. Click on the link labeled Landmarks Citation Machine. but they must be used correctly. select Middle School. Follow the steps below when paraphrasing: • • • Carefully read the passage that interests you. Approximately one page of notes should be written per week and kept in your log book. magazines. Then cover it up so you aren’t tempted to look at it. this is stealing! This type of idea theft is called plagiarism. do not copy them word for word.pisd. teachers. You will be expected to research your topic independently each week. paraphrase the idea. You must still cite the source using the guidelines above. The easiest way to do this is by using a citation maker to help you. instead. The research phase of your project should be finished by October 11th. Go to the web page http://k-12. Science and Independent Study. Then look at the original passage again so that you didn’t copy it by accident. the ideas still don’t belong to you. summarize the ideas. begin every entry with a complete bibliography in APA format. you will need to take detailed notes in your log book. Now all you have to do is pick the source.Note Taking Skills To create a Review of Literature. All notes (3-pages) must be neatly handwritten. When you are taking notes. Even though you paraphrase someone’s words. When a writer chooses to use the words and ideas created by someone else without giving the original author and copy the citation exactly in your notebook page. and even other writers. type in the information. Other people’s ideas and information often help in the writing process. the Internet. It’s against the law in the state of Texas! When you are taking notes. Good writers surround themselves with ideas from many sources such as books. -5- . TV.

two magazines. 295) or (Kramarski. You will need to make two copies of your final paper. and a bibliography (12 pt. approximately 2 pages of information. Now that you have completed the background research. Those sources will be listed at the end of the paper on a bibliography. like to find the cure for the cure for cancer --. and a page number (if from a magazine or book) in parentheses.204).scientists help one another by sharing information in published journals. No opinions should be stated in the paper. and one book). the date of publication. No references to experimentation in any way should be in the paper. you must list their name(s). Make sure that you save the paper. Include only the most significant and relevant information you have read. The final draft is due on October 18. p. In order to solve problems.Developing a Review of Literature No scientist works alone. In your Review of Literature. Every time you use someone else’s ideas. mention the hypothesis of your experiment. font. p. In this paragraph. double-spaced). A Review of Literature typically has a title page. because you will need it later when you turn in the experimental part of your Independent Research Project. Examples: (Warner & Meehan. you will write a paper called a Review of Literature. 2001. You will use at least 6 sources (three online. 1999. -6- . No personal pronouns should be used in the paper. One copy will be placed in your notebook while the second copy will be turned in to your teacher. You should spend as much time editing your paper as you did writing it. The paper should follow the following format: Introductory Paragraph (must include the following): • Brief description of topic/project • Importance of topic to society • 2-3 summarizing sentences of current research on the topic • Summarizing sentence of entire paragraph 1st Section • Thorough description of information known about the independent variable 2nd Section • Thorough description of information known about the dependent variable 3rd Section • Thorough description of information known about how the independent variable affects the dependent variable Conclusion Closing or summary paragraph(s) • Restates the problem/topic and summarizes the entire research paper. you will use the APA format for internal citations.

(Watering 5 plants 10 mL of water. everything that will be used should be included in exact quantities. . every day for 5 weeks would require 1750 mL of water for the experiment). You will also have a detailed procedure which must include numbered steps. make sure to determine exactly how much you will be using. Science Fair Forms will be created at this time. create a materials list and a detailed procedure. How would someone make it? Make sure the plane would look exactly like yours by following your instructions. You should already know what you are going to be testing and be able to predict what might happen. It must be precise enough so that any other person can recreate your lab independently.Preparing to Experiment When you have finished with your paper. Make sure to fill out the IVCDV chart before you start the materials list and procedure. -7- . In creating the materials list. grams). you should be an expert in your topic. All quantities should be listed using metric units (meter. A step saying “make a paper airplane” would not work. liters. If you are adding water to something. You must have your teacher’s permission before proceding beyond this point. Before starting on the actual experiment.

then ( DV ) + verb.Designing the Experiment Complete the IVCDV chart. Independent Variable Dependent Variable + verb + verb If ( IV ) + verb. Hypothesis: -8- . Independent Variable (IV) Constants Dependent Variable (DV) Complete V Chart.

Materials Page Material Amount -9- .

_______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ -10- . _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 10. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 9. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 2. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 6.Procedure Page 1. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 8. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 7. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 3. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 4. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ 5.

your data book should stay by your side at all times! This will be a diary of your work and as rough as it may appear will be one of the most important parts of your project. You will record all observations here. You should not include you personal feelings or attitude toward the project. The information you collect should be factual information. If you take photographs. not just a copy of what appears on the backboard! Example entry Date: October 11.Collection of Raw Data The next section in your project data book is the collection of your raw or field data. Include the date and time of the observations being made. sketches or photographs are encouraged in this section. Temperature of growing box: 28 °C Data: Plant A. You should not recopy your raw data even if it appears to be messy. • Remember the data book is a complete record of how the experiment was carried out. -11- .26 cm (this is a 5cm increase) Additional Observations: All plants are looking healthy except for plant C which seems to be dying. Use constant time intervals when collecting data. both success and failures.18cm (this is a 1cm increase) Plant D. Other items may be included in the entry that might affect the experiment such as location or temperature. Make each entry as detailed as possible. It is from this data you will extract the information for your display and conclusion. make note of who took the photograph as well as the location and date of the photograph.24cm (this is the same as last observation) Plant C. 2007 Time: 8:00 pm. As you work on the next stage of your project.23cm (this is a 3cm increase) Plant B. Diagrams. Use accurate metric measurements. Follow these guidelines when making entries: • • • • • • • • • All entries should be handwritten in ink! (The raw data is not typed!) Each entry should be stated in the present tense. Describe the observations being made and use both quantitative and qualitative data.

graphs. drawings.Using Science Skills Refer to the following skill sheets: Before and during experimentation • • • Making a Scientific Drawing Making a Data Table Making a Graph All data. notes and all other observations for every trial are recorded in the logbook. Remember to include all the data and notes each step along the way. even for failed trials! After experimentation • Developing a Conclusion • How to Write a Scientific Abstract Creating the Final Project .

procedure. materials. summary of results. and special recognition. Then show your data followed by the entire conclusion. error analysis. In each phase of the competition. scholarships. with individual students and groups receiving numerous first place awards. Your science fair board does not have to be set up exactly like this one. with possibilities of advancing to district. Most of those students started by entering their projects at the middle school level and expanded their ideas every year until they graduated. Plano ISD has been well represented over the past few years. and you have your results. It is due November 18 and will be presented on a science fair board if entering science fair or a typed experiment if you are not. chart(s). Many of our high school students have successfully represented the state of Texas in the International Science and Engineering Fair. You will create a presentation to show your work. etc. you will have opportunities to participate in a series of science fairs. Title Problem Hypothesis Variable Materials Log Book Abstract (in frame) Research Notebook Procedure Data Conclusion Error Analysis Future Applications Pictures Tables and Graphs Make sure that all pictures used are credited (i. impression.Presentation Board You have collected all of the data. future applications. the eligible projects become fewer. and a log book. with only the top three places in each division advancing. picture from: webpics. and finally state competitions. Everything on the board is placed where it is for a purpose. The presentation must include the problem.e. -13- . hypothesis. beginning with the school science fair. If you choose to enter your project in the science fair. Remember.). the backboard is the judge’s first. and often final. A scientist presents his or her findings in an organized manner. but it is an excellent example of how the board should flow. graph(s). hypothesis. regional. conclusion. Start out with the introduction ( or picture by Jane Doe).

3) Introduction – Include your problem-. including individuals. and what you hoped to achieve. Landmarks Citation Machine is available on Cyberweb (see page 5). 8) Acknowledgments – You should always credit those who assisted you. graphs—minimum of 1-and charts used in the experiment.Include this to allow the reader to follow the organization of the project quickly. and educational or research institutions. -14- . You research notebook should be a 1 inch 3-ring binder and is included in the final presentation at the science fair. an explanation of what prompted your research. Accurately number all pages in the notebook. Use tab dividers to keep sections separate and well defined. organized. Never introduce anything in the conclusion that has not already been discussed. 4) Materials – List all materials and their exact quantities used in the experiment. 6) Data – Include all data tables—minimum of 1--results. 2) Table of Contents . 5) Procedure – List and number the exact steps used in the experiment. 9) References / Bibliography – Your reference list should include any documentation that is NOT your own. * PHOTOS ADD DOCUMENTATION TO YOUR PROJECT! 7) Conclusion – Use the Pre AP/IB “Developing a Conclusion” skill sheet for writing the conclusion. Photos should be included. A research notebook helps organize data as well as thoughts. do not generalize. if any) --hypothesis. Use APA format.(and engineering goals. businesses. and include the following: 1) Title Page .Include title of project and date. Do not write in 1st person. and it should be neat. keep a scientific perspective regarding your experiment.Research Notebook A Research Notebook should be prepared and available along with the Log Book and necessary forms or relevant written materials. Be specific. The research notebook is required for Option 1 students only.

and complete Science Fair Project including a presentation board. the student will fill out an approval checklist provided by their teacher. but will not have to fill out all of the ISEF paperwork. and can not come from the science fair idea page. This is the option for students who do not want to compete in the Science Fair Competitions or who can not develop an original idea and need to use the science fair idea page. a three ring research notebook and Log Book.Independent Research and Science Project Options Option Option 1: Science Fair Project Requirements for the Option This is the option for students who want to compete in the various Science Fair Competitions. The student will be required to follow all ISEF guidelines and to fill out all of the required paperwork. REQUIRED Parts of the Project: Review of Literature. ISEF paperwork. Instead. Option 2: Typed Lab Project Detach and return signed I am aware of the two options for the pre AP Independent Research Project and that my child has chosen to do Option 1 / Option 2 PLEASE CIRCLE ONE Print Student name ______________________ Student signature ____________________ Print Parent name _______________________ Parent/guardian _____________________ -15- . The student must still follow the ISEF guidelines. REQUIRED Parts of the Project: TYPED Experiment and complete Science Log Book. The student’s idea must be original.

. . you MUST correct it before you continue.then Format Used Prediction is Made Hypothesis is Predicted Answer to Problem Question Material and Procedure Approval Checklist Materials Procedure Exact Quantities Given Exact Types Given Thorough LIST of Materials Given Metric Measurements /Strength of Chemicals Given Safety Equipment/Precautions/Parent Supervision Listed (On BOTH Materials and Procedure) Steps Listed Steps Numbered Steps Have Enough Detail/Are Thorough Safety Procedures are Followed Proper Disposal of Chemicals Noted Diagrams Included (if appropriate) Procedure Can Be Duplicated This project has (been approved / not been approved). .IVCDV Chart Evaluation Problem is Stated as a Question Problem is Clear Problem Relates Directly to Hypothesis Problem IVCDV Chart/ Hypothesis IV is Correctly Identified DV is Correctly Identified Constants are Correctly Identified If. If your project still has something wrong with it. If you have been approved you may start your project at this time.

-16- .