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How to Choose Science Fair Questions

Posted by rafael on January 8, 2013 in Science

Science fairs are quite popular and useful events for kids and adolescents aspiring to become scientists. They are a kind of competition where students, who like to experiment and achieve their own answers to multiple challenging questions, present their science projects’ results. As reported by several specialized sources, science fairs have become an excellent space enabling students to learn how to carry out experiments and solve problems. Furthermore, students acquire abilities and become aware that they should not accept any fact unless it has been scientifically tested and validated.

Although models and modeling are important for science, a common approach used for fair sciences do not recommend students to present models (such as solar system, volcanoes, etc.) for their science fair projects. Instead, it is strongly advised that students choose questions which should be answered and next to set up experiments to answer them. As specialists state, this way students learn to approach science as scientists do. Nevertheless, it is not always easy for students facing a science fair project for the first time, to choose the adequate questions and prepare their projects. Thus, we are offering you some tips that may be useful if you are not certain on how to proceed.

Choosing Research Area and Topic

The key to success in a science fair project is to decide properly the topic that will be addressed and to plan the research carefully. A first issue is linked to choosing the proper research area and topic. The worst mistake a student can make is to choose a research area and a topic and later discover he actually does not like them. Therefore, students should choose a branch of science interesting them so much (it may be physics, biology, chemistry, etc.), that this interest will guarantee they will not feel bored or discouraged with their science fair project.

It is advisable that students look around them carefully so as to see what is happening in their environment. This way, they can probably find something that can be considered as a source of fresh ideas for their science fair project. Other useful sources are libraries. Students can visit libraries and consult books and materials linked to science fairs. They can also ask their parents, their older brothers or sisters, their friends, or use the Internet to find an interesting topic for their project.

Choosing Science Fair Questions

Once the research area and topic were selected, the students must choose a question that can be answered by using the scientific method as a basis for developing his project. The scientific method requires students to choose a question and create a hypothesis, that will be later validated or not, by carrying out a series of experiments or observations. Thus, students should select a question that later could be approached, tested, answered and validated by planning and performing an experiment.

Considering, on one hand, that the answer to this question necessarily ought to be the result of a data collection and documentation process, and on the other hand, that the experiment results must be observable and measurable, students shall use the adequate measuring tools allowing them to collect and document the experimental data accurately.

Therefore, selecting the right question is pretty important. For instance, those questions asking for a belief or an opinion can not be validated and students should not use them in a science fair project. This kind of question is mainly used in surveys in order to know how someone thinks or feels about a specific topic. In turn, questions that can be validated are different because they must be answered by using evidences.

Tests results can be observed and validated. The idea behind the validation of experiments is to demonstrate that if anyone follows the same steps the result will be always equal. Hence, in order to demonstrate that experiments results are valid, students must repeat the experiment at least three times and include all data linked to every test in his research report.

Questions for a science project, let’s say in biology, could be, for example: Does the size of a fish population affects the individual growth of its members?; Does magnetism affects limb regeneration in newts?; Does temperature affect tadpole’s growth?; Does light or heat attract insects to lamps at night?; What substances do mosquitoes find attractive or repellent?; How does temperature affect the butterflies’ growth?; How do insects adapt to pesticides?; Does colored water affects animal’s drinking habits? Does music affect the mood of an animal? Does variation of light alters the sleep habits of animals? among others.

After students have selected their questions they should involve in finding out the scientific principles behind their projects. This can involve researching in libraries, interviewing other people, using the internet.

Developing a Hypothesis

A hypothesis is a statement predicting what the researcher (in this case the students), thinks will be the outcome of his experiment. The goal of a hypothesis is to determine cause and effect. A hypothesis statement is usually written in the form “if … then”. For example, if a magnet attracts a material, then that material should be a metal. This statement can be considered as a hypothesis as the student can use a magnet to test it by interacting with different materials, and to observe if it will only attracts metal.

Hence, students will be asked to write a question that can be tested, as well as a hypothesis. It is important than students write their questions and formulate their hypothesis with their own words, receiving a minimal support (just if necessary) from their parents, teachers, friends, etc.

If you are looking for more information on this subject

When you have decided to take part in the science fair project it is very important to decide the Science fair questions you are going to selectBecause your entire project will be depending on the answer you explain to the selected question by you. So when you think of selecting a question you should go through the topics and see what sounds interesting to you.

Because once you select a Science fair questions you will be working on the topic the entire time. So it is important to select the question which you have an interest in. Since you will be spending a lot of time on it you would not want the topic to be boring. Sometimes you might find difficult and confusing to conclude on any topic. So it is always advised to take the help of an expert or mentor.

How to Choose Science fair Questions

How to Choose Science fair Questions

You can rely on few websites who have expertise solutions for your questions too. Some websites will have options like a topic selection wizard. They will ask you a series of questions about your daily activities and interests and then let you know the options of topic you have to select the Science fair questions.   Since the question you have chosen for the is the cornerstone of your experiment it is very important to choose the right one.

The whole project will be revolving around the question you choose and the answer you are going to look for it. So half of the success depends upon the Science fair questions you choose. So when you select a question it is important to select a type on which you can work for one or two months. Also the question you choose should be simple enough to find and work on the answer. That is a complicated question even if it is a topic of interest you may sometimes find it difficult to work during the process. The question which is on science normally starts with how. What, where, when, who, why and which.

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