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 How to do a Science Project?

One of the most interesting activities that you do during your school years is doing a Science Project. Some schools require only one Science Project when the students are in the 8th grade. Some other school have at least one science project each year.

 In any way, a science project is your best opportunity to face the challenges that you may face in real life when you want to start your own business or get a job. Please note that doing a science project is not inventing something. You must gather as much information as you can and get as much help as you need. Following are some of the resources that you may use:

Parents can help you in different areas depending on their education and expertise. The parents presence, support and supervision is an important part of any science project.

ScienceProject.com provides you with project guides and support by project advisors. Project guides usually include background information, question, hypothesis, variables and experiment design. 

Encyclopedia.com and Wikipedia.com provide you with general information about any subject.

MiniScience.com provides you with project ideas, project kits and materials.

Local libraries provide you with books and magazines about the subjects related to your project.

Local professionals or other family members may have knowledge and expertise that can help you with your project. Before you ask for this type of help, make sure your parents are informed and agree with what you are doing. 

Select a science project:
The first step in doing a science project is selecting a topic or a subject. Most teachers allow you to select your own subject; however, they may need to approve your idea before you start your project. Make sure you review your school guidelines and requirements before selecting your science project. Choose your project from the list of project ideas and see the introduction page for any project that you might be interested in. 

Primary Projects are for students from 1st grade up to 4th grade. Most of these are classified as observation and display projects.

Elementary projects are for 5th grade and 7th grade students. At this level projects may be display or experimental projects.

Intermediate projects are for 7th and 8th graders. Most of the projects in this category are experimental projects or investigatory projects.

Senior projects are recommended for 9th grade to 12th grade students. Most of these projects are experimental projects.

All Science Project ideas in the above categories may be selected as a Science Fair Project or as a classroom project. You may even be able to perform other variations of such projects.

Propose a question or purpose:
What do you want to find out? Write a statement that describes what you want to do. Use your observations and questions to write the statement.

Identify Variables:
When you think you know what variables may be involved, think about ways to change one at a time. If you change more than one at a time, you will not know what variable is causing your observation. Sometimes variables are linked and work together to cause something. At first, try to choose variables that you think act independently of each other.

Write your hypothesis:
Based on your gathered information, make an educated guess about what types of things affect the system you are working with. Identifying variables is necessary before you can make a hypothesis.

Design an Experiment:
Design an experiment to test each hypothesis. Make a step-by-step list of what you will do to answer each question. This list is called an experimental procedure. For an experiment to give answers you can trust, it must have a "control." A control is an additional experimental trial or run. It is a separate experiment, done exactly like the others. The only difference is that no experimental variables are changed. A control is a neutral "reference point" for comparison that allows you to see what changing a variable does by comparing it to not changing anything. Dependable controls are sometimes very hard to develop. They can be the hardest part of a project. Without a control you cannot be sure that changing the variable causes your observations. A series of experiments that includes a control is called a "controlled experiment."

Write a list of material:

Write your experiment Results:
Experiments are often done in series. A series of experiments can be done by changing one variable a different amount each time. A series of experiments is made up of separate experimental "runs." During each run you make a measurement of how much the variable affected the system under study. For each run, a different amount of change in the variable is used. This produces a different amount of response in the system. You measure this response, or record data, in a table for this purpose. This is considered "raw data" since it has not been processed or interpreted yet. When raw data gets processed mathematically, for example, it becomes results.

Write a summary of your results:
Summarize what happened. This can be in the form of a table of processed numerical data, or graphs. It could also be a written statement of what occurred during experiments.

It is from calculations using recorded data that tables and graphs are made. Studying tables and graphs, we can see trends that tell us how different variables cause our observations. Based on these trends, we can draw conclusions about the system under study. These conclusions help us confirm or deny our original hypothesis. Often, mathematical equations can be made from graphs. These equations allow us to predict how a change will affect the system without the need to do additional experiments. Advanced levels of experimental science rely heavily on graphical and mathematical analysis of data. At this level, science becomes even more interesting and powerful.

Draw a Conclusion:
Using the trends in your experimental data and your experimental observations, try to answer your original questions. Is your hypothesis correct? Now is the time to pull together what happened, and assess the experiments you did.

Related Questions and Answers:
What you have learned may allow you to answer other questions. Many questions are related. Several new questions may have occurred to you while doing experiments. You may now be able to understand or verify things that you discovered when gathering information for the project. Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypothesis that need to be tested.

Possible Errors:
If you did not observe anything different than what happened with your control, the variable you changed may not affect the system you are investigating. If you did not observe a consistent, reproducible trend in your series of experimental runs there may be experimental errors affecting your results. The first thing to check is how you are making your measurements. Is the measurement method questionable or unreliable? Maybe you are reading a scale incorrectly, or maybe the measuring instrument is working erratically.

If you determine that experimental errors are influencing your results, carefully rethink the design of your experiments. Review each step of the procedure to find sources of potential errors. If possible, have a scientist review the procedure with you. Sometimes the designer of an experiment can miss the obvious.

Write your References:
Write a bibliography to show your references in any form. Such information include the form of document, name of writer, publisher, and the year of publication.

Write an Abstract:
Many people will not have time to read a long project report. An abstract is a brief description of your project purpose, experiment method, result and conclusion. Although you write an abstract at the last step of your project, you must place your abstract in the beginning of your report.

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