Science Fair



Stuck for ideas?
Not sure where to start?
Is this a science investigation?

          SCROLL DOWN FOR A PARENT'S GUIDE TO THE SCIENCE FAIR


This is going to be a page where I will post lots of helpful tips, some useful websites and information that might help make your investigation a little easier.
Don't forget I'm always willing to help and am available to talk through your ideas.  Either come and talk to your teacher, see Mrs Sinclair at school or email me jo@wellesley.school.nz


Here's a few websites you might like to look at.
Always remember, what will you achieve by doing this investigation, will the information be useful? realistic? interesting?

Wellington Regional Science and Technology Fair
This is the website for the Science and Technology Fair that our top 20 entries will be entered into.
You should spend some time looking through this website.  Some pages you should look at:
Prizes  Have a look through at the prizes and their topic area.  Sunsmart, corrosion, weather, bread - can you find an investigation based around one of these themes?

Hints  They offer some really good, clear ideas for choosing a topic, planning your investigation and presenting your investigation.

Rules  Have a look down through this especially at the criteria for judging.  Our school marking criteria is based on what you read here and so make sure you have a good read.  You will also be given a copy of the school marking sheet in the next week or two.

SOME WEBSITES WORTH A LOOK

As I've said in class, there are many, many websites offering ideas for science fair projects.  Be careful not to spend too much time on these.  Many of them are very vague and contain so many ideas that it is easy to be sidetracked and not really find anything that is appropriate to what we do at school.  Try to limit the time spent look on the net for ideas.  Instead, you are better to have a chat with Mum and Dad, friends, family etc.  I have said that in the past the boys that have the most success have chosen topics that have either been about something they really like/enjoy such as 'food' or a topic that is relevant to their everyday lives such as some sort of problem/question based around home eg where's the most successful spot to go fishing?  What conditions bring possums out at night?  What type of paper should parking tickets be made from?  

Education.com Science Fair

Science Adventure - Science Fair Projects, Ideas

Science Buddies - Help with finding an investigation idea


This week, boys in the senior syndicate will be given a booklet which has lots of useful information in it.  DON'T LOSE IT!
You will find a copy of our marking sheet, helpful ideas on choosing a topic, the design process, writing a conclusion, what a logbook is and some further website links.

This is a link to a more detailed description of how to go about keeping a logbook for your investigation.  You are able to do this online and then print it off and include it.


A PARENTS GUIDE TO THE SCIENCE FAIR


Hopefully this might help some families work out what the Wellesley Science Fair is all about - especially those that are new to school.
The senior school (years 7 and 8) run the process slightly differently to the rest of the school.  Boys can either work on their own or with a partner.  The testing is done at home and the writing up and presentation is completed at school in school time.  In the middle school, most of the science work is done at school in small groups.
It is a Science and Technology Fair.  This means boys can either complete a science investigation or a  technology based investigation.  The main difference is that with the technology investigation, models would be made to test the aim, modifications made and then a final model made to show what you have learnt. Photos can be taken to show the different stages of modifications.
School will provide the boys with plastic presentation boards to work on at school.


Getting Started
  • Each investigation should have a log book.  This can be an old exercise book.  The log book is a record of notes, thinking, planning.  All the things that are part of the science investigation but not needed in the presentation are included in the log book.  In the log book you would see; brainstorm of ideas when you first think of something to investigate, any phone numbers/contacts etc, details of those included in the  investigation, sketches of set up etc, all the recording and observations, the original surveys and score charts, notes about when something went wrong (unexpected!), any information from web/friends/family.  It should also include a simple diary of what you did each day with your experiment.  Each entry should be dated - it doesn’t need to be super neat, it’s just like a notebook that you jot down your ideas and what you did.  It still needs to be readable!
  • If you choose a partner, make sure it’s someone who is going to share the workload, you can easily get together after school or in the weekend to do the testing and it’s best if they are in your class - so when you get class time the two of you can work together.
  • Remember to take photographs along the way - they make your presentation look more interesting and they are evidence of what you actually did. Take plenty and then select the best for inclusion.


Coming up with an Idea - THE Hardest Part!

  • This is the Aim.  What you want to find out and why you want to find it out.
  • An aim is a question that you want to try and find the answer to by doing some kind of scientific investigation.  Try and choose something that interests you (which stain remover works the best is NOT interesting to 12 year old boys!).
  • The best investigations from boys are ones that choose something that is relevant to their own lives.  They have a real and useful purpose.  Will the results tell us something useful?  Ask yourselves, so what?
  • Think about what you do each day - is there something you might be able to improve? Are your parents about to do something that your results might help them to make the right decision?  Can we really rely on what our body tells us?  Are the claims about a certain product actually true?  Is there a better way to do something?
  • Think about how much time you have to do your experiment (have you got time to grow something?), how much will your experiment cost - it shouldn’t involve your parents buying multiple packets of food/drinks etc,  how feasible is the experiment - will you actually be able to do this with the equipment you have?  Are you being realistic or is your investigation just going to be too difficult to actually do? Don't forget about health and safety. Please discuss any investigation using animals with your teacher first!


Parts of your Science Investigation


Title:  This can just be a short, simple heading for your presentation board - try to make it interesting.  A question can often make your board eye-catching.


Aim:  This is a short sentence that briefly explains what you are trying to find out.  You can also include a sentence that briefly explains why you want to find this out.


Materials:  This is a list of all of the equipment you need to be able to do your experiment.  Set it out like a list of ingredients in a recipe (include amounts etc)


Hypothesis:  This is your guess about what you think will happen.  What do you think your results will tell you?  Why do you think this?


Method:  This is where you write out EXACTLY what you did.  Once again, write it like a recipe, in numbered steps.  It is written in order of what you did.  If a stranger was to come along and copy your method, they would end up doing exactly what you did.


Results:  This is the data that you collect while you are doing your experiment/investigation.  If you collect lots of data, you might be able to collate it and put it into tables (still include all of your original data/surveys etc in your log book).  You do not analyse it at this stage, you are just presenting what you gathered/counted/observed/timed etc.


Conclusion:  There are a number of things to include in this section
  • A short summary of what your results told you, what did you find out?  Refer back to your aim and answer your question.
  • Refer back to your hypothesis - did your results support your hypothesis or how was it different?  There is no wrong hypothesis.  Maybe your results surprised you?
  • You might be able to provide some data analysis - you can include things like averages, bar graphs, line graphs, pie charts.  It is good to provide some sort of analysis of your results.
  • Maybe through your background research you found out something that supports your findings, you can include this research to help support what you are saying.


You should also include the following:
  • Photographs - this is ESSENTIAL.  Take them as you go.  This is evidence of what you did and how you did it.

  • Background research - what did you find out about your topic, an explanation about your concept that you were investigating, maybe some history on your topic (if relevant) and any other interesting and relevant information.
  • Log Book - look back under Getting Started for details.
  • Bibliography - this is a list of where you got any information from.  Your teacher should go over how to write one.
  • Props - It makes your presentation look interesting if you have something on show eg your model, the seeds you grew, the equipment you used.


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