The archetypal science fair provides a great learning opportunity to students, and can afford spectators an enjoyable experience as well. Of course, getting started is the most challenging part of any project, big or small. The purpose of this article is to help you get started; to slingshot you ahead of your pears into the realm of innovation and excitement. After reading this article, you should be ready to take on the world of science with a project of your own!
First of all, every science fair project should have some novel concept behind it. It is important to avoid doing what has been done before! After all, science fair judges have seen all the common projects already. Try to think of something new and creative. A great way to do this is to merge two topics or disciplines into a research topic. For example, you could merge chemistry and physics, and research compounds that increase or decrease friction. Alternatively, choose a research question that you are passionate about. For example, if you are interested in cancer medication, you could study the effect of different combinations of drugs on cancer cells.
Next, you must show dedication and commitment. Keep in mind that your work ethic shows through the quality of your presentation and results. Do not procrastinate; rather, be proactive in completing your tasks. Set realistic goals for your project, and aim to complete them.
To be a successful researcher, one must demonstrate an appreciation of the scientific method. Demonstrate rationality, careful judgment, precise measurement, and an exceptional attention to detail. Stay far, far away from personal bias; not only is it easy to spot in a project, but it will render your entire project invalid! Do not attempt to extract a relationship between data if one obviously does not exist. Your presentation should clearly show the progression from problem and hypothesis to conclusion and evaluation.
Finally, present your findings well. As stated above, ensure your presentation (be it trifold, powerpoint, research paper .etc) communicates logically and clearly, with an easily distinguishable progression. When speaking, be excited about your findings - such behavior lends credibility to your work and shows commitment. As well, include a hands-on demonstration of your project, if possible. Nothing attracts a crowd (and happy judges) like an exciting demonstration!
Keeping these tips in mind, you will be sure to excel in an experimental science fair. And remember: winning is definitely not everything. Science fairs, whether you win or lose, develop in you an insight, knowledge, and experience that will help you wherever you go!