By Raul Sosa, 10th grade journalist
One of the most important things when choosing a topic for your science fair project isfinding a topic that you find interesting. You’re going to be spending a lot of time on it, soyou don’t want your Science Fair project to be about something that is boring. Everyoneknows that finding a topic is the hardest part of a science fair project, and sometimes itjust takes a little help to focus on what kinds of topics you are interested in.There are three simple steps to follow for choosing your topic on the global expo:
*Choosing the subject you will be working on
*Think about the hypothesis
Choose a Subject: Choose a branch of science that interests you, be it biology, physics, chemistry, etc.Remember, your project can be a subcategory of discipline-specific sports (like medicine being part of biology). What is happening around you? If you look around, you can probably find something that is happening in your environment. Local current events are often a good source of ideas for Science Fairs. You can go to a library to find books on Science Fairs, ask your older brother or sister, your mother or father for some ideas. Remember that you can also use the internet to get some inspiration.
Look into the future before doing anything else: A lot of people make this one mistake, and that is that they choose a subject only because they like it but they don’t even think about the project in the future. When you find a topic and an experiment that you like you should think stuff like: How am I going to prove this?, Can I even do this?, Am I sure there is enough information on the topic online for me to develop?, etc. This is how people get stuck during the science fair, because they didn’t think about the project far ahead and when the time comes they find that the experiment is going to cost a lot of money for them to prove it or show it.
Plan your hypothesis: A hypothesis is a statement that tries to explain what you think will happen when you test the project. It’s an educated guess based on the research you’ve done on your matter. Generally, the hypothesis answers these questions: how, what, when, who,what, why or where. Here are some of the characteristics of a good question about a science fair project:
1.The question should be interesting enough to read, and then continue for the next few weeks.
2.There should be at least three sources of written information on the topic.
3.The question must contain one factor that you can change in your experiment and at least one factor that you can measure.
If you are still struggling to find a project idea here is a short and simple list to help you find a good project for the global expo, some of the stuff in here is a summary of what’s discussed before in case you are not interested in reading all of that:
*Write your project idea in the form of a hypothesis for the scientific method. If you can, write 5-10 hypothesis statements. What is easier to test? Which one makes the most sense.
*The ideal science project asks a question that can be answered or solves a problem.
*Consider the amount of time you have to complete the project. Don’t select a science project that takes months to complete if you only have a few weeks. Remember that it takes time to analyse the data and prepare the report. It is also possible that your experiment might not work as intended. A good rule of thumb is to choose an idea that takes less than half the total time you have.
*Don’t go through an idea just because it doesn’t seem to suit your level of education. Many projects can be made simpler or more complex.
*Keep your budget and materials in mind. Great science doesn’t have to cost a lot.Also, some materials may not be readily available where you live.
*Keep the season in mind. For example, while a glass growing project may dowell in dry winter conditions, it might be difficult to get crystals to grow during awet rainy season. A project that involves seed germination may work better in thespring and summer (when the seeds are fresh and the sunlight is favorable) thanin late fall or winter.
*Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Parents, teachers, and other students can help you fine-tune a science fair project idea.
*Follow the rules and regulations. If the use of live animals is not allowed, do not choose an animal project. If you will not have access to electricity, do not choose a project that requires an electrical outlet. A little planning can save you from disappointment.