Teachers and Parents
It is science fair time!! Not sure where to begin? Start here.
Working on a science project and competing in a science fair can give your child a unique opportunity to take a close look at the natural world, and maybe make a discovery. Your child may be able to meet with professional scientists as well as other kids who share an interest in science.
Failure is not a word used in scientific circles. If students have worked on something that “doesn’t work”, their projects can still be successful if they can show why it didn’t work. An excellent science fair project uses careful methods, creative planning and sound reasoning. “Working” is just icing on the science cake.
Ask your children: How will you choose your topic?
There are so many ideas to choose from. Use the Kids’ Science Challenge Brainstorming Tool to figure out what interests you. The Brainstorming Tool was created to help kids, like you, come up with a unique idea for their Kids’ Science Challenge entry. You can use it for that or to figure out what to do for a Science Fair project. Or maybe they’re the same thing. Give it a whirl!
Use Your Kids’ Science Challenge Entry!
If you’ve already submitted an entry to Kids’ Science Challenge, you can turn it into your Science Fair project. Just take a few steps back and think about how you came up with your KSC entry idea. Can you take it further? If you designed a sketch for an idea, can you make it reality? If your KSC entry was full of multiple “big” ideas, can you choose one to focus on? How can you take your KSC idea to the next level? How will you test it? What do you think you’ll observe? What conclusions can you draw?
Remember to Use the Scientific Method
Think like a scientist and use the scientific method as you work through your project. The scientific method is a way to ask questions and then come up with the answers. Then scientists test their answers to make sure they’re true. When you use the scientific method you:
- Observe - Look around and ask questions about the world.
- Hypothesize - Make a guess about the answer.
- Experiment - Prove your hypothesis by testing it.
- Draw a Conclusion - Think about the evidence you got from your experiment.
Now start all over again. In science, every answer opens up a new question.
KSC Year 1 flavor science winners at their science fair!
They used their idea of flavored tongue depressors to create a science fair project!
Use this Checklist to help develop and share your Science Fair Project ideas.
Science Fair Project Checklist
- __ Develop a personal interest list. What really captures your imagination? Learn more about the items on your interest list.
- __ Narrow your topic. Choose something that really interests you. Find a topic that you will enjoy studying. Now that you have selected a topic that interests you, ask your parents and teachers what they think.
- __ Find a mentor to work with. Scientist often work in teams. Sharing information with others is a big part of science. Work with someone who can help you understand your topic.
- __ Start writing up your lab report. Write a problem statement. Keep it short and sweet. What is the problem you’re trying to solve?
- __ Do some research. Who has worked on this problem before you? What have they done? Use all kinds of sources – books, articles, videos, web sites – to research your topic.
- __ Keep track of all you sources. Science fair judges like to see a detailed bibliography. Enter it into your lab report.
- __ Form a hypothesis. That’s a good guess about what will happen. Meet with your mentor to see if it makes sense.
- __ Design an experiment to test your hypothesis. Check with your teacher to make sure you can do what you want to do. Think safety!
- __ Write your step-by-step procedures in your lab report. Remember to think about the details.
- __ Create your materials list. Do you have what you need? Gather your materials now so you’ll have everything you need before you begin.
- __ Now you can do your experiment. Have your teacher, mentor or parents with you if you can. Write down everything that happens. Record the time and what happened for every step. And remember “safety first”!
- __ Share your results with your teacher or mentor. Remember, even unexpected results make good science. If you kept good records and set up an experiment that makes sense and can be repeated, you can learn something from the results.
- __ After discussing your results, pull all your data together to form your conclusion. Was your hypothesis correct ? Why or why not? Write it down and complete your lab report.
- __ Create a plan for how you’re going to display your project. Do you need to build something? Did you take photos of the experiment that you can share?
- __ Design your display. Create a presentation to go with your display. Your experiment will inspire others to ask questions. Make sure you’re ready to answer them!
Still need more good science fair project resources and ideas? Our partners at Science Buddies have everything you need to get started. Check them out here...
Science Buddies offers free online resources for K-12 students and teachers doing science projects. Here are just a few of the resources featured on the site:
- Over 1,000 project ideas in all areas of science and engineering
- A Topic Selection Wizard to help students find interesting projects
- An overview of the scientific method
- A step-by-step guide to doing a science project
- An Ask an Expert Forum where students can get answers to science questions
- STEM career profiles
The Kids’ Science Challenge wishes you good luck at your science fair!!