Science Fair

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					Middle School
Science Fair
  Grades 6 to 8

 Zion Lutheran School

  January 19, 2012
       Why do we have a
Humans usuallyScience Fair?
              learn better when we’re researching,
   creating, discovering, and explaining.
We want you to learn about your chosen subject, about
  the Scientific Method, how to write a long report, how
  to do a works cited page, and how to complete a big
This prepares you for even bigger projects in high school
   and college.
God encourages us to explore his Creation, because
   “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies
   proclaim the work of his hands.”—Psalm 19:1
      Why we’re here today:
1.   To prepare you for the Science Fair
2.   To give you some idea of what to expect
3.   To give you some idea of what to do and
     what not to do
4.   To give you some idea of the requirements
5.   Not to answer every question about every
     possible scenario, but to get you thinking.
      Main Points of This
       Powerpoint: (ha!)
1. What will you be doing? Some specifics
  about your Written Report, Oral
  Presentation, and Display Board
2. What is the Scientific Method?—You’ll
  be using the Scientific Method while
  conducting your experiment.
3. Information about Works Cited, Citing
  Sources & Plagiarism
                 Section One:
1. What will you be doing?
     Some specifics about your
     Written Report, Oral
     Presentation, and Display
2.   What is the Scientific Method?—You’ll be using the
     Scientific Method while conducting your experiment.

3.   Information about Works Cited, Citing Sources &
               from Last Year:
Changeseven more time than last
1. You’ll have
2. Judges will evaluate your project, and
   Winners go to the WSSEF Regional
   Science Fair.
3. Most of our paperwork has been
   rewritten to make it more consistent and
   easier to understand.
4. There are two new assignments—these
   are to help you stay on schedule.
What experiments can you do?
1.   Must be an experiment—you have to find a problem,
     conduct a hypothesis, design and conduct an
     experiment, collect data, analyze, research, and

2.   Common topics at our school: sports, electricity,
     weather, plants, colors, optical illusions, et cetera.

3.   Choose something you are truly interested in, so that
     you will enjoy spending lots of time working on it.

4.   Topic has to be approved by your science teacher by
     November 9th (via your Science Project Proposal Form).
Sample Experimentation Topics

Does heating a cup of water allow it to dissolve more sugar?

How much potential energy can a bow hold?

Does an electric motor turn faster, if you increase the

How does the type of liquid a plant receives affect its

Which causes a bigger explosion when Mentos are added:
Coke or Diet Coke?
Deadlines before Final Project
1.   Ten Science Ideas I’m Curious About,
     Due 10/26 (today!).
2.   Science Project Proposal Form 11/9.
3.   Display Plan Sheet, Three Works Cited
     Citations & Very Rough First Draft 12/12.
4.   Final Rough Draft 1/5
5.   (Science & Academic Fair is 1/19-1/20 2012)
 Final Project has three

1. A Written Report
2. An Oral Presentation
3. A Display Board
            Written Report
1000 words for 7th & 8th Grade
700 words for 6th Grade
Includes a Title Page & Table of Contents
Normal margins, 12 point font, plain normal font
Includes a Works Cited Page
4 sources minimum
2 direct citations in the body of your paper
                     Written Report

Begin with a title page that includes: the title of the experiment or
investigation, name, grade & date.

In the body of the paper, give your hypothesis, explain your
experiment, provide the procedures followed and include experimental

Include any data, tables or graphs that help the reader understand
your scientific findings, conclusions and analysis.

State what you learned from your research and what you’d like to
learn or investigate in the future.

Conclude your paper with a works cited page. You must have a
minimum of four references. Remember to cite two of your sources
directly in the body of your paper.
               Written Report
Basically, tell:

1. About your experiment—how you chose it, what you
wanted to find out, what you thought would happen, what
went well, what you should have done differently

2. What you learned from your experiment, and from the
research you did.

It will be one of the longest assignments you’ve done for
school, but if you focus on these two aspects, it shouldn’t be
too difficult to get to your minimum word limits.
          Oral Presentation
Introduce yourself and the main topic.

Offer a few questions about your project to your audience as a
start. Make sure you will answer these questions in your talk.

You’ll be graded on professionalism—make eye contact with
your audience, stand up straight, speak loudly and clearly,
pronounce words properly, don’t use “like”, “uh”, or use long

You may use a visual aid if you’d like, but it may not be your
display board.
         Oral Presentation

Do not read your report. You are an expert on your topic.
Share what you have learned. Basically, just tell what you did,
and what you learned. Guide us through your Scientific

Elaborate on why your experiment turned out the way it did.

Your presentation should be between four and five minutes.

Audience members should be respectful, attentive and show
appreciation through polite applause.
Display Board
   Display Board--Components
Your display board should have the following pieces:
Several types of visuals—photos, drawings, graphs,
A physical aid of some sort that sits in front of your
A copy of your report in a pouch
An additional extra copy of your title page
Not your name, school, grade, or age anywhere else
     Display Board—Scientific
Your board should clearly show how you completed an
experiment by using the Scientific Method.
Label the steps of the Scientific Method, and then
show what you did for that step.
Be clear—don’t muddle your display board with parts
not related to your project. Stick to the Scientific
       Display Board--Advice

Buy a 48” x 36” board at your favorite office supply
store for about $7.
Everything should be neat, clear, large, and bold, and
most things need to be typed.
Include captions and credits for each visual aid.
Spend some time making your display board creative,
interesting, attractive, exciting.
Make sure everything on your board is directly related
to your project.
                Section Two:
1.   What will you be doing? Some specifics about your
     Report, Presentation, and Display.

2. What is the Scientific
     Method?—You’ll be using the
     Scientific Method while
     conducting your experiment.
3.   Information about Works Cited, Citing Sources &
       Scientific Method
• 1. Define the Problem
• 2. Construct a Hypothesis
• 3 Design an Experiment / Write a Procedure
  • 3a. Define Dependent Variables
  • 3b. Define Independent Variable
  • 3c. Define Scientific Control
• 4. Conduct Experiment / Record Data
• 5. Analysis, Conclusion & Research
• 6. Presentation
1. Define the Problem

The Scientific Problem:
The information you're looking for or the question
that you're trying to solve.
Scientific Inquiry:
Nearly every science project and nearly all
scientific research are trying to answer a question
of some sort.
 2. Construct a Hypothesis

An educated guess made by the scientist or
researcher before starting their project or inquiry.
A hypothesis provides a clear focus at the
beginning of any scientific project and narrows
the scope of the scientific research needed.
With a hypothesis, the researcher ensures that all
variables and possibilities have been
considered—it helps you understand your goal.
 Design an Experiment
    Write out Steps & Procedures

Scientific inquiry involves precision in measurement,
procedure and execution of experiments.

Good experiments have a single independent variable,
observable dependent variables and good scientific controls.

Procedures for scientific investigations must be written out in
a sequential and clear manner.

Experimental steps must be easily understood, so that others
can replicate the project and verify the results.
  3. Design an Experiment
              (Dependent Variables)

These are all the aspects of an experiment that are not
changed by the researcher, each time the experiment is

These are all the things you do to make your experiment
fair, consistent and able to be replicated.

Same container, same levels, same weather, same
temperature are good examples of dependent variables.

Example: Diet Coke & Mentos experiment—what are the
DV? You can’t drop the bottle of Diet Coke, unless you
drop the Coke, too.
   3. Design an Experiment
            (Independent Variable)

An independent variable is the one thing that is
changed by the scientist or is different in your
various experiments.
The independent variable is the one that you are
You should have exactly one independent
Otherwise, you can’t tell what is being tested
  3. Design an Experiment
          (Independent Variable)

For example, if you’re doing the Diet Coke and
Mentos experiment,
you can’t compare Diet Coke and white Mentos
to Regular Coke and orange mentos—
You should compare Diet Coke and white Mentos
to Regular Coke and white Mentos—the IV is the
(or Diet Coke and white Mentos to Diet Coke and
orange Mentos)—the IV is the Mentos color
    3. Design an Experiment
              Scientific Control

A scientific control represents an "outside"
Use of a control tells us what would happen, if
there were NO experimentation.
Using a control gives a way to compare
experimental results.
A scientific control shows the precision of the
experimental results.
 4. Conduct the Experiment
             Follow the Procedure

Read the procedure and take the time to
carefully understand each step listed from
beginning of the experiment to its end.
Exactly follow the experiment’s step-by-step
You can’t change the experiment in the middle.
Thoroughly plan your experiment, using the scientific

Think about all the little details, supplies and possible
obstacles BEFORE conducting the experiment.

Think about WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and

Completely write your experiment down before you

Make it reproducible--if someone recreates your
experiment, can they exactly reproduce your results?
4. Conduct Experiment:
     Collect Data
Data are often numbers, such as measurements,
quantities and capacity.
Collected data can be observations documented
using: adjectives, words, drawings or other
recording methods.
An experiment’s data are the measurements
taken during the experiment.
    4. Conduct Experiment:
    Record and Graph Data
    Data are clearly written and can be easily

•   Numeric data are usually displayed in the
    form of tables or graphs.

•   Records of the experiment represent the
    measurements & observations made or taken
    during the experiment.
4. Conduct Experiment:
  Modify Experiment if
 necessary & possible
Change the experiment’s procedure to reflect any
modifications made to the original experiment.
Exactly follow the modified experiment’s step-by-
step processes and procedures.
Collect new data and note any changes.
Record and graph your results.
   5.   Analysis, Conclusion, Research

Describe what is represented in your data tables
and graphs.
Explain the results of your experiment:
"The one with salt froze 3 minutes faster"
"The celery stalk turned purple after 90 seconds"
"People who ate fruit had a lower rate of cancer"
 5.   Analysis,   Conclusion, Research

Conclusions are a scientific judgment of
experimental results.
The hypothesis was wrong:
"Salt makes water freeze faster".
The hypothesis was right:
"Celery can turn purple by placing food coloring
in its holding water"
A surprising finding was,
"Eating fruit helps to fight cancer"
 5.                       , Research
       Analysis, Conclusion

After the experiment is finished, do research.
Discover WHY your experiment turned out the
way it did.
Tell how your results would have been different,
if you had modified your experiment.
Find out if other people have tried your
experiment. What were their results?
             6. Presentation

We already went through our expectations for your
               Section Three:
1.   What will you be doing? Some specifics about your
     Report, Presentation, and Display.

2.   What is the Scientific Method?—You’ll be using the
     Scientific Method while conducting your experiment.

3. Information about Works
     Cited, Citing Sources &
    Brief Guide to Works Cited

•   List every source from which you took information, or
    which contributed to your understanding of your
•   You need at least four, but it would not be
    uncommon to have eight to ten sources. In your
    report, at least one non-website source is required.
•   In your report, at least one non-website source is
                  Brief Guide to Citing
•       Example Citation of a Website:

•       The Purdue OWL Family of Sites. The Writing Lab and OWL at
        Purdue and Purdue U, 2011. Web. 13 Jul 2011.

•       So, basically, for websites, you need five pieces of information:

    •     The name of the person who is the editor or author

    •     The name of the website

    •     The date the page was published or last updated

    •     The "Medium of Publication", which is always "Web"

    •     The date you last visited the site

            Brief Guide to Citing
                     Wikipedia The Free
    Example: "Citing Wikipedia." Wikipedia,
    Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 4 July
    2011. Web. 13 July 2011.
• “As with any source, especially one of unknown
    authorship, you should be wary and independently
    verify the accuracy of Wikipedia information if
• You are allowed to use Wikipedia as a source of
    information for your report, but it should make up no
    more than 1/4 of your research works.
               Brief Index of How to
                Cite non-Websites
•   There are proper citation methods for every type of source imaginable,
    not just websites. Here, for example, is how to cite a book:

•   Format: Author's Last Name, First Name Middle Name. Title of Book.
    City of Publication: Publisher's Name, Year of Publication.

•   Example:

•   Ride, Sally. Exploring Our Solar System. New York: Crown, 2003.

•   You can find out how to cite anything else at Purdue University’s OWL—
    Online Writing Lab at,
    or by using any source that gives the MLA method for citations.
     Brief Guide to Citations in the
          Body of your Report
•   You are required to include two citations in the body of your report.
    Each citation may be either a direct quote using quotation marks, or
    an acknowledgement of your source for a particular piece of
    information. Your citations will probably belong in your "Research and
    Conclusions" section, or possibly in your "Problem" or "Procedure"
    section, depending on their nature.

•   Immediately following your direct quote or acknowledgement, you'll
    then name the source and page of your source within a set of
    parentheses. The parentheses will refer the reader to your works
    cited page. Then, your reader can check your source by finding the
    whole citation from your works cited.
     Brief Guide to Citations in the
          Body of your Report
•   For example, you might put this quote in the body of your report:

•   “The origin of the marshmallow is an interesting subject. The
    marshmallow came from the root of the marshmallow plant, called
    althaea officinalis”. (Britannica 104).

•   Or this acknowledgement:

•   The marshmallow consists of sweet white corn syrup with flavor added
    (Wikipedia Marshmallows).

•   Then, make sure that in your Works Cited, you have the full citation for
    the Encyclopedia Britannica, or the Wikipedia page about
           Sample Works Cited

•   Arnett, Bill. “Jupiter.” The Nine Planets. 2 Sept. 2004. Web. 16 Nov. 2004.

•   Chartrand, Mark R. Skyguide: A field guide to the heavens, New York: Golden
        Press, 1990.

•   Compact Bible Handbook, Nelson, Thomas, Nelson Reference & Electronic,
       Nashville, TN, 2004.

•   Cornish, Jim. “The Space Shuttle: Online Activities for Elementary Students.”
        Classroom Connect Oct. 2002; 8-9.

•   "Plagiarism." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 22
    July 2004. Web. 10 Aug. 2004.
     Brief Summary of the Nature
             of Plagiarism
•   Plagiarism is using someone else's ideas and presenting them as your
    own. The use of plagiarism will result in an automatic failure of your
    Science Fair Project.

•   Basically, you're not allowed to copy and paste anything from any

•   You're not allowed to use any language from any source without
    crediting the source.

•   You're not allowed to use the same order, sentence structure, or
    format as any source (for example, using "copy and paste" and then
    just changing all the key words).

•   You're also not allowed to misquote or mischaracterize a source.
     Brief Summary of How Not to
•   Read lots of information from lots of different sources, and then close
    the sources. Think about all of the information, and then write it out in
    a new, original way. (You still must cite those sources). This is the
    model for a well-researched and properly cited report.

•   Do research, by checking many different sources--relying on one
    source is an easy way to plagiarize.

•   Cite sources by telling exactly who or what the sources are.

•   Do not copy any phrase of five words or more and/or a complete
    sentence from any unless you put them in quotation marks, and cite
    the source specifically. The "five word rule" is a way to force you to
    think about the information from the source instead of copying it.
     Brief Summary of How Not to
•   If you're not sure how to write a sentence without plagiarizing, it's okay
    to just quote the source and properly cite it. Don't do this in every
    sentence, but it acceptable to use lots of citations.

•   It's better to be safe than sorry--cite any source you use.

•   Use your original ideas. Your report is an opportunity to express
    yourself. If you think you know what why you're results turned out the
    way they did, write it down. You should try to find research to back up
    your ideas, but it's okay to come up with your own thoughts.

        Closing Thoughts:

1. Is it okay if your experiment doesn’t come out well?
Yes! But, you have to tell what happened.
2. Is it okay if your hypothesis is completely wrong?
Yes! You learn something whether your guess was right
or wrong.
         Closing Thoughts:
Your teachers want you to succeed. We want you to learn and
master all of the things we’re covering this year. We’re here to
help, so ask if you need anything.

This is an opportunity for you to flourish—to go all out and do
something spectacular. We want to send a group of fantastic
projects to Bremerton, and impress the judges with our
wonderful accomplishments.

Instead of aiming for the minimum requirements, aim higher
and shock everyone with your amazing ideas.
    Thanks for Watching!


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