NHS Science Fair Timeline/Due Dates by 40H4ez9


									         Independent Research Project Timeline

Goal                                                     DUE

GOAL A – Select a Topic                                  02/08/12

GOAL B – Research Report & Bibliography                  02/17/12

GOAL C – Complete Research Plan & Approval Form   02/29/12

GOAL D – Conduct Experiment & Analyze Data        03/28/12

GOAL E – Write Lab Report                                04/18/12

GOAL F – Project Presentation                     05/02/12
                                     GOAL A
                                Select a Topic

The first step in preparing a good independent research project (IRP) is to select a
topic. Choosing a topic is very important because is can make the difference
between a good and excellent project. It is also important because you will be
working with the topic over the course of the entire semester as you complete your
IRP. Therefore there are a few things you should keep in mind when choosing a
topic. First of all, you should pick a topic you are interested in. Secondly, it needs to
be at the appropriate level. You are expected to choose a topic that will challenge
you and make you think. Your topic should be original and creative. If you submit
a topic that is too elementary, it will not be approved.
       When selecting a topic, keep in mind that you must conduct an experiment
        following the scientific method. (You must develop a testable problem
        statement, collect data, and arrive at a conclusion based upon analysis of the
       Remember, if you select a topic that involves bacteria, viruses, mold or
        fungus, bodily tissues or fluids, hazardous or controlled substances,
        vertebrate organisms, and/or human subjects, you will probably need a
        qualified scientist to supervise your experiment. Many of these experiments
        must be completed in a laboratory setting, not your home. It will be your
        responsibility to meet all of these requirements!
       If your experiment will involve human test subjects, begin thinking about
        who will be willing/able to participate in your experiment. Make sure that
        you can obtain enough test subjects to make your results valid.

  Once you have chosen your topic, type or neatly handwrite a brief
                          description of it to turn in.

                          TOPIC DUE: 02/08/12

                                    GOAL B
    Collect Background Information & Create a
              Research Report & Bibliography

After selecting a topic, learn everything you can about it so you can decide what
type of experiment you want to do relating to the topic. As you gather information
on your topic make sure you keep written record of at least five of your sources of
information. Remember, it is not good enough just to find the sources but you also
MUST READ THEM to see if they contain information that is useful in designing you

Once you have collected adequate background information, write a summary of it.
This summary must be in your own words and written in paragraph form. It should
be like a mini research paper written for English class. It should be at least one
page in length when typed, double-spaced, 12-point font.

Next, create a bibliography. A bibliography is an alphabetical list of all sources you
used to gather information about your topic. Only sources that have information
about your topic should be placed in your bibliography. A search engine (i.e.
Google, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo) is NOT a valid source. Also, general science fair info
pages cannot be included in your bibliography. Encyclopedias (text or online) are
not acceptable sources of information for this project. Any web pages listed as
references must be legitimate, scientific sites from which you collected background
information about your project topic. You must include at least 5 appropriate
sources of information in your bibliography. Your bibliography must be typed,
contain no typographical errors, and be written according to MLA format. Click
here to see examples of MLA format citations or go to the webpage
www2.liu.edu/cwis/cwp/library/workshop/citmla.htm. You can also use
easybib.com or citationmachine.net to help you with the bibliography. When
you finish your bibliography, save it to your computer because you will need the
information again later!

                                         GOAL C
               Complete Research Plan & Approval Form

Once you consider yourself an “expert” about your topic, develop a plan for conducting
your experiment. The plan you develop should follow the scientific method as you have
learned it in science class. Your plan should include the following:
   a. Independent Variable (IV):

       Levels of the IV*
       Number of Trials

       *including the control group, if one is needed

   b. Dependent Variable (DV):

   c. Control Variables:

   d. Problem: What is the effect of _____________________ on _____________________?
                                           (independent variable)       (dependent variable)

   e. Hypothesis: If the _______________________       _______________________________
                              (independent variable)     (describe how it will be changed)
        then the ______________________________ will ________________________________.
                       (dependent variable)                          (describe the effect)

   f.   Hypothesis Justification: Support your hypothesis with information collected
        through research. State why you selected the hypothesis that you did based upon
        your background research.

   g. Procedure: Begin with a list of all materials that will be used to set up and conduct
        the experiment. The procedures must be extremely detailed and explain how the
        experiment will be conducted. It can be a numbered list of steps, but must be
        written in complete sentences and clearly and completely explain all the necessary
        actions needed to complete the experiment from beginning to end.

   h. Data Analysis: Explain all calculations/manipulations that you will do to the raw
        data that you collect to draw conclusions and determine if your hypothesis is
        supported or refuted.

   i.   Additional Information: State whether your experiment will involve any of the
            o Human subjects
            o Vertebrate animals
            o Mold, bacteria, fungus, living tissue or bodily fluids
            o Hazardous chemicals, methods or devices
        If your experiment involves any of the above listed items, you must provide
        additional information on your research plan. See the Approval Form for

        Write the instructions of your experiment so that if someone else read them they
         could replicate your experiment. Focus on the action being done. Do not begin
         sentences with a pronoun. For example:

               Correct: Plant 3 red clover seeds ½-inch deep in the potting soil.

               Incorrect: I will plant 3 red clover seeds ½-inch deep in the potting soil.

                       OR You should plant 3 red clover seeds ½-inch deep in the potting
       Use plenty of detail! Include the amounts of chemicals (including water) that you
        will be using, exactly what you will be measuring, the species of any plants or
        bacteria you will be using, etc.

       Do not include information in your procedures that are irrelevant to conducting the
        experiment properly (collecting materials, writing down observations, making
        display board).

       All measurements should be metric (grams, kilograms, liters, milliliters).

The approval form can be completed neatly in blue or black pen. Your
research plan must be typed. When you finish your research plan, save
it to your computer because you will need the information again later.
The research plan that you submit will not be returned to you.

                                         GOAL D
            Conduct Experiment & Analyze Data

Once your forms have been approved, you may begin your experimentation. When
setting up your experiment, you want to ensure that your results will be scientifically
valid. As you conduct your experiment, always stay focused on the one problem
that you are trying to solve and make sure that the data you are collecting will
actually answer this question.

Additional Tips
   If necessary, repeat your procedures several times until you obtain consistent results.
   Feel free to change your procedure if there are problems or you can see a better way to
    do the experiment.
   Use metric measurements (grams (g), kilograms (kg), milliliters (ml), liters (L), meters (m),
    millimeters (mm), centimeters (cm), seconds (s) etc) whenever possible.

   Be extremely careful when making measurements to obtain as precise results as possible.

                           Keeping a Laboratory Notebook
You are required to submit an experimental notebook with your science fair project. Every
time you complete a step of your experiment or collect any data, you need to record a
dated entry in your notebook. These entries should be extremely detailed. Write down
everything you do and all observations that you make, even if they seem insignificant at the
time. Keep in mind the following tips and guidelines:

   It is best to use a notebook with permanently bound pages, rather than using a spiral
    notebook or three-ring binder. Pages can be removed and/or added to these too easily.

   Every entry in your notebook should be dated and in chronological order. Record
    information in your notebook from front to back without skipping any pages.
   All work should be recorded in the notebook as it is done. Do not write measurements
    or other data on scrap paper and recopy it. As one does lab work, initial written work is
    not neat, but it must be included in the notebook to validate the date it was done.

   Create charts when recording data in your notebook. It will make it easier to analyze
    your data later on.

   Record all observations you make, even if they do not seem important at the time. They
    may later prove to be a key part of your conclusion.

   Often, making sketches can help you remember your exact experimental setup.

   The notebook records the experimental process only, no other stages of the science fair
    project. Therefore, you should not mention anything about completing paperwork,
    collecting your supplies, creating your display board or writing the final report.

   The notebook should not include any handouts or background information that you
    have gathered. It should only include your written notes, observations and thoughts.

   You will use your notebook when writing your final procedures. It is fine if you discover
    a better way to conduct your experiment and change your procedures along the way.
    Just keep careful records in your notebook. If you try something one way and it is a
    failure, keep that information in your notebook. Simply add the new procedure

In addition to keeping a notebook, you MUST take pictures during various
stages of your experiment. Remember, it does not matter how much time and
effort you put into your experiment if you do not provide proof of it! Your
notebook and the pictures will also be needed when writing your final report
and creating your PowerPoint.

                                    Analyzing the Data
Once you are finished with the experiment, organize all of your notes and read over them.
Carefully analyze the data that you have collected in your notebook while completing this
experiment. Analysis of data includes, but is not limited to:
   Averaging values obtained in trials
   Creating a scatter plot graph to observe trends in data
   Determining if a difference in data is significant enough to conclude that the
    independent variable did have the effect you hypothesized it would.

After you have analyzed the data, ask yourself the following questions to begin drawing
   What does the data tell you?
   What is the answer to your problem?

   Do the results support (agree with) or refute (disagree with) your hypothesis?
   How do the results of this experiment fit into the background information you collected
    through research?

You may need to organize your data in different ways. A pattern that is contained
in your data may only be obvious when your data is organized in a particular way.
Determine which data is important for others to see and how you want to present
this data.

Your data analysis should be the last section of your notebook, after your experimental
notes and observations and raw data.

       LAB NOTEBOOK (including Data Analysis Section) &
                            PICTURES DUE: 03/28/12
                                         GOAL E
                            Write Laboratory Report

After you have carefully analyzed all of your data and observations during the
experiment, write a detailed report about your project. The report is your chance to
explain everything you did and what you have discovered. Your report should
include the following sections:

   Title Page: should include title of your project and your name.

   Abstract: An abstract is a single page summary of your experiment. It is like a
    mini lab report. The abstract must include the purpose of the experiment,
    procedures used, data and conclusions. Even though the abstract is placed
    right after the title page, most people find it easier to write their abstract last.
    They can then go through their lab report and pick the most important
    information from each section to include in the abstract. Your abstract must
    contain as much information as possible in as few words as possible. When
    writing your abstract, be concise. Every sentence you write should include a
    critical piece of information about your project. Your abstract cannot exceed
    100 words.

   Introduction: (At least 1 page) The background information you collected that
    relates to your experiment. At the end of this section, describe the purpose of
    your experiment.

   Statement of Problem: Next, state the scientific question you are trying to
    answer through experimentation. The best format for most problems is “What is
    the effect of (your independent variable) on (your dependent variable)?” Look at
    the problem you submitted to me for my comments.

   Hypothesis: This section will include your educated guess as to the possible
    results of the experiment and an explanation of why you chose your hypothesis
    based on your research described in the Introduction. Remember, do not begin
    a hypothesis with the words “I think” or “I believe” (or “I” and any other word). It
    is assumed it is your hypothesis, and is therefore, what you think.

   Materials List: A complete, detailed and specific list of the items you used in
    your experiment. This list should include any items you used to do your
    experiment and take your measurements.
    o Incorrect: a container
    o Correct: 24 x 28 x 12 cm plastic container

   Procedure: A detailed outline of what you did to complete your experiment.
    You must walk the reader through your procedure, step-by-step. After reading
    your procedure, a person should be able to replicate your experiment exactly as
    you did it. It is a good idea to have someone else read your procedure to see if
    they would be able to replicate your experiment. If they are confused about
     certain steps, clarify them before submitting your paper. The procedure must be
     written in paragraph form!

    Data and Observations: Include any and all information you gathered while
     performing your experiment. This includes quantitative (numerical) and
     qualitative (observations made with your senses) data. You are not analyzing
     your data in this section. You are simply stating what you measured and
     observed! Your graphs and charts should be included in this section.

You should not depend on only written paragraphs to present your data. When
organizing your data into a graph, make sure you use the correct type of graph:

Line Graphs

                  A line graphs should be used to show a continuous change,
                  such as a change in one variable over time. They can also be
                  used to show the response of your independent variable to
               your dependent variable. A line graph is used to present
               quantitative   data.

Bar Graphs

                    Bar graphs help to make comparisons among different treatment
                    groups or items. A bar graph should be used instead of a line
                    graph if the information being compared is not continuous. Bar
                    graphs can be used to present quantitative or qualitative data.

Remember to include the following on any graphs:
    1. Put your independent variable on the x axis and dependent variable on the y
    2. Label x and y axis (including units of measurement when necessary)
    3. Give graph a descriptive title
    4. Include a key or legend if necessary. (Only needed on bar graphs or line
       graphs with more than one line.)

    Conclusion: (At least 2 pages) Now is where you explain what you discovered
     and what you have concluded based on these discoveries. Begin by summarizing
     your results. Then answer your problem statement based on the data that you
     collected. Next, state whether the data supports or refutes your hypothesis.
     Finally, spend some time discussing your results. Why do you think you
     observed the results that you did? If your results are different than what you
     expected (your hypothesis), why might this be? What are some errors (human,
     instrumental or systematic) that could have affected your results? (A list of errors
     is not enough. A discussion of the impacts of the errors must also be included.)
     What would you do differently if you conducted this same experiment again to
     improve accuracy or learn more? What questions still need to be answered
     and/or what additional experiments could be done to further explain the results?
     The conclusion is not a sentence or short paragraph. It is an extremely important
     part of the lab report, so devote adequate time and effort to it.

    Bibliography: Your list of at least 5 sources in MLA format as was previously
     covered in class. Make any necessary corrections before including in your report.

Additional Tips:
    Each section must be written in past tense third person.
    The report must be typed except for graphs and charts. These may be done
     using computer software or neatly by hand. The typed information must be size
     12 point, fonts Times New Roman, Arial, or Spranq Eco Sans, and double-spaced.
    If you construct your graphs using computer software such as Excel, make sure
     they are accurate. Accuracy is much more important than pretty colors and
     special effects like shadowing!
    A laboratory report is a formal document, so you will be graded on proper
     grammar and spelling in addition to the content. Proofread!
   Contractions (don’t, can’t, etc) and clichés are not allowed in formal writing.
   A quality lab report requires time and effort to write correctly. Leave yourself
    plenty of time and take it one section at a time.

                         Science Fair Lab Report Checklist
                                                                      Points      Points
                                                                      Possible   Received
1. Title Page (includes name and title of project)                       3        _______
2. Abstract (includes summary of introduction, methods, results and
                                                                        15        _______
    conclusion under 100 words)
3. Introduction                                                         10        _______
4. Problem                                                               3        _______
5. Hypothesis
       a. Educated Guess                                                 2        _______
       b. Reasoning                                                      5        _______
6. Materials List                                                        3        _______
7. Procedure                                                            10        _______
8. Data and Observations                                                15        _______
9. Conclusion                                                           20        _______
10. Bibliography                                                         4        _______
11. Correct grammar/spelling and word-processed                         10        _______
                                                              TOTAL     100       _______

                    LABORATORY REPORT DUE: 04/18/12

                                         GOAL F
                            Project Presentation

It is now time to prepare a PowerPoint presentation that displays your work. The
PowerPoint must include the following (one or more slides may be used for each
        Title

        Summary of Background Information

        Problem

        Hypothesis

        Procedure

        Data/Results

        Conclusions

        Pictures

Use the information you included in each section of your lab report to determine
what to include in each of these sections. You will need to summarize some
sections. You should also include pictures and diagrams to enhance your procedure
and/or results.

Important Information
   PowerPoint presentations must be submitted in electronic format (emailed to
    rkenyon@ga.k12.md.us, placed in my dropbox, or saved on a flash drive or CD).
   Make sure the presentation is correct, complete, neat and attractive. Once again,
    proofread! Spelling and grammar errors look very poor on presentations.
   Present the sections in a logical order. For example, your problem statement,
    hypothesis, and procedures should come before your data and conclusion.
   Pick a font that is easy to read.
   Include all the necessary information, but do not clutter. Keep it professional
           Independent Project PowerPoint Presentation Checklist

Component                      Points Possible   Points Received
Title                                3                     _______
Summary of Background Information    5                     _______

Problem                        3                 _______
Hypothesis                           3                     _______

Procedure                            5                     _______
Data/Results                         10                    _______
Conclusions                          10                    _______
Pictures                             3                     _______
Grammar                              4                     _______
Appearance/Organization              4                     _______

TOTAL                                50                    _______

                      POWERPOINT DUE: 05/02/12

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