Highland Mill Montessori
Science Fair Handbook
Dear Highland Mill Montessori Family,
We are hosting our second official science fair this school year for our
Upper Elementary students. We hope that the guidelines that you find in this
handbook will help you guiding your child through the necessary steps in
completing submission of a successful science fair project and all of its component
This year all of our fourth, fifth and sixth grade students are expected to
participate in the science fair. The project will be a large portion of their second
quarter grade. There are benchmarks listed in this handbook to help guide the
student in being successful.
Science fair projects will be finished and presented in the science lab, library
and other areas of the school on January 18-20, 2012. The school presentations
and judging will be during these days. The projects will be scored by the
classroom teacher at the same time using a scoring rubric for a grade. The scoring
of the school wide science fair will be by staff members of Highland Mill
Montessori School, community partners and other educators. The honorees of
the school wide fair will go on to the Regional Science Fair hosted by UNCC in
Please read the entire booklet for information, dates and rubrics. If you
have any questions concerning the science fair please be in touch with your child’s
classroom teacher or Mr. Russell Long <firstname.lastname@example.org >
There are many resources on websites which can help you with
brainstorming a topic. One that site often used is
Each step of the project must be turned into your teacher on the specified date.
The teacher will provide feedback to help clarify and improve the project.
Meeting these benchmarks will count towards the overall grade given to the
Date Benchmark Complete
Present your Topic Choice to your
Turn in your Research Report and
11/30/11 share your Testable Question with
Complete your Project Proposal and
12/8/11 turn in your Research Plan Approval
12/15/11 First Check of Log Book
Complete your Project Progress
Report and share it with your teacher
1/17/12 Final Check of Log Book
1/18/12 SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT DUE
The Highland Mill Montessori Science Fair January 18-20, 2012
Steps to Success
Step 1: Start a Logbook
The first step in doing your project is doing what real scientist do. They write everything
down. The logbook can be a composition book, a spiral notebook, or a notebook. A
completed logbook is necessary for obtaining the highest points. Please date all your
entries. You can put down that you read this handbook and the different topics you are
thinking about doing. Do not erase or tear anything out of your logbook.
Your logbook should include the following items:
How you brainstormed to find your topic and question
Rough drafts of your writing
Put in a list of all your resources
Observations and data from your experiment
Rough drafts of charts and graphs
How you want to display your project
Your logbook is due on January 18th as part of your project.
Step 2 Pick a General Choice to Study
Please try to stay within the topic areas for your grade level.
Due on 11/ 14/2011
Observe and describe how all living and nonliving things affect the life of a particular animal including:
Observe and record how animals of the same kind differ in some of their characteristics and discuss possible
advantages and disadvantages of this variation.
Observe and discuss how behaviors and body structures help animals survive in a particular habitat.
Explain and discuss how humans and other animals can adapt their behavior to live in changing habitats.
Recognize that humans can understand themselves better by learning about other animals.
Describe and evaluate the properties of several minerals.
Recognize that minerals have a definite chemical composition and structure, resulting in specific physical properties
Explain how rocks are composed of minerals.
Show that different rocks have different properties.
Discuss and communicate the uses of rocks and minerals.
Classify rocks and rock-forming minerals using student-made rules.
Identify and discuss different rocks and minerals in North Carolina including their role in geologic formations and
distinguishing geologic regions.
Observe and investigate the pull of magnets on all materials made of iron and the pushes or pulls on other magnets.
Describe and demonstrate how magnetism can be used to generate electricity.
Design and test an electric circuit as a closed pathway including an energy source, energy conductor, and an energy
Explain how magnetism is related to electricity.
Describe and explain the parts of a light bulb.
Describe and identify materials that are conductors and nonconductors of electricity.
Observe and investigate that parallel and series circuits have different characteristics.
Observe and investigate the ability of electric circuits to produce light, heat, sound, and magnetic effects.
Recognize lightning as an electrical discharge and show proper safety behavior when lightning occurs.
Explain why organisms require energy to live and grow.
Show how calories can be used to compare the chemical energy of different foods.
Discuss how foods provide both energy and nutrients for living organisms.
Identify starches and sugars as carbohydrates.
Determine that foods are made up of a variety of components:
Describe and compare several common ecosystems (communities of organisms and their interaction with the
Identify and analyze the functions of organisms within the population of the ecosystem:
Explain why an ecosystem can support a variety of organisms.
Discuss and determine the role of light, temperature, and soil composition in an ecosystem's capacity to support life.
Determine the interaction of organisms within an ecosystem.
Explain and evaluate some ways that humans affect ecosystems.
Habitat reduction due to development.
Determine how materials are recycled in nature.
Identify and analyze forces that cause change in landforms over time including.
Water and Ice.
Investigate and discuss the role of the water cycle and how movement of water over and through the landscape helps
shape land forms.
Discuss and consider the wearing away and movement of rock and soil in erosion and its importance in forming:
Describe the deposition of eroded material and its importance in establishing landforms including:
Discuss how the flow of water and the slope of the land affect erosion.
Identify and use models, maps, and aerial photographs as ways of representing landforms.
Discuss and analyze how humans influence erosion and deposition in local communities, including school grounds,
as a result of:
Investigate the water cycle including the processes of:
Discuss and determine how the following are affected by predictable patterns of weather:
Wind direction and speed.
Describe and analyze the formation of various types of clouds and discuss their relation to weather systems.
Explain how global atmospheric movement patterns affect local weather.
Compile and use weather data to establish a climate record and reveal any trends.
Discuss and determine the influence of geography on weather and climate:
Determine the motion of an object by following and measuring its position over time.
Evaluate how pushing or pulling forces can change the position and motion of an object.
Explain how energy is needed to make machines move.
Determine that an unbalanced force is needed to move an object or change its direction.
Determine factors that affect motion including:
Build and use a model to solve a mechanical design problem.
Devise a test for the model.
Evaluate the results of test.
Determine how people use simple machines to solve problems.
Identify and create questions and hypotheses that can be answered through scientific investigations.
Develop appropriate experimental procedures for:
Student generated questions.
Apply safety procedures in the laboratory and in field studies:
Recognize potential hazards.
Manipulate materials and equipment.
Conduct appropriate procedures.
Analyze variables in scientific investigations:
Identify dependent and independent.
Use of a control.
Describe relationships between.
Analyze evidence to:
Make inferences and predictions.
Develop the relationship between evidence and explanation.
Use mathematics to gather, organize, and present quantitative data resulting from scientific investigations:
Analysis of data.
Prepare models and/or computer simulations to:
Evaluate how data fit.
Use oral and written language to:
Defend conclusions of scientific investigations.
Use technologies and information systems to:
Gather and analyze data.
Disseminate findings to others.
Analyze and evaluate information from a scientifically literate viewpoint by reading, hearing, and/or viewing:
Events in the popular press.
Explore evidence that "technology" has many definitions.
Artifact or hardware.
Methodology or technique.
System of production.
Use information systems to:
Identify scientific needs, human needs, or problems that are subject to technological solution.
Locate resources to obtain and test ideas.
Evaluate technological designs for:
Application of scientific principles.
Risks and benefits.
Constraints of design.
Consistent testing protocols.
Apply tenets of technological design to make informed consumer decisions about:
Evaluate the forces that shape the lithosphere including:
Crustal plate movement.
Folding and faulting.
Examine earthquake and volcano patterns.
Explain the model for the interior of the earth.
Describe the processes which form and the uses of earth materials.
Characteristics of rocks.
Economic use of rocks and minerals.
Value of gems and precious metals.
Common gems, minerals, precious metals and rocks found in N.C.
Analyze soil properties that can be observed and measured to predict soil quality including:
Evaluate ways in which human activities have affected Earth's pedosphere and the measures taken to control the
Soil as a vector.
Assess the use of technology and information systems in monitoring lithospheric phenomenon.
Conclude that the good health of environments and organisms requires:
Monitoring of the pedosphere.
Taking steps to maintain soil quality.
Describe the flow of energy and matter in natural systems:
Energy flows through ecosystems in one direction, from the sun through producers to consumers to
Matter is transferred from one organism to another and between organisms and their environments.
Water, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen are substances cycled between the living and non-living
Evaluate the significant role of decomposers.
Examine evidence that green plants make food.
Photosynthesis is a process carried on by green plants and other organisms containing chlorophyll.
During photosynthesis, light energy is converted into stored energy which the plant, in turn, uses to carry
out its life processes.
Evaluate the significance of photosynthesis to other organisms:
The major source of atmospheric oxygen is photosynthesis.
Carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and oxygen is released during photosynthesis.
Green plants are the producers of food that is used directly or indirectly by consumers.
Evaluate designed systems for ability to enable growth of certain plants and animals.
Determine how convection and radiation transfer energy.
Analyze heat flow through materials or across space from warm objects to cooler objects until both objects are at
Analyze sound as an example that vibrating materials generate waves that transfer energy.
How sound travels through different material.
Form and function of the human ear.
Evaluate data for qualitative and quantitative relationships associated with energy transfer and/or transformation.
Analyze the physical interactions of light and matter:
Form and function of the human eye.
Analyze response to heat to determine the suitability of materials for use in technological design:
Analyze the Law of Conservation of Energy:
Conclude that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but only changed from one form into another.
Conclude that the amount of energy stays the same, although within the process some energy is always
converted to heat.
Some systems transform energy with less loss of heat than others.
Describe ways in which organisms interact with each other and with non-living parts of the environment:
Investigate factors that determine the growth and survival of organisms including:
Explain how changes in habitat may affect organisms.
Evaluate data related to human population growth, along with problems and solutions:
Examine evidence that overpopulation by any species impacts the environment.
Investigate processes which, operating over long periods of time, have resulted in the diversity of plant and animal
life present today:
Step 3 One-Page Research Report and Testable Question
In this step you are going to share with your teacher what you have learned about your
topic. You don’t need to include everything you have learned, but you need to highlight
the important things about your topic. Use complete sentences, good grammar and
correct spelling. The rough draft of this report will be in your logbook. Your final draft
should be typed or very neatly written on loose paper (please do not write the edited
copy of your report in your logbook!)
The testable question is the one question you would like to have answered. Your
question needs to be something you are interested in and will enjoy researching.
The testable question is written first in your logbook. In fact, it would be to your
advantage to have several rough copied testable questions listed in your logbook.
Pick the one question you want to do and write it in edited form on a separate piece of
This is due on 11/30/2011
Step 4 Fill out the Project Proposal Approval form
This form is in the back of this handbook and it should be turned in by
You will have to follow additional guidelines if your project involves live animals
Step 5 Design and Do Your Investigation
Tell your teacher how you are going to find the answer to your question. What
investigation will you do to find your answer?
You need to clearly write the procedures you are using into your logbook.
Anyone should be able to read your procedures and repeat what you did. You
need to include specific amounts, times and types of materials.
Prove your answer THREE OR MORE TIMES! The project doesn’t have to work
the way you predicted, but it must work three times or not work three times.
Record all your data in your logbook!
Take pictures or draw pictures for your notes and display.
Using charts and graph makes understanding your data easier.
Please do all measurements using the metric system (centimeters, meters,
Step 6 Draw your Conclusions
Your conclusion sums up your findings. Write a rough draft in your logbook of
what your discovered.
Step 7 Write your report
Follow this format:
Title Page: include the title of your project, your name, grade level,
Research Report: What is your research?
Testable Question: State the question you are trying to answer.
Purpose: Why is this question important to you?
Hypothesis: What was your prediction of the outcome of your
Materials: List all the materials you used
Procedure: Give the step-by-step directions of what you did.
Observation: What did you see, hear, and/or measure? Just give
the facts and not your opinion.
Results/Data: Here is the place for those charts or graphs.
Conclusions: What were the results of your works?
Future Studies: What would be the next possible investigation you
do with this data?
References: Give all the references you used to help you do your
Acknowledgements: Here you thank all those that helped you.
Step 8 Have your log book checked by your teacher on December 15, 2011 and
January 17, 2012.
Step 9 Design Your Display Board:
Your display board is the first thing people will notice. You cannot tell everything on your
board. Your display needs to highlight the questions, the process and the results.
The display should be a free-standing project board. Use coloring and lettering that
makes your information easy to read and stand out! It needs to be neat and organized.
Your logbook, report and any materials you want exhibit will be displayed in the front of
Step 10: Practice Your Presentation and Interview
Practice explaining your project and answering questions in a brief period of time.
You will need to be able to explain what you did and why your question is
important to you.
How you came to your question and what was your hypothesis?
What you discovered doing your research?
This science fair project will be a collaboration between home and school. Mr. Byers
and Ms. Suzanne will be guiding the research and report writing at school. Students will
be doing their project and display board at home. It is ultimately the student’s
responsibility to choose his/her project, complete the logbook, reports, research project
and display board. Research and report writing can be done with support at school. The
research project and the display board will need to be conducted at home
Project Proposal Approval
Describe the scope of your research. What are you going to do and how are you going
about your research? You need to list the materials you are going to use in your project.
Student Signature:____________________________________ Date:_______________
Parent Signature: ____________________________________ Date: _______________
Teacher Signature: ___________________________________ Date: ______________
This form is due on or before December 8, 2011.
Date Benchmark Complete Points Points
(Teacher’s Possible Earned
Present your Topic Choice to your
Turn in your Research Report and
share your Testable Question with
Complete your Project Proposal and
turn in your Research Plan Approval
Have your logbook checked twice 10
during the project.
Complete your Project Progress
Report and share it with your teacher
SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT 50
See the Rubric for scoring
ON TIME 10
Name:________________________________________ Grade 4___ 5___ 6___ Teacher K ___ S ___ R ___
Rubric for Highland Mill Montessori Science Fair
Attempted Proficient Advanced
1 3 5
Problem The problem is stated in The problem is stated as a The problem is stated as a
question that is vague. The question. However, there is question. There is evidence
Factor problem is stated in manner limited learning opportunity in that it comes from the
that reveals the student’s the manner that the question personal interests or
prior knowledge. There is no is stated. experiences. There is genuine
question stated. learning opportunity.
Preliminary No source cited, or one Cites two or more sources Cites two or more sources.
source is cited. Not written in from one or more types of Different types of sources are
Research the student’s own words. resources (encyclopedia, cited. The student is clearly
Little or no connection to the magazines, interviews or the connecting the research to
problem. Internet correctly. (Internet the problem using his/her
search engines are not a own words.
resource!) There is evidence
that writing is in the student’s
Hypothesis The hypothesis is not related The hypothesis is brief and The hypothesis is well stated.
to the problem. The complete. The hypothesis is There is a clear connection to
Factor hypothesis is not testable. related to the problem. There the problem. There are clear
There is limited connection to is limited connection to the connections to the research.
the research. problem.
Procedure The experimental design does The experimental design The experimental design is
not match the hypothesis. addresses the hypothesis. well structured and it clearly
& Materials The procedures are There may be some addresses the hypothesis. The
incomplete or unclear. There unanswered questions procedures are clear, step-by-
is no materials list or the list present. The procedures are step and repeatable. There is
is marginal. clear but there may be gaps a complete materials list.
between steps. There is a
Results Performed the experiment Performed the experiment Performed the experiment
only once and the data is not one or more times. The three or more times. The
summarized clearly. There is results are presented using data is presented in clear
no discussion of the graphs or charts. There is one ways using graphs or charts.
relationships between relationship noted between The relationships between
variables, patterns or trends variables, patterns and trends. variables, patterns and trends
are clearly stated.
Conclusions The conclusion does not The conclusion answers the The conclusion completely
answer the problem. There is problem. The hypothesis was answers the problem. There
no reference to the supported or dismissed and is clear evidence why the
hypothesis. there were attempts to hypothesis was confirmed or
explain why. rejected.
Display is worth 10 Display is worth 15 Display is worth 20
points. points. points
Visual Quality The project is not engaging. The project is appealing and The project is engaging. It is
of the Display The information is not clearly neat. It is organized and clear. well organized and clear.
organized or presented. The visuals are There is good use of visuals.
Factor There are major mistakes in understandable. There are The language and spelling are
language or spelling few language or spelling faultless.
Bonus It is clear that the majority of It is clear that the majority of It is clear that the majority of
5 extra points the work has been hand done the work has been hand done the work has been hand done
by the student. by the student. by the student.