# Science Investigative Project - PDF

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```					                    DESIGNING A SCIENCE FAIR PROJECT
INTRODUCTION TO THE ASSIGNMENT
The goal of this assignment is to learn how to design an experiment and follow the scientific
method. All science fair projects must be based on an experiment that has clear, measurable results (i.e.
distance, speed, time, height, number, size, volume and weight.). You may be interested in a topic that is
very difficult or impossible to measure – such as the effect of a person’s mood on their ability to take a test.
How do you measure a person’s mood? While questionnaires are a possibility, the results are often difficult
to interpret and organize. Please design a project that will have straight forward results that are easy to
graph and explain. In 6th grade, we want to focus on learning the steps of the scientific process.

INVESTIGATIVE QUESTION (IV AND DV)
Students who design experiments that are naturally intriguing to them often enjoy the 3 month long
process and feel less overwhelmed than those who simply pick a question from a list. CHOOSE
CAREFULLY!!! Think about what interests you…skateboarding? swimming? gardening? airplanes, trains,
cars, or boats? oceans, lakes, ponds and rivers? What type of experiments can you do that will relate to
your hobbies, and relate to the real world?

Choose an investigative question that has an independent and dependent variable. The independent
variable (IV) is what will be manipulated (ex: the amount of air pressure in a soccer ball, the design of a
paper airplane). The dependent variable (DV) is what happens (how high does the soccer ball bounce
when dropped, how long does the paper airplane stay in the air). Measurable dependent variables are
often related to distance, speed, time, height, number, size, volume and weight

Identify only one independent (IV) and only one corresponding dependent variable (DV). An
experiment that tries to test for how air pressure (IV) affects how far a soccer ball can travel (DV), along
with how hard a soccer ball is kicked (IV), along with girls vs. boys skills (IV) is actually 3 separate
experiments and the results won’t reveal anything. Choose one independent variable and measure the
resulting dependent variable. Some examples of investigative questions are included in this packet.

Choose a science fair project that can be tied into important environmental concerns, other world
problems, or applications to industry. This relationship will be discussed in the Applications section of
the report. For example, a student studying how surface tension of water is affected by temperature could
discuss the effect of global warming on water temperatures around the world and how various plants and
animals might be affected. What environmental or scientific issues have you heard about in the news
lately? Do you have interesting solutions to some of our global issues? Test them!

BACKGROUND RESEARCH AND HYPOTHESIS
about what will happen in your experiment. To identify what you need to research you need to ask
yourself “What do I think my results will be? Why do I think this will happen? What are the scientific
principles behind the reaction?” You will research the scientific theory/ principles behind your experiment
and include a summary that is at least 1 page when single spaced. Here is an example: If you are
experimenting with soccer balls and pressure, then your background research should be on what soccer
balls are made of, air pressure, force (action and reaction), what makes a ball bounce, etc. Please see the
Background Research Assignment page for recommendations relating to other projects.

PROCEDURES
The experiment must be repeated at least 5 times for each variation of the independent variable.
For example, if you are testing the air pressure of a soccer ball as your IV, pick 3 different pressures and
test each of them at least 5 times (otherwise known as trials) to determine how high the ball will bounce
(DV). If you are testing how different amounts of light (IV) affect the growth of plants (DV) you must have 3
different amounts of light and use 5 identical plants (these are your 5 trials) in each. For example, I
would have 5 in shade, 5 in indirect sunlight and 5 plants in direct sunlight. Don’t forget to take pictures
and record observations in addition to measurements during each trial! This will make your job a lot
easier when it is time to write your conclusion, and future research sections, not to mention create a
beautiful backboard display.

The experiment must be controlled for everything. If you are testing the air pressure of a soccer ball and
how that might affect how high it bounces, every other factor must be the same. You must control the
height from which it is dropped so it is the same each time. You must control for the soccer ball by using
the same soccer ball each time. You must measure and manipulate the air pressure inside that ball with
the same air pressure gauge. You must conduct the experiment under the same conditions every time:
same wind and same ground surface (grass, asphalt, or concrete). If you are testing how the design of a
paper airplane(IV) affects the distance it can travel (DV) make sure there isn’t any wind during the test –
wind direction and speed will make the experiment invalid since another variable will have been added to
the mix. The only things that have changed are the 3 different air pressures or 3 different wing
designs that you are testing.

FINAL THOUGHTS / GETTING HELP
The SF assignments account for over half of your trimester lab grade! Students who stay on schedule and
use our class time effectively often earn A grades and rarely become overwhelmed.
Getting Help:
All SF information, including sample project pieces and assignment sheets will be posted on
Culverdale’s website: http://www.iusd.org/cu/ under grade level activities
Email me with specific questions: sshoemak@iusd.org Keep in mind that I will not be checking
email after 5PM the night before assignments are due. PLAN AHEAD! 
Office hours for individual help:
Mondays and Thursdays after school 2:35 to 4 PM
Conference week 10/26-10/29 with appointments.
PLEASE KEEP THIS PAPER IN YOUR SCIENCE FAIR CONDUIT. YOU MUST BRING THE
CONDUIT AND YOUR AGENDA TO SCIENCE LAB EVERY MONDAY AND THURSDAY.
DUE DATES WILL BE WRITTEN ON BOTH!

Parent Signature                                       Student Signature

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