Raise your hand if you grew up learning that science is a class where you memorize, four to five syllable words and following instructions straight from the laboratory manual. True enough, many students think that science is all about rote memorization and step-by-step procedures.
That is exactly the kind of thinking that many science educators are trying to change as they help students develop ideas for their science project. Through science fair projects, teachers are instilling in young minds that science is an active and live process.
For today’s article, we’re going to underline the importance of science projects as well as give some tips on how to come up with your own amazing science fair project ideas.
Why do a Science Project?
Most students do a science project because it’s a requirement in school. However, you’ll find that there many benefits to doing a science fair project.
Great Learning Experience
What makes a science project a great learning experience is because it involves more than just science.
For middle school students, the research report alone will likely be the longest paper they have ever written. A decent research paper will be at least 1-2 pages long. The students will also be writing a bibliography which will be a first time for many of them.
Science projects will also require both library and computer research which overall should hone their research skills. They will also familiarize themselves with common office applications, word processors, and spreadsheets.
Most projects also involve a good deal of mathematics plus all students will have the chance to improve their public speaking and presentation skills.
Improve Communication Skills
Those who choose to work their way up the higher levels of the competition will learn more about effective communication skills. These savvy students will learn about the importance of selecting the appropriate topics and fine-tuning their presentation in order to impress the judges.
Cash Prizes and More
Most science fairs will have cash prizes as a reward for the winners. Many bemoan this lack of purity for the pursuit of science but it’s a known fact that many scientists compete for funds for their research.
On top of cash prizes, students can also gain recognition, educational opportunities, scholarship, and even early offers of employment if your science fair project ideas are really that good. Even if you don’t win, you can still put your science fair experience on your college application.
Tips for a Successful Science Fair Project
Below are some tips that you make sure that your science project will yield good results.
- Choose an exciting topic: Science project ideas like “how long before the flavor of the bubble gum runs out?” will not impress any judges. With that said, don’t be afraid to try something new. A lot of top science fair projects are about exploring new areas and ideas. However, keep in mind that a complicated topic doesn’t guarantee a win.
- Learn cool theories: After picking an exciting topic, dedicate a good amount of time for research. The background research is one of the vital parts of the project as it will become the basis of your presentation. Keep an eye on important concepts, equations, and definitions. If the topic turned out to be more difficult than expected, don’t get discouraged. Start with the basics and work your way up.
- Be a true scientist: Keep a lab notebook and be as detailed as possible with your notes. This will help you organize your thoughts and concepts. Afterward, come up with an organized plan. List all the potential problems and roadblocks that you will encounter as you do the project. Lastly, do as many trials as possible for a more credible data.
- Move forward: While experimenting, you will likely run into many problems. Don’t let this discourage you. Aside from a great science project, judges like to see perseverance so keep at it. Do more research, perform the procedure again and again, and try to solve the problems. These problems may even lead to innovative solutions.
- Use your brain: When you’re close to the finish line, examine the results and ask yourself “what do they mean?” Write in-depth explanations how and why you arrived at the results and what you think took place during the experiment. In case you don’t understand something, keep looking for the answers by asking a teacher, learning coach, or mentor.
Good Luck with Your Project
A science project is always a great investment of time and energy and produces great benefits and rewards. A good science fair project can open doors to different learning and career opportunities. Not to mention the improvement in your own personal skills and knowledge.
Have you done a science fair project before? How did it go? We’d love to hear about your experiences.