Question and Hypothesis
Once you have your topic and have researched it, now what do you do? You need figure out what your independent and dependent variables are so you can wirte your question and hypothesis. Variables are the parts of the experiment that change or vary. So how do you tell which is which? Here are some helpful hints:
Independent variable: This variable can be measured and you change it during the experiment on purpose.
Dependent variable: The changes in the dependent variable is caused by (depends on) the changes you made in the independent variable.
Example: Does the amount of water affect how tall the plant grows? The amount of water is the independent variable, the amount the plant grows is the dependent variable.
Once you have determined what your variables are, fill in the first page of your packet and turn in the entire packet to Mrs. Lohman. Once it is approved, write your question and hypothesis in your log book.
Your Log Book
When you receive your log book packet from Mrs. Lohman, write your name on the front. You will 3-hole punch your packet and place it in the folder given to you by Mrs. Lohman Write your research, question, and hypothesis in your log book in that order. Order is important and is part of your grade, as is neatness. Spelling and punctuation are not. :) Don't lose your log book. It is irresplaceable to you. It is to be placed in front of your display board when we set up for science fair and is part of your overall grade.
Materials and Procedures
Once you have written your question and hypothesis, you are ready to design your experiment. When you are designing your experiment, you need to keep in mind that the only things that should be changing are your variables. Everything else needs to stay constant.
Ex: If the amount of water is increased the height of the plant will increase.
Your independent variable is the amount of water, and the dependent variable is the height of the plant. Everything else needs to stay the same. The amount of light the plant gets, the soil, the size of the plant, the type of the plant, etc. If you change some other aspect of your experiment you will not know which change caused the results of your experiment.
Your materials list needs to be detailed and written in your log book. Write your materials in your packet. Procedures need to be written clearly, with directions that could easily be followed by another person to obtain similar results. Write your procedures your packet and turn them into Mrs. Lohman for approval. When you get them back, you are ready to make tables to collect your data.
Now the fun part begins! You will have approximately 4 weeks to conduct your experiment and collect your data. This is to be done at home. However, if you are conducting an experiment that requires the participation of classmates, see Mrs. Lohman to set up a lunch hour or after school time to conduct your experiment. You need to have a minimum of 3 trials. Create a table(s) in your log book to record your data in. All data must be recorded in your log book. If you recorded on a different sheet of paper, insert it into your log book. Don't leave it to the last minute! If your experiment has problems, you will need time to start over. This happens often.
How did it go? Did your data support your hypothesis? Why or why not. Mrs. Lohman will give you a sheet that tells you exactly what to write about in your conclusion. Write your conclusions in your log book.
Now you are finished, it is time to get your information organized and displayed. In your informational package is a sample display board layout. Not all display boards need to look the same; however, the steps of the scientific method need to be in order, and the information needs to be presented in a clear, concise, neat, and organized manner. The requirements are as follows:
-All information needs to be typed
-Data is displayed in charts or graphs
-Relevant pictures are added for interest and/or to improve understanding
-Headings stand out and are backed by different colored paper
-Has an attention grabbing title
-All steps of the scientific method are
present and in the right order
The day of the science fair, you will give a presentation to the class about your project. You may use your display board for a visual aid; however, you may not simply read the entire board to your audience. BOOORING!
Prepare a short summary of the most important parts of your project (3 - 5 minutes). Introduce yourself and speak slowly and clearly. Why did you choose this project? What did you enjoy about it? Did you have any problems? Write notes on index cards if it helps. Look at the audience and be serious. This doesn't mean you can't tell anything amusing that happened, but you should not be laughing helplessly throughout your presentation. This is part of your overall grade.