To get started with a Science Fair project, here are a few steps to follow:
1. Pick a topic.
- What interests you?
- What are your hobbies?
- What would you like to learn about?
2. Learning more about your topic.
- Go to the Library or your teacher and get some books about your topic.
- Gather information about your topic of interest.
- Find a mentor or someone that has a career related to your topic.
3. Narrow your topic down and determine the type of project (see Project Types below).
- Is there something specific that is of interest and you can investigate further?
- Make sure that your project follows the Ethics Guidelines (see below).
4. Start planning the project.
- Identify the steps and tasks for your project.
- Determine how you are going to analyze your data.
- Make a schedule.
- Figure out how long each step or task will take. Remember to be realistic and plan for a bit of extra time in case things go wrong.
- Use a calendar to plan out all of your steps/tasks (sometimes it helps to work backwards from when your deadline is).
- Follow the schedule.
A Science Fair project may be one of three types - each is judged with slightly different criteria due to the nature of the project.
This project is an investigation to test a scientific hypothesis using experimentation. It usually features the identification and control of variables.
This type of project involves the collection and analysis of data from other sources that reveals evidence of a fact, situation, or pattern of scientific interest.
This type of project entails the development and evaluation of innovative devices, models, or techniques in technology, engineering, or computers.
- Keep a detailed journal or logbook of what you do each time you work on your project.
- Write a brief explanation of project. This should be short – no more than one page. It should include the purpose of your project, procedure, and the results. This is sometimes called an 'abstract'.
- Write a project report with:
- Title Page
- Table of Contents
- Introduction (this includes some general background and your hypothesis)
- Results (include charts and graphs to visualize your data)
- Discussion (discuss what your results mean, what might have gone wrong, and what would you do differently if you were to do the project again)
- Conclusions (summarize your results and relate them back to your hypothesis)
- Acknowledgements (thank people who supported and assisted you along the way)
- References or Bibliography (make sure you reference the materials that you used to gather information for your project - this includes websites, books, magazines, mentor conversations etc.)
- Include pictures or drawings to help explain things.
- Create your project display.
Here are some tips for your project display:
- Only use sturdy material that has been approved by the Science Fair Committee. A good choice is commercially available cardboard or plastic tri-fold display board.
- Make sure that there is enough contrast between your background and your lettering/graphics. Choose bright colours that will stand out. Different colours for the backboard and lettering are a good choice.
- Spend some extra time doing a “professional” job. Use stencils, trace and cut out from construction paper. Use a computer to print out the titles to be placed on the backboard. Make sure that you use a font size that is large enough to read easily.
There are several ways to obtain guidance on your project:
- Science Experience 101
- Cybermentor Program. This is an e-mail mentoring program for girls interested in science and engineering. It is run out of the University of Calgary and matches students with professionals across the province.
- Find a mentor. The Southeast Alberta Regional Science Fair Committee is currently developing a mentorship program. In the meantime, please refer to the Youth Science Canada SMARTS Guide to Mentorship for general information on finding a mentor.
Please refer to the following links if your project involves humans or animals. Be sure to fill out the required forms identified in these policies. If you have any questions on Ethics in the Science Fair, please visit the Youth Science Canada Ethics page or contact the Committee,