This is a wonderful question. I judge science
fairs every year and I wish I could tell all
students this. A great project is one that YOU
come up with because an interesting question
occurs to YOU. You figure out a way to test it.
You figure out what your results mean and can talk
about them. You come up with a graph that tells
the story of your data. You may get help with
things along the way, but the project is yours.
You understand it and can answer questions about
it. These get my highest scores. I have seen
great projects on shaving cream, chewing gum, and
twigs nibbled by deer.
I have given very
low scores to projects with elaborate displays
that did not reflect a student investigating his
or her own question or projects with a lot of
technical information that the student didn't
Here's what I don't want to
see, as a judge: A project you got out of a
book/off an Internet site and didn't customize; a
project that just demonstrates something already
known without asking a new question to extend what
we know; a project that you did because someone
told you to; a report of stuff you found on the
Internet, anything you can't explain yourself; a
project that has no interesting question, it's
just done because it seems easy (example: I gave
this plant root beer, this plant orange juice, and
this plant milk).
Start by looking around
your home, school, areas where you play, etc. and
trying to find questions about what you see, hear,
eat, use, and wear. Think about how you could
break big, complex questions down into simple ones
you could answer with an experiment. Brainstorm
with teachers, friends, and family. Write back if
you have more questions.
Good luck with the
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