Don’t be a Last-Minute Lucy or Luke! It takes time to plan your project, obtain data (if you do a project with plants, it may take several weeks to grow them…), and repeat the experiment several times, fix problems, and prepare your display board. If you do finish before the deadline, think about the meaning of what you learned in the project and write it down in your notebook.
Pick a topic that matters and that really interests you.
Talk to friends, teachers, and parents about a topic. Visit the websites on our Links page for ideas, or visit the local library for books with science fair project ideas.
Begin with a question about your topic.
Use your library books or a web search to find a question that is interesting, and then start learning more about it.
Get information about your project before you begin.
After getting information from your library or web search for your topic, ask a question you would like your experiment to answer. Talk with your teacher to help you follow the scientific method.
Follow the scientific method to investigate your topic.
Plan your experiment. Find all the factors needed for your study, but then keep all factors the same except for the one factor you intend to study. Repeat the experiments 3-4 times, if you can, to be more certain of the results. An excellent source of information to help in properly planning and carrying out your experiments can be found on the Science Fair Project Guide. Use the data you gathered to prove or disprove your hypothesis. There are no “wrong” answers as long as you conduct the scientific method correctly. Science fair projects that follow the scientific method correctly will receive a special certificate from the Franklin Science Council.
Keep a careful record of your work in a notebook.
Write down the question you are asking, the hypothesis you wish to test, the materials you will use to test your hypothesis, what data you plan to obtain, the data you actually do obtain, any diagrams that would help others understand your project. Make your notebook as complete and readable as possible. If you use graphs to display your data, consult with your parents or teacher to be sure you’re using the graph correctly.
Choose a title that clearly describes your work.
Keep it as short and informative as possible. Resist the temptation to be clever or “punny”.
Prepare an effective exhibit.
Your project display must be neat, well-written, organized and interesting. Print the pages using larger letters that can be easily read when people are standing several feet away. Especially if you hand write, it must be neat and large enough so judges can read it! Keep the information short and clear, but not so short as to leave out critical information. Use photos, drawings, data charts or graphs, and other visual aids correctly. Place your notebook, and other items used in your project as appropriate, on the table in front of your display. If judges must operate something, provide clear instructions.
Follow all size and safety rules.
Make certain that neither your photo nor your name appears anywhere on your exhibit. Pre-register your exhibit before the announced deadline (the earlier the better).
A good project is one you enjoy doing as well as you can and sharing with others. Not everyone will win the trophy; but everyone can do a good job, learn a lot, and have fun doing it.