This is a story about Emma, a 10-year old girl, who has to do a science fair project. Emma belongs to a Science Club. During club meetings, Ms. Janice, the club director, and Cosmo, her teen helper guide Emma as she designs and develops her science fair project.
Emma Starts Her Science Project
Cosmo: Hey Emma, what’s up with your school having a science fair. Will there be cool rides and stuff?
Emma: I wish! No, its not that kind of a fair. It will have science projects and I have to do one. Can you help me?
Ms. Janice: Emma, Cosmo is joking, he knows what a science fair is. He always received awards for his projects.
Cosmo: Yea, I got awards for showing up. OK–Don’t say it! I know. I stop horsing around.
Emma, have you ever done a science project?
Emma: No! I really don’t know where to start. You guys have to help me.
Cosmo: Don’t sweat it! Ms. Janice knows all about that science project stuff.
Ms. Janice: Cosmo is right. You don’t need to worry about this assignment. We will help you.
It is important to know that kids who enter projects in a science fair are called science fair contestants. A science fair has rules. Much like an athlete playing a game, a science fair contestant must follow the rules if he or she wants to receive a high score. Did your teacher give you a copy of the rules for your science fair?
Emma: Yes, but I left it at school. She also gave me a schedule with dates that stuff has to be turned in. I left it at school too.
Ms. Janice: That’s OK. We can get started without them, but you need to bring them to our next club meeting.
Cosmo: Emma, you need to keep a Project Log Book, which is much like a diary. Your project log book is where you keep all papers and notes about your science project.
Ms. Janice: I prefer to keep my notes in a binder with dividers. This allows me to easily add papers. Do check with your teacher about using a binder. Your first divider can be called Rules and Schedule.
Emma: Can my binder be red?
Cosmo: I think a red folder is great, but you best ask your teacher. Also ask her about decorating the binder with pictures and/or drawings about your project.
Cosmo: Have you decided what your project will be about?
The first step in starting a science fair project is to choose a science topic that you want to know more about.
Ms. Janice: Emma, think about science activities that you really enjoyed.
Emma: I had fun making a model of an arm that moved when I pulled strings. I still have pictures of my leaf and rock collections.I had to put the rocks outside after Mom hit her foot and the leaves were crumpling.
Cosmo: Some schools allow models and collections. But your school doesn’t. Your project must be an experiment.
Emma: Experimenting sounds fun. I’d like to mix stuff together like a real scientist.
Ms. Janice: Emma, real scientists don’t randomly mix stuff together. They make plans. In fact, designing your science fair project is much like the work of a real scientist. To do your best work, you need to make plans and start looking for clues.
Emma: Sounds more like we are going to be detectives instead of scientists.
Cosmo: Emma, scientists are detectives. They look for clues about things that they want to know more about. You mentioned collecting plants or rocks. Plants or rocks are good topics.
Emma: My teacher said our projects could be about the weather, crystals, seeds, flowers, and lots of other stuff. I like all of these topics, but growing plants is my favorite. I help my granny with her flower garden. She knows bunches of stuff about growing plants.
Cosmo: I like to grow plants.
Emma: OK, I’ll grow plants. What do I do now?
Ms. Janice: Emma, the second step in doing a science fair project is to Research The Topic. This means to collect information about your topic. Since your topic is growing plants, you need to find out what plants need to grow.
Emma: Do I have to read a lot of stuff?
Ms. Janice: Reading is one way to collect information, but you can also interview people.
Emma: That sounds more fun, but who can I interview?
Ms. Janice: Do you know anyone who grows plants? It can be a friend or relative. Someone at a plant nursery can help you.
Emma: My grandmother has a flower garden and my gramps grows vegetables. I could interview them, but what do I ask them?
Ms. Janice: Emma, ask them what plants need to grow.
Emma: I know the answer to that question. Plants need light, water, and soil to grow.
Ms. Janice: Very good. You already have some information about plant growth. You need to do more research about plant growth. Ask your grandparents as well as others who about plant growth.
Cosmos: How about finding out if all plants need the same stuff to grow.
Ms. Janice: Emma, its time for us to end our club meeting. You do your research about plant growth. At our next club meeting, Cosmo and I will help you write you a question for your science fair project.
Don’t Forget! Your research information is needed for this Third Step:
Writing a Project Question.
Cosmo: Ms. Janice, do you have a copy of your Tips List?
Ms. Janice: Yes. Thanks for reminding me.
Emma, keep these tips in your Project Binder. You may wish to share them with your science teachers.
Tips for a Successful Science Project
Have a positive attitude.
Plan to learn something new.
Pick a topic that you find interesting.
Schedule enough time to do your best work.
Emma: OK. Thanks!
Cosmo: Don’t forget to bring you binder to our club meeting. You will be adding new pages to it.
Emma: I will also add the rules and schedule sheets that I left at school. See ya next week.
Next Club Meeting: This link will be active SOON!!!
Chapter 2: Emma Writes Her Science Project Question
|Janice VanCleave’s Guide to More of the Best Science Fair Projects
The first section of this book gives detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to design and develop a science fair project.
The second section gives examples of exploratory investigations that can be developed into a science fair project.