How to Do Successful Science Fair Projects
Before we define the scientific method, we need to define some terms that will be used to describe your science project. An example is given for each term, as the term would apply to one of the most famous of science experiments: Galileo's law of falling objects. The example project presented here is a demonstration project. Click Science Project Types for definitions of the various types of science projects if you are not familiar with this concept..
Project Title- The name of your project.
Example: Galileo's Law of Falling Objects.
Background- History and review of the scientific literature about your topic and may include your observations and preliminary experiments.
Example: Aristotle had taught that heavy objects fall faster than lighter ones, in direct proportion to their weights. Medieval scholars tended to accept Aristotle's teachings without question.Galileo, on the other hand, did not accept Aristotle's assertions without direct evidence. By experiment Galileo showed that the velocity of freely falling objects is independent of their weights. According to one story, he dropped the objects from the top of the leaning tower of Pisa. However, the truth of the story is questionable
Experiment/Procedures- Sequence of steps which tests the validity of the hypothesis or provides data to answer the question asked in the hypothesis (The experiment should be repeated several times to eliminate errors that occur while taking measurements. The concept of experimentation is the essence of the scientific method.)
Example:1. Weigh each of the balls on the balance scale.
2. Drop the two balls separately from a height of 100 feet and measure the time for each to reach the ground.
3. Repeat the experiment 5 times.
Results- Data provided by the experiment.
Example: The results of the experiment are as follows:
the weight of the heavy ball = 10.05 lbs. and
the weight of the light ball = 0.99 lbs.
DROP # Heavy Object Fall Time Light Object Fall Time
1 2.50 Seconds 2.49 Seconds
2 2.52 2.48
3 2.51 2.51
4 2.53 2.50
5 2.49 2.47
Average 2.51 Seconds 2.49 Seconds
Analysis- Detailed examination of the results of the experiment.
Example: The formula for speed: Speed = Distance/ Time.
The average speed for the heavy ball = 100 ft / 2.51 sec = 39.84 ft / sec.
The average speed for the light ball = 100 ft / 2.49 sec = 40.16 ft / sec.
The difference in average speed = 40.16 ft / sec - 39.84 ft / sec = 0.32 ft / sec.
The percent difference of the speeds = (100 x 0.32) / 39.84 = 0.80%.
The slight difference in the speeds are due to errors in measurement and air resistance.
Conclusion- Inference from the results that either prove or disprove the hypothesis
Example: The average speeds for the heavy ball and the light ball are 39.84 ft /sec and 40.16 ft /sec, respectfully. The difference is 0.32 ft /sec or 0.80%, which is negligible can be attributed to measurement errors and error resistance. Therefore, the speeds are equal and the hypothesis has been proven.
The scientific method is defined by the following six steps:
1 Conduct background research,
2 Form the hypothesis or ask the question,
3 Perform experiments (multiple times) and collect data,
4 Analyze the data,
5 If the experimental data supports the hypothesis, proceed to Step 6; else, formulate a new hypothesis and repeat Steps 3 – 5,
6 Present your results and conclusions.
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