Selecting a Topic
Your project does not have to be an original idea (although that is the ideal), but you must attempt to solve a problem or answer a question by designing and performing a scientific experiment.
Your first science fair deadline asks you to submit three possible topic ideas in your journal. For each topic idea, you should:
- Explain why the topic interests you
- Give a rationale for the project (Why is this an important topic to study?)
- Give a brief explanation of how you would proceed
- Explain any special circumstances, materials needed or problems you will need to overcome in order to proceed
I will collect your journals, read and comment on each idea, and return them you with my opinion as to whether each project is feasible. From there, you will narrow your topic down to a final topic. If none of the topic ideas are feasible, you may have to look for more ideas. You may need to meet with me privately to discuss the feasibility of a project. Once you have narrowed down your topic ideas to one feasible idea, you will submit a final topic journal entry, which will contain the same basic information as the preliminary topic ideas, but with more detail.
To get ideas:
- Refer to the “Past Projects” list for ideas.
- Surf the internet for ideas – there are an innumerable number of science fair websites and project ideas (Check out the Useful links page for links to other sites).
- Often, ideas come from current events. Scan the science pages of news sites and magazines for interesting articles.
- Check out the past project ideas in the DVSF and Intel ISEF books in the lab.
Things to consider:
- Only one idea to a customer, first come, first served! Two students may NOT do the same experiment.
- Your project must fit into one of the officially sanctioned categories.
- You must work alone – no team projects!
- Your topic does not have to be in the field of chemistry, but it must have my approval.
- You may NOT select a project involving nonhuman vertebrate animals – NO EXCEPTIONS!
- You may not select a project involving human subjects unless you have special approval from me – realize that such a project will require extra paperwork and deadlines.
- You may not select a project involving bacteria or viruses unless you have special approval from me – realize that such a project will also require special paperwork and additional deadlines.
- Consider any hazardous or dangerous substances you may need to use before you select a project. Proper care and disposal of chemicals is essential for this project. You will need to fill out additional paperwork should you use any hazardous substances.
- Class time (approximately five class days) will be given for experimentation. You may need additional time, either before or after school or outside of school, to complete the experimentation. I HIGHLY suggest that you complete a portion of your experimentation during the class time that is given. Please consider your time needs when selecting a project.
- Download the Science Fair checklist.