Students must be prepared to orally present their science project, and the scientific knowledge communicated is 30% of their grade.
Parental help and support is recommended, but student learning is the purpose here. Please have your child practice their oral presentation with you multiple times prior to presenting to the class.
Student proposals must be approved by their teacher.
Here are two examples of Cobb Science Fair Planning Sheets.
(Both types of planning sheets can be downloaded from the attachments section at the bottom of this page)
Click on either example to see them in greater detail.
Experiment Planning Sheet
Here's a link to a video on YouTube explaining the difference between the variables listed on the planning sheet.
Science Buddies also has a helpful, in depth description of each of these variables.
Control variables - all the parts of your experiment that will be kept the same
Independent variable - the one thing you change in your experiment
dependent variables - the measurable difference in your experiment which is based on your independent variable.
Students, here are some examples of other variables to help you with your experiment planning sheet:
Question: Does temperature effect the rate of reaction?
Control (constant): amount of water, alka-seltzer
Independent (What is different): temperature of water
Dependent (what is measured): temperature
Question: What materials, metals or nonmetals, will conduct electricity?
Control (constant): series circuit (battery, wire, light bulb)
Independent (what is different): rock, metal washer, paper clip metal, paper clip plastic, long wire, short wire, wooden ruler
Dependent variable: what is measured - if electricity is conducted
Question: Where is Earth's water?
Control: total amount of water used in the model
Independent: (what is different) where the water is located on earth
Dependent: (what you measure) how much water is in each place on earth determines how much water is in each cup
Question: What are convection currents
Control: (constant) aquarium model including water and set-up
Independent: (what is different) hot water (dyed red) and cold water(dyed blue)
Dependent: visual - (what is measured) seeing the how hot (red) water and the cold (blue) water mixes with the aquarium water
Model/Collection Planning Sheet
Students can choose to do an EXPERIMENT/OBSERVATION , or a MODEL/COLLECTION.
An EXPERIMENT/OBSERVATION is a testable question that asks a specific, measurable cause & effect question.
The scientific method needs to be present on your board. Grading and judging will be based on the experiment rubric in the attachments section below. Here are some photos of a well put together Science Fair Board. Go to Google, type in science fair projects, then click on images and you'll see some very well put together boards. Neatness counts, as does scientific accuracy.
A MODEL is a illustration, diagram or object that represents something else. The idea is that your model has enough information in the labels, diagrams, or graphs that someone unfamiliar with your topic will learn something. It should be fairly self explanatory.
model of a volcano is a good example of a model. It highlights the different layers of geology, and has labels which refer to a data chart near the cross-section of the Earth's crust.
If you're child wants to create a volcano that erupts, please make sure they understand that using vinegar and baking soda to create the "eruption" IS NOT IN ANY WAY RELATED TO WHY VOLCANOES ERUPT. Rather it is a chemical reaction that takes place for chemical reasons, not GEOTHERMAL reasons. Learning and reporting about local geothermal activity here in the Mayacamas Mountain Range near Cobb would be a much more appropriate assignment.
A COLLECTION is a group of things of the same type gathered together, and categorized in a scientific way. Here are three examples of a collection: types of rocks sorted into igneous, sedimentary or metamorphic. A mineral collection sorted by chemical composition and how they are formed), leaves or animals sorted according to taxonomy.
Igneous rocks are labeled red, Sedimentary rocks are labeled in blue, and metamorphic rocks are labeled in white.
- A If you're looking for ideas or resources you may want to go to these websites.
is a PBS sponsored website with videos of children doing different science investigations.
Drexel University hosts the Science Fair Project Resource Guide.
Science Buddies is a resource for students, parents, and teachers.
Steve Spangler Science is a great resource for delving into the fun of science. He focuses on experiments, and he has another page of videos that are fun to watch, and generate a lot of excitement.
A young lady named Jenna (hopefully a future teacher) suggests this web page if you're really into learning about the sun, or doing solar energy science projects.
The Next Generation Science Standards NGSS can be found here. Science fair projects don't need to fall within the realm of these standards, but the following standard is a good framework for any experiment:
Scientific progress is made by asking meaningful questions and conducting carefulinvestigations. As a basis for understanding this concept and addressing the content
in the other three strands, students should develop their own questions and perform
investigations. Students will:
a. Make predictions based on observed patterns and not random guessing.
b. Measure length, weight, temperature, and liquid volume with appropriate tools
and express those measurements in standard metric system units.
Any display for the science fair should include neatly written, or typed, data including the steps of the scientific method. Spelling does count, as you can see on the rubric I sent home. Originality is also a consideration.