A Science Project is a way for a student to carry
out an investigation in much the same way a real researcher might in a
real laboratory. It is an investigation, initiated by a student and carried
through all the proper steps to answer an original question.
A Science Project is NOT…
A Research Paper: A research paper
is an important part of a Science Project. The research paper will explain
what is currently known on the topic of your investigation. It might be
called "Background Information". The research paper, though,
is not enough. Sometimes a student will present a project that is nothing
more than a display of research. The title might be, "What makes
Volcanoes Form?" All the information they found in their research
will be presented along with wonderful illustrations and/or a model. This
is NOT a good example of a Science Project.
A Model: A model may or may not
be part of your Science Project, but like the research paper, it is not
enough. There are many wonderful models that are available in stores.
You could even make your own model of something natural (the solar system)
or man-made (a nuclear power plant) but neither of these would make a
good Science Project.
A Technology Display: Quite a bit
might be learned by building a laser or a working computer but again,
simply building a piece of technology and writing about what you did is
not a good Science Project.
A Scientific Demonstration: Most
books of science experiments are very poor resources for Science Projects.
These books are full of experiments that can be performed easily in the
home with common objects. The experiments are meant to illustrate certain
scientific principles and you might learn something by performing these
experiments but they are not true scientific investigations and so do
not make good Science Projects.
Consumer Testing: While consumer
research and scientific research share many of the same process skills
it is a good idea to avoid a Science Project with a topic such as "Which
Brand of Paper Towel is the Best?"(And, no, it is not any better
if you replace the words "Paper Towel" with "Laundry Detergent",
"Dishwashing Soap" or any other product!)