Students and Parents,

    It's that time of year again - time for the Science Fair and for all good science students to show their stuff! Here at WHMS, we take the science fair very seriously and want our students to succeed. We know how much hard work goes into preparing a project for the science fair, so we reward this effort. The grade students will receive is an extra credit test grade! This carries much more weight than the assignments we do from day-to-day.  Any student that wants to get started is welcomed to do so.  Just see me regards topic.

    Description of the Science Fair Project: Students are required to carry out research and design an experiment.  The results must be presented in a typewritten lab report.  However, it is not mandatory for everyone to put their projects on a cardboard tri-fold board.  The tri-fold board, and participating in the school Science Fair, will count as extra-credit.  The project must follow the scientific method.  It must have the appropriate documentation (journal entries, etc).  It is important to understand that in order to participate in the Science Fair, students must bring both their board and their lab report.

    This is a major project and will represent a significant portion of your child’s grade for the next grading period(s).  The primary objective of this project is to have students approach a problem scientifically.  This includes:

    1. Asking questions, conducting research and forming hypotheses
    2. Creating experiments to test those hypotheses
    3. Organizing data and drawing conclusions
    4. Writing about scientific research

    The project must be experimental in nature as opposed to research oriented.  In other words, students must do a test, survey, or experiment to determine the answer to their question instead of just looking it up in a book. We encourage students to pick topics that they are genuinely interested in.  Topics must also be “original” - something students do not already know or have previously done for science fair.  If previously done, it needs to be made clear what part of the experiment is NEW experimentation, that was derived from analysis of the prior project's results.

    All of the work will be done at home this year.  If electing to do a Science Fair Project, please do not let your child wait until the last minute to complete this project.  All students must have their topic approved by me before beginning their assignment.  This goes for all science fair projects, unless the topic is one identified on the www.sciencebuddies.org website and difficulty is intermediate or higher.  I want to make sure students are using the scientific method and not just modeling.  Project must be experimental in nature employing the scientific method ... not an engineering design project.  Be careful in choosing ... some very interesting projects clearly state, "This is not a Science Fair Project.".

    Science Fair projects/assignments will be due prior to the Christmas break this year due to the county scheduling the county fair at an earlier date.  Our school science fair will be held after the students come back from Christmas break so I am asking for all final Science Fair lab reports to be turned in by THURSDAY, DECEMBER 17th, 2020.  The Trifold Presentation Board is due NLT FRIDAY, JANUARY 8th, 2021.  Note:  date subject to change due to timing of county science fair.

    Project guidelines state that students must do all work; however, assistance may be provided by teachers, parents, etc.  It is very difficult to work alone without the exchange of ideas, so we encourage you to brainstorm with your child on different ideas and possible topics your child may want to pursue.  Please take a moment to review www.sciencebuddies.org website with your child in order to generate topic ideas.  Use guided helps under the Project Guides tab ... they also include sample examples of completed work.

    I am looking forward to working with you to make this a valuable learning experience for your child. I appreciate your support on this important project.  

    Please, do not hesitate to contact me at jdbrown@harnett.k12.nc.us if you have any question.  Thank you for all you do!


    James D. "Dave" Brown

    Stingray Science Teacher


    For a complete guide to creating a Science Fair project refer to http://www.sciencebuddies.org/.  This does a thorough job walking you through all the parts of a Science Fair project.

    Problem (Topic) - This should always be presented in the form of a question.  For example, “Does air pressure affect the height at which a ball bounces?

    Title-This is a shortened “catchy” version of your problem.  This is only necessary if your topic is too long to fit across the top of your backboard.  Ex.  “Follow the Bouncing Ball!”

    Hypothesis- Make an educated guess.  What do you think will happen?  This should be written in a statement.  For example, “The ball will bounce highest when the air pressure is the greatest”.  It can also be written as an “If, then” statement.  “If the ball has less pressure then the ball will not bounce a great height.  (DO NOT USE FIRST PERSON)

    Materials- List all materials needed to conduct the experiment.  Be sure to give quantities, sizes and specifics on all materials.  Use the metric system.

    Procedure- This is a recipe!  Step by step of the process to conduct the experiment.  This must be so detailed that a stranger could take your directions, repeat your experiment and get the SAME RESULTS! Within the procedure students should identify the Independent VariableDependent Variable andConstant Variables

      Ex.  Independent Variable- The amount of air in the ball.

         Dependent Variable- How high the ball bounces.

    It also would be important to keep all of the procedure the same between each trial.  A fair test would have at least 5 trials.

     Data- This is where all the quantitative data is placed. This is usually in a chart or table.  Remember, the chart should reflect at least 5 trials.


    Air Pressure

    Trial 1 (cm)

    Trial 2 (cm)

    Trial 3 (cm)

    Trial 4 (cm)

    Trial 5 (cm)


    10 psi







    9 psi







    8 psi







    7 psi







    6 psi








    Results- This is where you organize your data into a graph.  The Independent and Dependent Variables should be labeled.

    Conclusion- This is a summary of what occurred in the experiment.  The hypothesis should be addressed as supported or not supported by the experiment.  Ways to improve the project should be shared in the conclusion.  This would be the place to report any problems or unusual events that occurred during the experiment that may have affected the results.  The most important part of the conclusion is where the student researches for the science of ‘why’ this happened.

    Log book- Your log book contains all rough drafts, data collections and research conducted during the experiment.

    Presentation- See guidance at http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_display_board.shtml for how tri-fold is to be constructed.

    Science Fair Websites 

    1. California State Science Fair: Read about this science fair which has been going on since 1952! You can learn how to enter, get help with your own project, or see a directory of past projects.http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/ 

    2. Science Buddies: Use the topic selection wizard to help you figure out what science projects interest you most. Once you have a topic, get help doing research, setting up the experiments, and completing them. http://www.sciencebuddies.org/ 

    3. Science Fair Central: Includes cool project ideas, a science fair handbook, reviews of students' experiments, and more from Discovery Channel School. http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/ 

    4. Science Fair Project Resource Guide: Samples, ideas, magazines, resources, and more. Includes a list of sites that explain the Scientific Method. http://www.ipl.org/div/kidspace/projectguide/ 

    5. Scientific Method: Describes the five steps of the Scientific Method that are helpful when creating a science fair project. Includes examples of wording and sample projects to explain certain steps.http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/Getting-Started/Investigation.html 

    6. Super Science Fair Projects: Guide to projects, topics, experiments, and tips for successfully completing a science project, including the six steps of the Scientific Method. http://www.super-science-fair-projects.com/ 

    7. What Makes a Good Science Fair Project?: Short guide written by a group of experienced judges for the California State Science Fair. http://cssf.usc.edu/Resources/Good_Project.html

    8.  Bottle Rockets and Other Educational Crafts:  List of different project ideas that could be turned into Science Fair projects.  https://www.bottlestore.com/bottle-rockets-and-other-educational-crafts


    Science Fair Tips 

    Picking a topic:

    • Picking a topic is the most important step to SF-so it shouldn’t be taken lightly!
    • Choose an age appropriate topic.  (Ex.  “Which paper towel absorbs the most liquid?”  would be considered an elementary topic)
    • Topic must require an experiment to be conducted.  Making a model (ie. Volcano), conducting a survey or doing a demonstration will not work. 
    • Also, your experiment must require you to collect quantitative (numeric data) not qualitative data.  In other words, you must be able to create a graph from the data collected.
    • Make sure you choose a topic where you are going to be able to get the resources required.  For example, if you’re required to use a “crowded city bus” that may be hard to get in Lillington J
    • The internet is a great resource in finding a topic just be on the look-out for models, demonstrations and survey type topics.
    • Choose something that interests you!  If you’re sincerely interested in the topic you will be much more motivated to complete the project and do a good job on it.

    Completing the project:

    • Experiments must have more that one trial. (Generally 3-5 depending on the teacher)
    • Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to complete your project.  Procrastination is the worst thing you can do in an experiment.
    • Use a journal/notebook to record data while experimenting.
    • Hold all variables constant that you’re not testing.  For example, if you’re testing to see if the height of a person affects his/her accuracy in shooting, you need to make sure you use the same basketball, shoot from the same spot(s), etc.

    Presenting a project:

    • Consider your project presentation like an “advertisement”.  Well presented projects get a lot more attention from judges and teachers than one that’s sloppy.
    • Use a tri-fold, cardboard presentation display.  Available at Wal-mart, office supply stores and in WHMS school store.
    • Use contrasting colors.  Bold colors are generally better.
    • Don’t use too many colors.  Tend to look too “busy”.  I generally recommend no more than two colors.  (white and black don’t count as a color so they can be used at will)
    • All work on the board must be typed.
    • Pictures are a great addition to any presentation.  Just make sure no faces are visible.
    • No names or faces on project.
    • Make sure edges of paper are cut straight and clean. Neat, even margins.
    • For an adhesive, rubber cement is the best.  Glue stick also works well and double sided tapes.  Never use white glue!  It bubbles when it dries and makes your project look sloppy.
    • Interactive website also has great tips and recommendations.http://school.discoveryeducation.com/sciencefaircentral/Science-Fair-Presentations/How-to-Create-a-Winning-Science-Fair-Display-Board.html


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