The project experimentation is the fun part of the science fair project – this is where you actually get to prove your hypothesis (or discover that your hypothesis was wrong). In all scientific experiments, you will need to have two variables: a dependent variable and an independent variable. The dependent variable is the thing that will change during your research. A dependent variable is the thing that you are observing. On top of your variables, you will also have a control – the thing that will not change. For example, in my experiment, my independent variable was each piece of food that I introduced to the surface of the tongue (such as bread, rice, vegetables, and fruit). My dependent variable was the tongue (because I couldn’t change it). My controls were salt and sugar because I already knew where salt and sugar were tasted on the tongue. During your experiment, you can use as many tests as you would like to come up with a conclusion. Be sure to record each test and result accurately so that you can compare your results in your conclusion. You might also find that you need to conduct additional tests during your experiment. If you are allowed to conduct additional tests, do so. If not, you can simply state in your conclusion that the tests were “inconclusive.” Ask your teacher for the science fair rules. Some experiments might be harder than others. For example, sometimes I paid very close attention to where I tasted foods like unsalted crackers. Even then, when I wasn’t sure where I tasted some foods, I had to use other people for help. I conducted a survey of 10 people and recorded their answers as part of my research. A survey can be used as part of the experiment to help you solve the problem. During your research, keep these tips in mind in order to have a successful project:
- Use only one independent variable
- Try the experiment as many times as you want in order to make sure the results are accurate. Usually, doing the experiment just once will not give you dependable results.
- Always use a control – sometimes it’s best to have two or more controls just to be safe
- Stay organized with your notes and data collection.
Project Conclusion The conclusion of the project is the part where you get to share the information that you learned. You should state whether your hypothesis was proven or disproven (don’t be embarrassed if your hypothesis was wrong). You can use your research, experiments, and opinions in order to explain the outcome of the project. State any reasons that the project didn’t work out as you expected as well. For example, in my project, I was surprised to find that I tasted rice on the sides of my tongue more than on the front. I didn’t think that rice was salty, but my mom had always told me that it was full of starch, which is also sugar. I was talking to my mom after the experiment was over and she told me that she always puts a teaspoon of salt in the rice while it cooks, which I didn’t know about when conducting my experiment. In my conclusion, I explained that the unexpected salt could have impacted my results. Here are some more tips for writing your conclusion:
- Remember: don’t change your hypothesis just because the results were different than you thought they would be.
- If something happens during the experiment that proves your hypothesis wrong, don’t leave it out. Instead, do what I did with the rice and mention why you think the results didn’t support the hypothesis.
- If there is a difference in the hypothesis and results, explain it. It’s okay to say that you think you made a mistake during the experiment, like I did with the rice and not knowing it had salt in it.
- Keep improving the experiment. Are there other things you wish you had done in order to make the experiment better? If so, then explain them in your conclusion.
No matter what project you choose, keep in mind that by following the scientific method, you will not only be able to pull off a well-executed science project, but you’ll also impress the judges and find your own conclusions to answers you’ve asked. Whether your project is for the science fair or even just a class science project, the scientific method is sure to help you get the results you’re looking for…or results you never expected! If you’re ready to get going with your own science project, your next step is to download your free copy of “Easy Steps to Award-Winning Science Fair Projects” from the link below right now.