This is part four in a series about how to make a successful science fair project. In part one, we talked about picking your topic. In part two, we talked about how to narrow down your topic and develop an hypothesis. In part three we talked about how to develop an experiment to test your hypothesis, using the scientific method as a guide. This week we will talk about how to take all that data you collected while doing your research and your experiments and turning it into a dynamic display.
Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
Now that you have all your data you have collected, now it is time to draw a conclusion. First, you might want to put your data into a chart, graph or table. These present important information in a way that makes your data easy to understand, and they can also be used to make your display board look great. If you choose to make a graph, you will need to decide which type of graph is the best to use to display your information. Bar graphs are great for showing comparisons or how something changes. Line graphs are great for showing how things change over a period of time. Pie charts present information in percentages. For any chart, graph or table, make sure everything is labeled clearly.
Communicate Your Results
Now it is time to make your display. Usually these are made on a three-paneled cardboard display board that you can purchase very cheaply at department stores, grocery stores, pharmacies and office supply stores. Make sure you read the guidelines of the science fair you are entering to make sure that what you want to use falls within their rules.
You will need to include all the things we have been talking about on your display:
- Title: Make sure you make this large enough to see from a distance.
- Experimental Materials
- Procedure: Include photographs of your procedure and results.
- Data Results: Create attractive graphs and tables to show your data.
Once you have all these pieces typed up, lay the board on the floor or table and arrange the information so that it looks good and is in a reasonable order. Make your display attractive by including colorful borders. Another tip I have picked up over the years is to use rubber cement to glue down your papers. The glue doesn't make the paper pucker and look crumpled and the pieces can be taken off the board, if you do it gently, without tearing in case you want to move them around after you have glued them down.