This is part two in a series about how to make a successful science fair project. In part one, we talked about picking your topic. Now that you know what topic your student want to pursue, now the topic has to be narrowed down.
- Research your chosen topic. The best way to figure out a science fair project on a chosen topic is to have your student research everything he can on the subject. He might discover a project that he hadn't thought of before during the research phase. Books, of course, are a basic source for information, but there can be many sources for information, including interviewing experts in the field.
2. Narrow down your topic. Once all the research has been completed, now is the time to narrow down the topic to one specific area. You don't want the idea to be one that is too hard by being too general or too difficult to answer and yet you don't want it too simple either. If you make sure that the question is not one that would have a yes or no answer, then your student is probably on the right track.
3. Define your problem. Now that your student has the idea of what he wants to do, help him to define the problem. What exactly are you experimenting to find out? Have your student write it out in question form. You are not doing too much for your student if you help him define the problem. This is a difficult skill that takes time to master. Help him along the way to gaining this skill.
4. Develop your hypothesis. A hypothesis is an educated guess about the solution to your question. Now that he has researched the topic, he can make an educated guess based on what he has learned.
Next week we will talk about designing your experiment and more about the scientific method.