Choosing a Topic
Sometimes the hardest part of a Science Fair project is to just come up with an idea. Your project does not have to be about the latest news in science, though that would be really cool. Your project does not have to discover a new cure for cancer, though that would be great. Your project does not have to invent a new ecological fuel for cars, though that would be wonderful. Your project does not have to put people on the moon, though it would be a great ride! Your project DOES have to be about things that excite YOU. Start by choosing something you find really interesting and go from there. Try some of the exercises below. They may help you get started.
Starting from Scratch – An exercise in brainstorming
- Make a chart with 10 columns.
- Think of 10 things you like to do or learn about and use those for the headers of each column.
- Now, list as many things about each subject as you can.
- The longest list is the area you should concentrate on as an idea for your project.
- Think about things you always wanted to know about the subject. Figure out an experiment to find out the answer:
- For example: Why is a football more accurate if it spins while it is traveling? Answer: Build a machine to “throw” spinning and non-spinning footballs and compare videos of the results.
What would happen if…?
Another way of searching for an idea is to think of some odd things that typically would not be together. Think of 10 Nouns, 10 verbs and 10 more nouns.
This might get silly, but – your ideas might start flowing so fast that you will come up with several great ideas to turn into a project.
- What would happen if a ball rolled through a marching pattern of ants?
- What would happen if a tea-bag is planted around flowers while they are growing?
- What would happen if a slinky is hung in front of a fan?
Periodicals (of any kind) and Websites
You don’t have to read only the scientific periodicals for ideas (although they can be helpful) in generating your ideas for a project. Even some of the more popular magazines may spark an interest. Don't hesitate to read all you can in order to find something you can really take off on when it comes to your project. Browsing the internet is another way to generate ideas. Pull up a search and type things you like. You never know where surfing the internet will get you when it comes to ideas for a project.
Talk to people
You never know who you might bump into that has an interesting background. Ask them what they remembered about their science classes when they were in school. Was there ever anything funny when it came to experiments? What comes to mind when they think of the word science? Remember, Ideas are not only generated from the printed word, but also the spoken word!