Science Fair Project—Due March 3rd

We have a science fair coming up and I want everyone to know what’s required.

First, come up with an idea and do a little research (on computer and in books)

Second, decide what question you would like to ask. For example: “Do more birds come to the sunflower seed feeder than to the cracked corn feeder?”

Third, set up conditions that are identical and that can be replicated. For example: If you decide to do the feeder watch experiment, both feeders must be identical and at the exact same height. Both feeders must be filled with exactly the same amount of seed.

Fourth, start a logbook to keep track of changes day after day. For example:

  • On Monday, February 6th, I bought a large bag of sunflower seeds and a large bag of cracked corn seed.
  • On Tuesday, February 7th, I put in exactly one cup of sunflower seed into the feeder and exactly one cup of cracked corn into the feeder.
  • On Wednesday, February 8th, I watched the feeders from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. and counted about 11 birds during that time.
  • On Thursday, February 9th, I measured how much seed was left in the two feeders and wrote it down. Etc. Etc.

Fifth, start on a display to explain what you are doing—buy a cardboard flat display piece at an office supply place or at a drug store. Start thinking about what you need to display (some of the research pages could go up, a good title needs to be added, photos of your project as you are working on it, lots of labeling and description in extremely neat handwriting, etc.)  For example, with the sample project above, I would get lots of pictures of feeder birds to put on the flat, I would have some samples of the seeds in clear baggies, I would have a title that explains the question, such as “Which seeds are the Favorite?” and I would have a written piece that describes what I did in enough detail that someone else could try it. I might bring the feeders to put in front of the flat. I would definitely have the log book to show. I would take photos of the feeders with some birds there and I would display those photos.

Sixth, a conclusion must be drawn from the experiment and written up. For example, if I did the science experiment with bird seed, I would write, “After ten days of having the feeders set up in my yard, I found that certain birds preferred one or the other types of seeds, but overall, the sunflower seed was most popular with the most birds. I determined this by measuring how much seed was eaten each day by looking at the viewer on the feeder and using a ruler.”  Also, talk about the problems you encountered, for example, “I realized that the birds attracted to the sunflower seeds were bigger than a robin, so they ate more seed at one time and that’s a variable that I couldn’t control and that might have skewed the results.” The conclusion must be written up along with a “next time . . .” statement that might be: “Next time I will use three feeders and try another kind of seed and next time I might count for an hour every afternoon.”