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Steps in a Science Fair Project

Cartoon of boy doing chemistry experiment in lab.

Some science fair projects are experiments to test a hypothesis. Other science fair projects attempt to answer a question or demonstrate how nature works or even invent a technology to measure something.

Before you start, find out which of these are acceptable kinds of science fair projects at your school. You can learn something and have fun using any of these approaches.

  1. First, pick a topic. Pick something you are interested in, something you'd like to think about and know more about.
  2. Then do some background research on the topic.
  3. Decide whether you can state a hypothesis related to the topic (that is, a cause and effect statement that you can test), and follow the strict method listed above, or whether you will just observe something, take and record measurements, and report.
  4. Design and carry out your research, keeping careful records of everything you do or see and your results or observations.
  5. Construct an exhibit or display to show and explain to others what you hoped to test (if you had a hypothesis) or what question you wanted to answer, what you did, what your data showed, and your conclusions.
  6. Write a short report that also states the same things as the exhibit or display, and also gives the sources of your initial background research.
  7. Practice describing your project and results, so you will be ready for visitors to your exhibit at the science fair.