How do I choose a topic?
That’s a great question, and we have good number of tips for you! Read on…
- Science is all around us – think about your environment. What question would you like answered? Something to do with cooking, building, growing things, cleaning…?
- Look up ideas in books at the local library or research on the internet.
- Your project does not have to be completely original. It does not have to be an idea that no-one else has ever had. That is most unlikely! If YOU have done it – then that’s new – because you have done it! It is good if you can find some aspect that is new or some different way of looking at something.
- It does have to be interesting and innovative… no point in finding out how many seeds avocados have.
- You need to choose a project that is do-able by you. Within the time frame – you have a few months. So a project about the lifecycle of oak trees involving growing trees from acorns is probably not sensible! Something about germinating acorns might be. Do a pilot study first to see if your idea is even possible.
- Choose something you know a little bit about but would like to know more.
- Choose something you are interested in! You will always do better with a subject you like.
- Your living situation needs to be taken into account – there’s no point in doing a project on milking cows if you live in the centre of town. It has to be not too expensive. Your parents may have something to say about that!
- Keep it simple. At least to begin with. Maybe you can guess at the answer – that’s OK. It’s how well you do the science that matters, not how exciting it was. You can get results with a simple old ruler or with fancy hi-tech gadgets and machinery. It’s not how you get the numbers but what you do with them – how you display them and whether you know what they mean!
- Your idea has to be reasonable. Playing music to plants is always a favourite – and yet its very hard to do and rarely done properly.
- It has to be safe! You cannot do an experiment on human health – you can’t feed your brothers and sisters different kinds of toadstools to see if they are poisonous! It mustn’t cause pain and injury to animals (or humans) so you cannot chop legs off your pet spider to see if they can still spin a web with 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2 or 1 leg!
- If there are projects in the Fair that are on the same topic – that doesn’t matter – you will each do it as individual and it will be very different! If you get different results – that will be interesting too – you can talk about why that happened!
For example: say two people decide to do an experiment on seeds and water… it sounds nice and simple! The chances are you will not use the same kind of seeds or grow them in the same environment. You may have put yours in the hot water cupboard and the other person put theirs on the window ledge… maybe you put water in every day and the other person only watered on the first day. You will get different results and that makes it interesting!