As you begin the process of developing a science fair project, the hardest part may likely be choosing a topic. This is a strange problem since the variety and range of options is infinite, yet it is difficult to imagine the perfect one for you. There are also different types of projects (data or survey research and experimentation for example) that also complicate the matter. Science fair projects are often done out of an educational requirement and designed for learning. However, science fair projects are also practical and enjoyable (if you choose the right topic).
The primary key in determining what topic to work on is observation. Science is all around us even though we pass by it without consideration. We simply need to slow down, stop even, and watch. Look for the unexpected. Look for things that make you ask ‘why did it do that?’ Let me put this another way. Recently, there has been an influx of television shows based on crime scene investigation. What these investigators do, is look at the objects in front of them and then have to figure out what variables causes those objects to end in its present state. They even run multiple experiments with different variable to find the test results that match the crime scene. This analogy is a little backward for our sake since investigators have the result of some undermined set of variables while science fair projects manipulate variables to find the results. However, the experiments done by investigator are very similar to what you might do in a science fair project.
Here are some ideas for coming up with a science fair project topic. As I mentioned above, observe. Break things down, ask ‘why’ or ‘how does that work’. Also, looking for topics related to your personal interests and hobbies will be extremely beneficial. Imagine working with something you already have a passion for. It would give you motivation, even excitement, for your project. It will also allow you to gain more insight and knowledge into your hobby. Other ideas can be found in magazines, encyclopedias, libraries, science textbooks and even talking with older relatives. If you are still in need of a project topic, seek out professionals in your community. They are often excited to share insight into their field of expertise and can make suggestions on the best ideas to start with. You may also gain ideas by checking out local hospitals, universities, government or state departments (like the Department of Agriculture or Department of Transportation), zoos, museums, aquariums, greenhouses, computer centers and water treatment plants. If you choose a topic related to any of these locations, it may work out that you may be able to work with these facilities for the purpose of observation or even basic research.
In determining what topic to explore, be sure to check out the resources listed in this article. Make notes of things that interest you or raise intrigue. Explore ideas that appeal to your passions and interests, so that you may set yourself up to succeed. The important thing is to find something that you will enjoy. Remember to slow down and observe. Everything can be broken down into a science. Good luck in your quest for a great science fair project topic.
Wesley Skiles is creator of ideasforasciencefair.com and has worked in fields related to electricity electronics and hydraulics.