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1 THIS BOOKLET BELONGS TO: Yes, I have read this booklet with my child. PARENT S NAME: PARENT S SIGNATURE: DATE: THIS BOOKLET IS TO BE KEPT IN STUDENT S BINDER AS A REFERENCE

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5 Even though we show the scientific method as a series of steps, keep in mind that new information or thinking might cause a scientist to back up and repeat steps at any point during the process. A process like the scientific method that involves such backing up and repeating is called an iterative process. Throughout the process of doing your science fair project, you should keep a journal containing all of your important ideas and information. This journal is called a laboratory notebook.

7 These are examples of bad science fair project topics that you should avoid:

8 Science Fair Project Question Checklist If you don't have good answers for the questions below, then you probably should look for a better science fair project question to answer. Here are some things to consider as you finalize your question:

9 Examples of Variables Variables in Your Science Fair Project Scientists use an experiment to search for cause and effect relationships in nature. In other words, they design an experiment so that changes to one item cause something else to vary in a predictable way. These changing quantities are called variables. A variable is any factor, trait, or condition that can exist in differing amounts or types. An experiment usually has three kinds of variables: independent, dependent, and controlled. The independent variable is the one that is changed by the scientist. To insure a fair test, a good experiment has only one independent variable. As the scientist changes the independent variable, he or she observes what happens. The scientist focuses his or her observations on the dependent variable to see how it responds to the change made to the independent variable. The new value of the dependent variable is caused by and depends on the value of the independent variable. For example, if you open a faucet (the independent variable), the quantity of water flowing (dependent variable) changes in response--you observe that the water flow increases. The number of dependent variables in an experiment varies, but there is often more than one. Experiments also have controlled variables. Controlled variables are quantities that a scientist wants to remain constant, and he must observe them as carefully as the dependent variables. For example, if we want to measure how much water flow increases when we open a faucet, it is important to make sure that the water pressure (the controlled variable) is held constant. That's because both the water pressure and the opening of a faucet have an impact on how much water flows. If we change both of them at the same time, we can't be sure how much of the change in water flow is because of the faucet opening and how much because of the water pressure. In other words, it would not be a fair test. Most experiments have more than one controlled variable. Some people refer to controlled variables as "constant variables." In a good experiment, the scientist must be able to measure the values for each variable. Weight or mass is an example of a variable that is very easy to measure. However, imagine trying to do an experiment where one of the variables is love. There is no such thing as a "love-meter." You might have a belief that someone is in love, but you cannot really be sure, and you would probably have friends that don't agree with you. So, love is not measurable in a scientific sense; therefore, it would be a poor variable to use in an experiment.

11 Advanced Topic -- Is it OK to Disprove Your Hypothesis? Is all science accomplished using this same method that is taught in schools and emphasized at science fairs? Should you worry if you end up disproving your hypothesis? Actually, the answers are no it's not, and no don't worry if you disprove your hypothesis. Learn more in this essay written by a veteran Science Buddies Adviser, Dr. Bruce Weaver. Hypothesis Checklist References Hypothesis. (2006, December 8). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved August 29, 2006, from

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