Archive for May, 2013

Finding a Good Question to base your Science Project on

A science project is essentially a series of experiments that help you prove or disprove a theory that you have about a certain question that you or someone else may have asked you. This question that you are trying to answer is the crux of your science fair project.

This means that finding a good question to base your science fair project on is very important. So how do you get this all important question. There are two ways that you can come up with scientific questions – observational research and co-relational research.Observational research is also known as ethnography.

It essentially means observing behavior to see if what people say they will do is actually what they will do. Here we will come up with questions based on the difference between what is expected to happen in a certain situation and what will actually happen.A large variety of scientific experiments can be based on this concept of ethnography.

Pick an experiment that can be repeated often under a variety of conditions and you can form a pretty good hypothesis based on it. Here your question will seek to answer if the results to the experiment change with the change in the conditions under which it is performed. This will generate enough data for a full fledged science fair project.

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Display Board Text

Having a good display board is of paramount importance to any science fair project. We spoke of the visual aspect of the display board relating to images in the last blog post, here we speak of the text that you will put on the board.

Text can be both hand written or computer printed for the display board. All you need to ensure is that the size is legible from a distance of five to six feet and that the font you choose is not so fancy as to interfere with understanding the words printed out.

Besides the size and font you will also need to consider what all information you want to give out in the display board pertaining to your science fair project. Not all details need to be shared here. Consider leaving out a few things so that the judges can question you about these obvious omissions.

That way you will get a chance to impress them with your oratory skills and in depth knowledge of the subject you have picked for the science fair project. To explain the basic details of what the project is all about on the display board, but don’t flood it with all the theory that you have picked up.

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Creating a Good Visual Display Board

There is no doubt that presentation makes a huge difference to your science fair project. If you manage to present the project in a good visual display the judges are that much more likely to take note of your work. Here are a few things that you can do to ensure that your display board does not jar the senses of the judges.

There are two elements that you need to place on the display board – images and text. The images will include pictures that you may have taken while the science project was in progress, graphs or charts depicting the findings of the project, graphics taken from the internet to explain the concepts being studied in the project and so on.

The key thing to remember is to keep the size of the images right. Do not blow them up into huge sizes hoping to fill up the area on the display board and don’t make them too tiny and too many to fit in the limited area available on the board. The image should be easily seen and all details that are pertinent to the experiment should be visible.

Try to leave some place between images on the display board to avoid giving an over crowded and cluttered look. Clutter does not come from an organized mind. So ensure that your organization skills are visible on the display board you put up for your science fair project.

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More Invisible Ink

So far we have covered lemon juice, baking soda, and milk as potential sources of invisible ink from the kitchen shelf. This science project to discover as many means of invisible ink as possible is not limited to kitchen ingredients. Here are a few more ways to write that secret message in invisible ink.

Take out your white crayon and write a message on white paper with it. It will not be visible straight off. To read the writing you can use some water paints to color up the paper. The area which is covered by the wax crayon will not get colored by water paints and the secret message will show up clearly.

Use petroleum jelly to write a message on any surface besides paper such as the walls of your room. This can be seen using a blacklight. You will have to turn off all the regular lights in the room for the writing to become visible. Works best at night. Similarly you can use UV ink on paper to write a secret message. This can also be made visible using a blacklight.

In case you don’t have a blacklight you have another option. Use cornstarch to make a paste with water. Use the resulting solution as invisible ink and to make it visible you will need to coat the paper with iodine solution.  Have more invisible ink options? Share them with us for this science project.

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Invisible Ink from the Kitchen Shelf

In the last blog post we saw how we could use lemon juice to write a note in invisible ink. This beats buying commercial invisible ink as you can get lemon juice from the kitchen any time you like and at a much more reasonable rate. Is lemon juice the only kitchen ingredient that can be used to make invisible ink? No, there are a few more. Consider this a science project to identify other sources of invisible ink in the kitchen.

Equal parts of baking soda and water make a fairly good invisible ink. Once you make the solution use a simple ear bud made of cotton to dip and write your secret message. Wait for the paper to dry. To read the message take some grape fruit concentrate and dip a paint brush in it. Paint the paper with the grape fruit concentrate to make the message appear.

Another good invisible ink that you can find easily in the kitchen is milk. Take some in a bowl and use with a cotton ear bud to print out your note on paper. Once the paper has dried and you want to make the message visible hold it against the light bulb of your table lamp. As the paper heats up your message will appear clearly. Can you find out more things to use as invisible in in this science project?


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