Science Fair & Robotics Pathfinder

Science Fair                            Robotics

The best projects come out of ideas you develop based on current research. Of course, there are a lot of things we can and can’t do because of safety, expense, and time issues. Here are some questions to keep in mind when evaluating whether or not a project would be good to do:

1. Are you personally interested in the investigation?

2. Could you do the investigation with limited outside assistance?

3. Could you finish it by the end of December?

4. Is it something that can be measured and tested? (It must have a testable hypothesis that involves controls and variables.)

5. Is the problem not a common problem where the answer is already known? (A question such as “Does a plant need light to grow?” would not be a good problem since the answer is already known.)

6. Is the question reasonable? (“Does lemonade affect a cow’s teeth?” is not a reasonable problem because cows do not drink lemonade.)

7. Is the problem challenging enough for my teacher to approve it?

8. Can I find enough relevant information on it to provide thorough background information?

9. Does the project have legitimate applications? Is there a reason for studying the subject?

These are just a few of the major questions you should keep in mind when trying to come up with ideas that will work.  

Protocol Forms

The Science Fair Protocol Forms have changed since last year.  When we get an update, we will post it here.

For now, here is the Science Fair Packet
  • Science Fair Overview
  • Important Rules
  • Important Dates
  • Awards
  • Project Areas
  • Entry Form
  • Technical Writing Contest Rules
  • Commitment Form
  • Travel Form

Research Help

This takes time!  Allow yourself time to search. If you don't find anything at first, don't give up.  Try something else.  Explore your resources.  You can always ask for help.  Coming up with a project idea is often the hardest part of the whole process. Remember: Write down everything you do and where you went in your journal. This will save you time from backtracking.  

In order to help you use Google more efficiently:
  • Google Advanced Search Tips - You can either click on "Advanced Search" when you are at Google or you can use these tips to narrow down your search.
A list of websites to help you find science fair project ideas and organize your project:
Starting with what is going on in the world of science is really the way to get the best ideas, but sometimes it helps to see what others have done for projects in the past. I do not want you copying a project, but it can help lead to better ideas of your own.  
A list of websites to help you with your research:
Other Science Fair Resources:
The majority of the information on this pathfinder will be more helpful to students participating in the science fair. Sorry:(  Here is some information that would be particularly useful to those participating in robotics.
Three of the resources mentioned above may be of use to those students participating in robotics.  They are as follows:
  • Google Advanced Search Tips - You can either click on "Advanced Search" when you are at Google or you can use these tips to narrow down your search.
  • Gale Databases: - You will need a password to access this site.  Ask your teacher or librarian for this information.  This site has links to more databases our school system has purchased.  The database that is most useful to you will depend on your project.  We have been very successful using Student Resource Center Junior and Student Resources in Context. Feel free to try all of them.
  • Facts on File - Science Online: - You will need a username and password for this site.  Again, ask your teacher or librarian for this information.
Topics for research:
This is not ALL the stuff you can be looking for.  This list is so you have a good starting point.
  • D.C. motors: how they work
  • axles: uses
  • gears: uses, "gear down", types (pinion, spur, etc.)
  • toggle switch
  • DPDT momentary switch
  • soldering: correct procedure
  • wiring: types, wiring from a motor to a switch
  • voltage: 6 volts vs. 12 volts
  • simple robots: how they work
  • practical uses for robots
  • history of the robot
Some information necessary to participate in the robotics competition are listed below. **Under Construction**
Some of the science fair information was found by the fabulous Mrs. Fowler at McCullough.  You can check out her website here.

These ARE NOT all the science fair and robotics websites you can find online. These ARE all websites that have valid information and are not just trying to get you to buy something. Be smart on the Internet. If you aren't sure about how useful or true a website is, ask for help!


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