Helping your child with his science fair project is a lot easier once he decides what type of project he’d like to do. There are five basic types of science projects to choose from.
1. Investigatory or Investigative Projects: An investigative science fair project is the most common type. It involves using the scientific method to create a hypothesis and an experiment to test that hypotheses. For example, posing the question “Do plants grow better when fertilizer is used?” and then experimenting to come up with an answer.
2. Research Projects: A research project is basically a science report. It involves collecting information about a specific topic and presenting what you have discovered or learned. It’s typically best to start with a question. For example: “How does El Nino affect weather patterns?”
3. Demonstration Projects: A demonstration project is what many people typically think of when they think of the science fair. This type of project shows a scientific principle by recreating an experiment. Often, the demonstration will involve manipulating different variable to see what happens with change. One example of a very good visual demonstration is the Borax Snowflake.
4. Models: A model science fair project involves building a model to demonstrate a principle or concept. Ideally, what your child builds will be unique, but there are old-school go-to projects like the baking soda volcano, or the newer version, the Mentos and Diet Coke volcano.
5. Collections: This type of project can either be very interesting or very dull. A collection science project is just that, a collection of like items. A collection of leaves can be very pretty, but not very informative. It’s important that your child’s collection presents an overview or insight into a topic. For example, looking at different leaves from different neighborhoods and noting differences in appearance or growth based on the sunlight, pollution, etc., in each neighborhood has some scientific investigation involved.