Experimental Projects

How do I do an Experimental Project?

This is a great type of project to do!  We encourage children to try this kind of project – and older children (11 years and over) may be able to enter the NIWA Auckland Regional Science Fair!

You will need to include:
Hypothesis or Aim
Hypothesis: the idea that you are going to prove or disprove.  eg. Super Bright Cleaner is the best cleaner.
Aim: the aim of your project.  eg. ‘To find which cleaner works best’ or ‘To find if there is a cleaner that is better than “Super Bright”‘.
This could be your title – or you might choose a catchy title to attract people’s attention.

Explain why you were interested in this experiment – this adds interest for the reader.

Materials and Methods (or What I used and What I did)
In this section you are describing EXACTLY what you did and how you did it.  So exact that someone could follow your instructions and do exactly what you did.
Include diagrams if relevant. Take lots of notes – in a special exercise book or folder.

In this section you are describing what results you got – the best way of displaying your results is by using a table or a graph of some sort.  But graphs and tables need proper detailed headings and labels so we know exactly what the numbers mean.
In the Results section you just state results you do not make comments on them. That comes next.

This is where you say what your results actually mean.
You also decide here whether your hypothesis was proven or not.  Go back to what you were trying to prove?  Finding out that your hypothesis was wrong is a great result and just as important as finding out that your hypothesis was correct.
It is quite good to repeat your experiment to make sure that you get the same results again – this is another reason for doing SHORT experiments!
There is no such thing as a conclusion – “It didn’t work” – if you designed the experiment properly and carried it out well you will have found out something.

You should always include a list of the resources you used in your project.
For example:
Websites, people you consulted, books you read… encyclopaedia articles, whatever.
No-one ever does anything without some resources and you should acknowledge this.  You will have got ideas for the method, or help in interpreting your results or compared your results with what other people have done.

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