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What is a Hypothesis? A hypothesis is a tentative, testable answer to a scientific question. Once a scientist has a scientific question she is interested in, the scientist reads up to find out what is already known on the topic. Then she uses that information to form a tentative answer to her scientific question. Sometimes people refer to the tentative answer as "an educated guess." Keep in mind, though, that the hypothesis also has to be testable since the next step is to do an… Read more
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Finding an Idea for Your Science Fair Project One of the most important considerations in picking a topic for your science fair project is to find a subject that you consider interesting. You will be spending a lot of time on it, so you do not want your science fair project to be about something that is boring. We know that finding a topic is the hardest part of a science fair project, and sometimes you just need a little help focusing on what sorts of topics would be of interest to… Read more
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Overview Your conclusions will summarize whether or not your science fair project results support or contradict your original hypothesis. If you are doing an Engineering or Computer Science programming project, then you should state whether or not you met your design criteria. You may want to include key facts from your background research to help explain your results. Do your results suggest a relationship between the independent and dependent variable? Read more
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Bacteria grow tremendously fast when supplied with an abundance of nutrients. Different types of bacteria will produce different-looking colonies, some colonies may be colored, some colonies are circular in shape, and others are irregular. The characteristics of a colony (shape, size, pigmentation, etc.) are termed the colony morphology. Colony morphology is a way scientists can identify bacteria. In fact there is a book called Bergey's Manual of Determinative Bacteriology (commonly termed… Read more
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While scientists study how nature works, engineers create new things, such as products, websites, environments, and experiences. Because engineers and scientists have different objectives, they follow different processes in their work. Scientists perform experiments using the scientific method; whereas, engineers follow the creativity-based engineering design process. Both processes can be broken down into a series of steps, as seen in the diagram and table. … Read more
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Below are standard formats and examples for basic bibliographic information recommended by the Modern Language Association (MLA). For more information on the MLA format, see http://www.mla.org/style_faq. Basics Your list of works cited should begin at the end of the paper on a new page with the centered title, Works Cited. Alphabetize the entries in your list by the author's last name, using the letter-by-letter system (ignore spaces and other punctuation.) If the author's name is… Read more
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Doing a Fair Test It is important for an experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change one factor at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. For example, let's imagine that we want to measure which is the fastest toy car to coast down a sloping ramp. If we gently release the first car, but give the second car a push start, did we do a fair test of which car was fastest? No! We gave the second car an unfair advantage by pushing it to… Read more
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An Introduction to Agar With its distinctive smell, one can easily distinguish agar from the other materials commonly found in a laboratory. Chemically, agar is a polymer made up of subunits of the sugar galactose, and is a component of the cell walls of several species of red algae that are usually harvested in eastern Asia and California. Dissolved in boiling water and cooled, laboratory agar looks gelatinous. Although agar's chief use is as a culture medium for various microorganisms,… Read more
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Overview Take some time to carefully review all of the data you have collected from your experiment. Use charts and graphs to help you analyze the data and patterns. Did you get the results you had expected? What did you find out from your experiment? Really think about what you have discovered and use your data to help you explain why you think certain things happened. Calculations and Summarizing Data Often, you will need to perform calculations on your raw data in order to get the results… Read more
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Introduction Reading scientific literature is a critical part of conceiving of and executing a successful advanced science project. The How to Read a Scientific Paper guide can help you get the most out of each paper you read—first, of course, you have to actually get your hands on the paper! That's where this guide comes in. Below you'll find tips and resources for both searching for and acquiring free copies of scientific papers to read. Academic Search Engines: Resources for Finding… Read more
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Free science fair projects.