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HOW TO FIND IDEAS FOR
SCIENCE FAIRS

Giorgio Carboni, July 1999, updated December 2003
Translation edited by Jennifer Spears

 


CONTENTS


PRESENTATION

Every year in the schools of the United States of America, Canada, and other countries, science fairs are organized during which experiments done by students are showcased. Students have to find an idea for an experiment and then perform it by themselves. At these fairs, the best works are awarded.

These events are particularly productive for students because scientific activities require mental discipline, clear ideas, organization in the collection of data and in their handling. They favor the learning of objective and concise writing methods. Also, they incite the studentís curiosity in the field investigated, a curiosity that often remains throughout the studentís lifetime. Success in these activities spurs children on to continue in this path. These experiments even reveal themselves to be useful in oneís subsequent professional life.

Many readers of the Fun Science Gallery write to us asking for ideas for science fair projects. In this article, we give them some clues about how to find ideas for experiments. This article can be useful also to those teachers who are looking for lab activities to perform in class. In addition, this article can be appreciated by the amateur scientist always looking for new and amusing experiments.


HOW TO USE THE ARTICLES OF FUN SCIENCE GALLERY

As you know, the Fun Science Gallery is particularly dedicated to amateur scientists: children and adults with a great interest in science who possess a good skill for building things. In any case, in the body of our articles, we also keep in mind the world of schools. And so, many articles describe experiments that are quite simple, suitable for realization in classrooms.

Nevertheless, people who arrive at the Fun Science Gallery for the first time and are in a hurry to find an idea for an experiment risk overlooking what this site can offer instead. In fact, the articles of the Fun Science Gallery are generally quite long, but within them little easy-to-do experiments are often described. Nevertheless, it is necessary to read the articles to know what are the simple, little experiments. Following

In this page, there is a summary of the Fun Science Gallery's articles, with the aim of helping visitors who have not read our articles find some experiments to do.


SEARCHING IN OTHER SITES

The page: Fun Science Galleryís "Other Sites" assembles links to sites for amateur scientists and schools. On this page, you will find the following paragraphs:

- Sites with Original Science Experiments. This gives you links to sites which describe original experiments.

- Hands-on Science Museums. Many of the experiments shown in the exhibits can easily be reproduced.

- Lists of Scientific Sites. Here you will find several lists of scientific sites, many of which contain experiments.

- Science Fairs. Gives specific links on science fairs.


USING SEARCH ENGINES

Search engines are very useful in finding experiments and information on science fairs. We have found the Google search engine particularly useful because it sorts the documents found based on pertinence to our query. In any case, you can also use the other engines with success.

With a search engine, look for:
"science experiments"
"science fairs"
"science fair projects"
"lab experiments"
"hands-on science"
"microscope construction"
(or "whateveryouwant construction")

BOOKS

In stores, you can find books on science experiments which can be done in schools as well as by those at the amateur level. For this purpose, go to a bookstore well furnished with scientific texts. To find these types of books, you can also go to a library. The Internet can also be of great aid to you for its ease and immediacy of use, allowing you to find numerous titles. You can also buy texts via the Internet and have them delivered to your house in a short time (if you are not in a hurry, request regular (ground/surface) shipment because express mail (and airmail) can be expensive).

With a search engine such as Yahoo, look for:

"science experiments" books
"science fair" books
"science projects" books

Since more and more books are also being published on CD, repeat the same searches substituting CD for book.


MAGAZINES

Some scientific magazines have columns dedicated to experiments for their readers. The most famous of these is without a doubt "The Amateur Scientist" of Scientific American magazine. The site listed below gives you a directory of titles for articles of this column. To obtain one of these articles, you should search a library which has a collection of this magazineís volumes.

http://earth.thesphere.com/SAS/SciAm/sciamidx.html

CONCLUSION

This article aimed at giving you useful indications on finding ideas for performing scientific experiments.


In stores and on the Net, there is a lot of documentation on lab experiments. Finding a good idea for an experiment in a book or on the Internet is simple enough, but donít forget that for finding new ideas we also have our imaginations. It may seem that coming up with an original idea is not so easy, but try it all the same. Often you get very good results and you will gain a greater satisfaction from them! If you have a good idea, communicate it to a website which maintains a list of ideas for experiments. We might also be able to post an article written by you.


 


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