Strategies for organizing successful science projects

The organization of a school science project consists of several areas. The student should research the topic of interest before assembling and displaying the science project. This should be a priority. The topic of interest is simply the subject that the student is fascinated by. With effective and concise research and strong references, students can possess an award winning science project. Research on the topic of interest should require discipline and thorough investigation. The student should be prepared for any unexpected questions from judges, educators or spectators. The main components of a school science project are:

  • title and author
  • hypothesis
  • materials
  • results
  • discussion
  • conclusions
  • references

Title and Author (Título y Autor)

In this section, the student should clearly state the title of the science project. The title should have concise keywords to provide enough information about the project. Some science committees provide the specific rules and regulations.

  • Avoid long titles.
  • Avoid words difficult to pronounce or read.
  • Avoid calligraphy font.
  • Use clear, large font.

It should also display the principal author or authors that contributed to the project.

  • The main author is always listed first followed by subsequent authors.
  • Avoid listing authors in alphabetical order unless otherwise stated.
  • In the scientific field, authors are listed in a hierarchy manner.

Hypothesis (Hipótesis)

This is the main idea of the science project. Very often, it correlates with the title of the science project. Actually, it is almost always stated in a form of a question.

A hypothesis is an educated guess. It is the main question that the student is asking about the topic of interest. Hence, the hypothesis is the scientific question whether it can be proved or not.

If research was done thoroughly, then the hypothesis question can easily be formed. Almost always, hypothesis emerges from researching about the topic of interest.

Materials (Materiales)

This section simply states the items used for the science project. It should clearly list the items necessary for another student to repeat the experiments. This provides the validity and precision of the experiments and the scientists. Experiments are sometimes repeated many times for accuracy and precision.

  • Be specific in listing the materials used.
  • Use the metric system when describing any type of measurement.
  • Use numerical or bullet form to list items.
  • Avoid long descriptions.

Results (Resultados)

Depending on the length of the experiments necessary to test the hypothesis, then results can be developed. This section simply states the findings according to the experiments conducted by the student. Many times in science, the experiments may or may not go as planned. And that is perfectly fine. But be sure to state the facts not opinions.

  • Avoid biased statements.
  • Be clear about the findings.
  • Avoid statements that start with ‘this didn’t work’.
  • Avoid blaming science partners (if any) if experiments failed. Failed experiments may not necessarily mean a negative.
  • Use concise words to describe events.
  • Use the past tense to describe experiments.
  • Use complete sentences to describe results.

Discussion (Discusión)

Although sometimes omitted, this section provides a brief description of the experiments performed. Students can elaborate by discussing any drawbacks in experiments. But avoid making personal statements.

Conclusions (Conclusión)

This part of the science project basically informs the reader about the summary of the experiments and hypothesis. Here, a clear statement is made. The student should state whether the hypothesis was proven or not, according to experiments performed.

  • Avoid unambiguous statements.
  • Be specific.
  • Avoid all positive statements.
  • Use short complete sentences.

References (Referencias)

This section entails the main works that students used to research and develop experiments. Students should follow MLA or APA formats, if necessary. In organizing science reports, five steps should be followed for a more comprehensive and concise project.

After all the dedication and hard work, students should be proud of such a great achievement. In putting effort into your own work, it requires discipline and self-motivation. These are wonderful traits any student should be proud of and provides a successful future for other science projects.

Advertisements

Science homework help: 7 best science project sites for kids

Science projects are probably the last thing on parent’s to-do list. And although the school year is just beginning for some students, many parents can find help at some online resources. Many of us might be wondering how to help our children with their science projects. Many of us may not even know where to begin. Of course, the online sites will provide a sea of infinite amount of information available.

As educators and parents, we look for the best for our children. And when it comes to them surfing the Internet, it is no different.

Here, seven best sites that are safe for children to gather information about certain projects are presented. But don’t leave children to seek data by themselves. Help them by surfing and looking for information together.

iStockphoto

USDA Agricultural Research Service – Sci4Kids

Amazingly enough, this site provides plenty of information on countless of experiments that can be done. The site is organized in 4 sections: science spotlight, science projects, teacher’s desk and cool careers. In the science project section, you’ll find information on the different parts of a science project: research, hypothesis, procedure, results, and conclusion. In the teacher’s desk section, you’ll find useful resources about lessons, activities, and other links.

Science Museum Science Fair Project Ideas – Try Science

This site has so much information in regards to physical, biological, earth and chemical science. It is also organized in 3 different sections: parents, teachers, and scientist/engineers.

There’s also a cool interactive experiments section that kids can explore. The teachers’ section has useful links and other resources as well as more activities. The site can also be viewed in Spanish.

Science Fair Projects Science Buddies – Parents Resources

Since 2002, this site has been recommending and providing information to parents and educators about science projects. In the parent resource section, you’ll find useful information in regards to how to do a science project, significance of science projects, and documentaries. It also has a great section on how to be safe online and how sites may gather information online.

ipl2: information you can trust – Internet Public Library (IPL) and the Librarians’ Internet Index (LII)

This site has a very useful section about science projects. It has compile information in regards to animals/zoology, plants/biology, earth science, physics, chemistry, machines/engineering, human health, consumer products, mathematics, and computers. This useful information and links are all categorized according to each subject.

PBS – Sid the Science Kid

We love this site because of its simplicity to explain science terms to preschoolers. The site also provides plenty of resources about how to approach science with your kids. Science can be a rewarding experience for parents and children when they explore together.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Cool Science – Cool Science for Curious Kids

This site presents science in 5 very cool projects for kids: plant-parts, air junk, critters, butterflies, and inch square. Plant-parts and critters require a plug-in to interact with these sections. It also provides some great information to parents about how to talk to kids about science and its importance.

Annenberg Learner – Journey North (A global study of wildlife migration and season change)

This is a magnificent site to explore about animal sightings and how it affects some of the basic habits in our environment.

Some plug-ins may be needed to view videos in certain lessons. This site provides plenty of information about the biology of Monarch butterflies, Robins, Hummingbirds, Tulips, Whooping Cranes, Gray Whales, Bald Eagles, Sunlight/Mystery, and Other Species.

Although one site is available in Spanish (Try Science), bilingual parents can always use a translator from their web browser or available through a plug-in.

Science is an ever learning process. By having the right tools like great educational resources, students can learn so much from the physical and chemical world.

5 steps to organize a school book report

organize school book report

For many students, whether bilingual or not, book report writing often seems like a dreaded task. The unforeseen homework that has to be done in a limited amount of time is a daunting thought. The deadline alone can be a stressful reminder of the book report yet undone. Although it may seem like a never-ending assignment to write book reports, organization is key to a great book report. When writing the next project, try to follow these 5 steps to an excellent composition:

1. Brainstorming

When you brainstorm, ideas are formed when you spend time just writing about your topic. For instance, writing down several ideas randomly can help to figure out the topic of interest or subject. It can also help to show the type of book report to write. To help start some creative ideas, use the local or school library to browse the books, periodicals, or Internet.

Ideas may be produced best if they are organized in different sections.

Graphic Organizers

Using graphic organizers can help you brainstorm. By making different diagrams or grids on a sheet of paper or electronic device, many different ideas can be categorized according to the type of information being shown.

For instance, dates and locations can be categorized in events while quotes, articles or books published, or photographs can be categorized in works.

2. Introduction

Whether the book report is about a biography or a description about an event, the introduction should be as descriptive as possible. In this part of the book report, 3 to 5 sentences should be able to show the type of book report, the name of the person or place, and the tone of the paper.

Some examples of the type of book reports are biographies, historical events, chronological order of science events, or anecdote of a personal event.

Examples of tone of writing could be compare and contrast, list of sequential events, or simply a factual narration of a personal experience. This section of the book report should be kept short, concise, and precise. Good choices of words are action verbs and specific nouns. Be aware not to shift verb tenses from past to present tenses.

organize school book report
Improve homework techniques

3. Main Idea

The main idea of any paragraph should specifically state the topic of interest and its purpose. The subject matter should clearly be stated with specific nouns and action verbs. The main idea of the book report should be a short complete sentence.

In rare cases, it is possible the main idea can be in a couple of sentences. Try to keep the focus of the topic in one sentence. Make sure to address the purpose of the writing about the topic at beginning of the introduction. This should lead to the next section of the book report.

4. Key Points

The supporting points in any book report should range between 3 to 5 key points, if possible. If it is necessary, expand the supporting points in more detail. This section should be the body of the book report.

Key points should be relevant and concise. A good way to organize supporting details could be using an outline form. Many word processing programs can now help to organize book reports.

But book report writing and outline writing should be kept as different documents to avoid any confusion. The supporting points should come from the research on the subject.

It is possible to include photographs, diagrams, or sketches within this section. However, these illustrations should be relevant to the subject. Other good examples of supporting evidence could be quotes from the subject or about the topic of interest.

Proper reference technique should always be followed according to official academic citation formats like Modern Language Association (MLA) or American Psychological Association (APA). A reference list should be compiled at the end of the book report.

5. References

Many art works, photographs, historic dates and events, quotes, Internet sites, and articles are used within the book report as supporting evidence. They should be cited clearly. There are many ways to cite a reference. The best format to follow for a book report is the MLA or APA.

These guidelines have very simple steps to follow to cite specific works. References are also very widely used in the academic arena. Many of these guidelines now have specific rules to better reference Internet and social media sites.

Even though students are solely responsible for writing book reports, parents and caregivers should encourage students to complete the assignments on time. Adults should motivate the students to finish and help with any questions or concerns they may have when writing book reports or homework.

To help parents and caregivers in the quest of book writing or homework, visit Kids Health and their homework tips, which are accessible in English and Spanish.