Types of Science Projects
by Ron Kurtus (23 December 2015)
There are three major types of science projects. You can engineer or construct a scientific device, provide a demonstration of a scientific principle, or perform an experiment to answer a question.
Questions you may have include:
- How do you construct a device?
- How do you demonstrate a principle?
- What is an experiment?
This lesson will answer those questions.
You can build or consruct a device, machine, or mechanical structure, usually with the purpose of improving strength or performance.
Sample devices you could construct are:
- Pulley configuation
Such devices could also be used to demonstrate a scientific principle.
Display projects involve a creative assembly of a board and construction of a model to show a visual representation of a larger fact. Making a model of the solar system, a house, or of a simple electric circuit are considered display projects.
A straight demonstration is simply showing the effect of some scientific principle. It is demonstrating how you can cause some effect to occur.
For example, you can show how:
- Static electricity will cause a balloon to stick to the wall
- Salt will turn a flame bright yellow
- A hard-boiled egg can be sucked into a bottle
One type of science project is to make a device that will demonstrate some principle.
For example, you could make:
- A thermos bottle to demonstrate principles of thermal insulation
- An electroscope to demonstrate how to detect static electricity
- An electric battery from a lemon
Usually these experiments include using the devices to make some measurements or comparisons.
An experimental project starts with an observation of some phenomenon, followed by an educated guess or hypothesis of an explanation, and use of scientific method to find a solution. Then a a report detailing the results and conclusions and an abstract are written and submitted.
What would happen?
You can extend demonstrations to improve them or see what would happen if you did something different.
- What materials work the best to make a balloon stick to the wall?
- Does the temperature of the balloon make any difference?
- What other materials change the color of a flame?
- How far away can an electroscope detect a static charge?
- What materials work the best for making a thermos bottle?
- How long can you keep something cold or warm in various thermos'?
The three major types of science projects are that you can construct a scientific device, provide a demonstration of a scientific principle, or perform an experiment to answer a question.
Study your options before making a decision
Resources and references
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Types of Science Projects