As part of your assessment in Science this year you will be required to complete a research investigation (similar to last year's plant project). Although some class time has been set aside for the Experimental Research Project you will need to complete most of the work at home, particularly the actual experiment. Students are not allowed to attempt another plant project unless they are new to the school this year.
This Research project should help you understand scientific method and give you an opportunity to participate in scientific processes. It is important that you choose your own topic because it gives you an opportunity to do science in an area in which you have a definite interest. The activity should be fun and allow you to learn more about a topic that is of interest to you.
- Scientific research involves choosing and defining a topic. Select a topic that has relevance, is realistic, within your capabilities and can be conducted at home. (Original and creative topics are encouraged).
- Ask questions about your topic -- Why?, What if?, How?
- Form a hypothesis - this is an educated ' guess ' as to what you think will happen under a certain set of circumstances.
- Plan your experiments thoroughly. A good design is essential to ensure appropriate scientific method. You will need to include a control and do a suitable number of trials.
- List the experimental equipment you will need.
- List any special resources you might use or specialists who may assist your investigations.
- Fill in the planning form by 19/7/11.
- This must include a detailed plan of your experiment. Many problems can be ironed out in the planning stage. Your teacher will then approve your project or discuss any alterations required.
If you are having difficulties in choosing a topic, there is a list of possible topics available. The following books are available for overnight loan in the library and may well be useful to help you choose a topic and conduct the investigation.
- A+ Projects In Biology (Janice Van Cleeve) 574.078 VAN
- A+ Projects In Chemistry (Janice Van Cleeve) 540.78 VAN
- The Complete Book Of Science Fair Projects (Julianne Blair Bochiniski) 507 BOC
Research Project ChecklistWhilst planning and conducting your experimental research project you must complete the research project checklist attached to this Course Information Booklet as you discuss this project with your teacher. This must be submitted with the draft & final report.
- Record any successful and unsuccessful procedures and results in a log book. Photographs of aspects of your experiment and of you completing the experiment should be included.
- Be prepared to change your ideas and procedures as you get results that you do not expect.
- Work logically through your results so as to investigate your original hypothesis.
- Hand in the first submission of your report by 30/8/11.
Writing The ReportYour report should be typed, computer printed or neatly written on A4 paper and presented in a clear plastic pocket. All pages in the report should be numbered and a table of the contents should be included immediately after the title page. Your report should also include the following headings.
ABSTRACT: This section should be brief, giving you a good idea of what was done and what was achieved (you may prefer to put this section at the end of the project as a SUMMARY).(5 - 10 lines)
INTRODUCTION: You must complete some background research on your chosen topic. This introduction should be relevant to the topic and also explain why the topic was chosen. (3/4 - 2 pages)
AIM: From this statement it should be clear what has been investigated and why it was investigated. This section should also include the hypothesis. (5 - 15 lines)
MATERIALS: List or description of the equipment you used. You must include photographs of your equipment.
METHOD: Make sure you consider the following:
- The method should be logical and test the hypothesis.
- Controls and adequate/appropriate conditions should apply to minimise variables.
- If your experiment involves the effect of a chemical (eg. fertiliser, sugar, salt etc., then a range of concentrations should be used.(3/4 - 1 page)
Analysis of Results.
- What do the results show?
- Do they support or disprove the hypothesis?
- Results are often poorly interpreted. Make sure you discuss trends.
- Any problems encountered should be discussed.
- Any suggestion for improvements to experimental design or data collection should be included in the discussion.
- A good ERROR ANALYSIS is also needed. Is there a ± error in any recorded measurements? How were random errors eliminated?
- What influence did conditions have on the results?
- Were there any variables not accounted for? (1 - 3 pages)
BIBLIOGRAPHY: A list must be included. Research is based on background information from books or other sources (some of this information should be included in the INTRODUCTION) How to cite and write a bibliography.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS: A brief list of thank-yous to those who have assisted you with your project.
This Research Project is a GRADED assessment task and is one of the Semester Two work requirements. Work submitted late will not be given a grade unless prior extension has been approved by the Science teacher, Science coordinator and Year Level coordinator.
Assessment of your project will be conducted in two parts. The first four criteria will be assessed, each out of 5 marks on the first submission. This will also be a draft of the final report; your teacher will give you feedback on how the final five criteria can be improved. The final five criteria will be assessed after the final submission of the completed project. The assessement criteria are shown below.
First submission: 30/8/11.
- Thoroughness of the planning & drafting process.
- Completeness & relevance of introduction.
- Clarity of aim, hypothesis & materials.
- Clarity & presentation of method & experimental design.
Final submission: 18/10/11.
- Care and detail in obtaining & recording comprehensive results.
- Presentation & analysis of results.
- Depth & quality of discussion.
- Complete abstract, conclusion, bibliography & acknowledgments.
- Format, presentation & originality.
Points to consider
- All experiments must be approved by your teacher at all stages of the Research Project.
- Any student that does not submit a plan or draft will not receive a final grade.
- 20 of the total 45 marks will be determined at the time of the draft submission.
- Do not do a large poster project. The required format is outlined on the previous page. Equipment/resources within the school are limited and it may not always be possible to borrow equipment for use at home.
- Do not do dangerous experiments which may be harmful to yourself, animals or others. Check with your teacher and parents if unsure.
- Your project may be eligible for entry into the Science Talent Search or the BHP Science competition where there are prizes, and much prestige, to be won. More details about STS will be given at a later date.