The first thing a scientist needs is a log book. So you will need one for your science fair project. A log book is a diary of recordings. Record your thoughts, notes about readings, interview notes, or anything related to your project. You will also record data in your log book.
(This article is the first in a series of 10 which walks a student and his parent through creating a science fair project. See the end of this post for links to the other articles. )
The Log Book
You can use a bound notebook, such as a composition book or a spiral bound notebook, or a binder with loose leaf. Try to write neatly in your log book. If you make a mistake, just put a line through it. Every time you write a new entry in your log book, put the date first.
Do not use any proper names in your log book or anywhere else in your project. The judges want to be fair so they do not want to know whose project it is. You can say “my mom” or “my neighbor” or something like that, but no names.
Use tabs in your log book to indicate the different sections. Some sections you might include are background material, problem, hypothesis, study design, results, conclusions, etc. (Don’t worry; I’ll explain these sections in the coming articles.) The tabs will help the judges locate the different sections of your project.
Your first assignment is to get a log book and some tabs to attach to the pages (if you are using a bound notebook) or some binder dividers if you are using a binder.
Note to Parents
It is important to remember throughout the project that this is the student’s project, not the parent’s. Try to help your student “own” the project as much as possible. The adult has three roles in the science fair project – mentor, coach, and gopher. I will explain mentor and coach later. For this step you will probably be a gopher. A gopher assists the student in obtaining the materials needed for the project.
This is also a good time to help your child decide who will participate in the project. In many science fairs, multiple students may participate in one project. Check your fair rules. So students may participate individually or with siblings or a group of friends. The project is usually judged at the grade level of the oldest child in the group.This article is part of the Creating a Science Fair Project series. See the list below for links to the other articles in this series.
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 1 - The Log Book
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 2 – Choosing a Topic
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 3 – Collect Information
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 4 – Problem and Hypothesis
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 5 – DesignType Category
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 6 – The Procedure
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 7 – Run Your Study
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 8 – Analyze and Interpret Your Results
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 9 – Arrive at a Conclusion
- Creating a Science Fair Project Step 10 – Create Your Display