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DIY Space: How to Do a Science Fair Project – Step 2

now it's time to develop your idea into a testable question Serena you had several really good ideas from our image can you pick one of those and lead us through how you might develop that into a testable question looking at the picture it seemed the plant growing out of the storm drain and that might lead to questions of how do plants grow under what conditions do they grow best and so you want to just pick one idea one thing to test so I might restrict my question to how much dirt does a plant need to grow or you could decide instead to test different fertilizers but you want to pick one bite size science question and then use that to set up your science investigation okay so you might be able to vary the amount of dirt and we would want to keep track of the amount of dirt or the different types of fertilizers how many types of fertilizers might you try generally want to experiment with probably at least three different options for each one it'll of course depend on your science question but if you just have one data point of course that doesn't really tell you anything you need to to compare and then three to really start seeing a trend and then obviously more if possible is usually better okay so you'll want to be sure to measure your results somehow measuring the results on a plant might involve it just depends on what you're measuring if you're looking for the health of the plant take a look at plants height if it's a blooming plant how many flowers perhaps come out you can look at its root system perhaps just depends on what you're measuring okay so the question would be something along the lines of how does this affect this and your your this and this would have to be specified very clearly so that we mean you would be measuring either how does fertilizer affect plant growth in height or how does fertilizer affect number of flowers so you would need to make sure that you specify your input variable and your output expectation mm-hmm okay so our B tell me about one of the things I saw in this image that you could ask a question about and what your development of that question would entail well like I said being an engineer first thing I think of is how to make things better so I saw the car and for you kids I don't recommend borrowing your parents car for this well my idea is get a mousetrap and you can actually build a mousetrap car from this there's two kind of cars you can have one for distance and you can have one for speed so either pick first whether you want to build a hot rod or a Prius how do you make a car go long distance with the same equipment four wheels a mousetrap and some sort of pulley and lever system to transfer the energy from the mousetrap to the wheels you can change the wheel size you can change the wheel diameter you can change the kind of traction the width of the wheels you can change the length of the mousetrap arm and playing with those variables you can arrive at a long distance car or a hot rod there are instructions all over the internet on how to build a basic mousetrap car so you can find that and then introduce your variable remember you want to ask your question how does this affect this and so perhaps as RB suggested you would want to vary the wheel diameter and say how does wheel diameter affect distance traveled or how does wheel diameter affect speed or even with the traction changed how does traction affect distance remember both of your variables need to be measurable so you need to be able to quantify your traction or your diameter and then measure your distance or your speed you start to use a regular mousetrap and be careful not to catch your fingers join us next to see how we might conduct an experiment and develop our data collection mechanisms

Activities

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