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Science Fair Information for Honors Classes

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2000 - 2001 Project Guidelines for High School Honors/GT Students

  1. All Biology I-Honors and GT students design and complete an independent science investigation which is compatible with the content of the honors course. Students in the other honors/GT science classes will choose one of the following options:
  2. If you are enrolled in two honors science courses concurrently, you will be required to complete only one investigation. However, you will receive the same grade for both courses.
  3. Class time will be allocated to explain the project requirements. The majority of the project development will be done outside the school day. Your parents may assist you in gathering materials, critiquing your work, etc., but the project should be your work, not your parents.
  4. You are expected to provide the materials required to complete your investigation. You should use common household equipment and supplies where possible. If additional materials from the school are required, check with your teacher for the correct procedure.
  5. Investigations will be designed to incorporate the steps of the scientific method. The investigation should include an identified variable and control and be repeated where possible to verify results.
  6. This investigation should be of your own design. This can include a modification of a prepared laboratory investigation.
  7. There is a designated timeline outlining work to be completed each six weeks.
  8. All investigations will be submitted in notebook format. You will receive guidelines for what information must be included.
  9. Investigations will be graded during the fourth sixth weeks and will count as one(1) major grade. Your research paper will count as a major grade. During the course of this assignment, daily grades may also be taken. If you present your project on a tripanel and participate in the building science fair, then a major grade of “A” on the final submission will earn three bonus points and a “B” will receive two bonus points on the six weeks average.
  10. All investigations must comply with the rules and timelines of the Houston Science and Engineering Fair. Your teacher will have the current guidelines. Research Plans are required for all investigations and must be completed and approved prior to the beginning of your experimentation.
  11. All investigations must also comply with Klein ISD Board policies and administrative directives. This prohibits the launching of rockets or using other explosive devices on any Klein ISD campus.
  12. I received the entire packet of Science Fair information.

We, the undersigned, have read the science investigation guidelines, and we understand that we are responsible for following the science investigation guidelines.

Parent/Guardian Signature _________________________________ Date__________
Student Signature _________________________________ Date_________

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2000 - 2001 Science Investigation Schedule

The following are due dates for the Science Investigation this year.

*18 AugProject Guidelines Responsibility Form due (signed by student and parent)
*11 SepTopic of Investigation due
**10 OctBackground research paper due
*30 OctResearch plan(protocol)with safety reveiw form due
 5 JanReturn all school equipment
**8 JanTurn in investigation report (and tripanel if applicable).
 5 FebScience Fair.
 7 FebJudging - Science Fair
 8-9 FebInvestigations(and tripanels) removed from KOHS.
 22-24 MarRegional Science Fair
*Daily grade
**Major grade

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How to Write Your Science Project Research Paper

  1. Score Sheet - You will receive a copy of the score sheet that will be used to grade your paper.
  2. Guidelines - If you follow these guidelines exactly, you will be able to produce a well-constructed paper, and you will be rewarded with an outstanding test grade.
  3. Prepare a cover sheet with your name, period and project problem.
  4. Place the score sheet, with the identifying information completed, under the cover sheet before handing in your completed paper. Do not staple the score sheet as part of your paper.
  5. Compile your research into a paper that is organized, well written and meaningful to your project. Your paper must be a minimum of two typed pages in length (or its equivalent when handwritten) and conform to the formatting described in number 6. Fifteen points will be immediately deducted for a paper of insufficient length.
  6. If you type your paper, the research should comprise a minimum of two pages two pages, double-spaced, with default margins and typeface of 12 points. Default margins have top and bottom margins equal to one inch; they have left and right margins equal to 1.25 inches. Only Arial or Times New Roman typeface is allowed.
  7. If you do not type your paper, the research should comprise four pages written in black ink and on only the front side of each page.
  8. Use internal documentation to give credit to the appropriate author by writing the author’s last name and the page number(s) of the reference used in parenthesis after each sentence or paragraph cited. If you copy a passage word-for-word, be sure to enclose it in quotation marks.
  9. Prepare a bibliography in which you list all of your references, including those that you may not use in your actual paper. Number each reference and list it alphabetically by the author’s last name. (You will be given a handout explaining the correct citation of a reference.) You must have a minimum of three references that you actually use in your paper. Your textbook or your teacher’s notes may not be used as a reference.
  10. State the problem without using any personal pronouns (See number 15.).
  11. State your hypothesis as an “If ………. then ……….” sentence. Write your statement in clear and concise terms and do not use any personal pronouns. Your hypothesis is your answer to this problem (See number 15.). Your references should support what you feel is the answer to your question. In other words, it was your background research that led you to this answer. The background research that led you to this answer is what you must describe in your research paper. Only this description will earn appropriate points for paper length.
  12. Describe the materials and equipment that you will use when conducting your experiment. Describe how you will use them to experimentally determine an answer to your question.
  13. Explain in detail how you plan to conduct your experiment. The procedure should be written in second person understood. Be sure to list the control, the dependent variable, and the independent variable. You should include drawings (to scale) for anything that must be constructed as part of your experiment. Also, include diagrams if they make your experiment more understandable. Remember - your procedure should be described so well that anyone could perform the experiment and get results that are almost identical to yours! Describe how you will conduct your experiment to determine an answer to your question.
  14. When writing your paper, you should use correct grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and spelling. Also remember that neatness in presentation is essential.
  15. When putting your paper together, the bibliography should be on a separate page from the background research. Put the problem and hypothesis on the same page. Describe the procedure and the materials in the text of your paper. Staple all pages together in the top left-hand corner. Donot put your paper in a folder, notebook or in clear plastic protectors.
  16. Include any formulas or constants that will be used in your data analysis. Include units and define variables.
  17. If a historical background is included in your paper, it cannot exceed ˝ page. No points are awarded for this section!

Additional Directions

  1. The two-page limitation applies only to your background research. All formulas, diagrams, drawings, etc. that you include in your paper do not count as part of the minimum length requirement.
  2. This assignment will count as one test grade during the second six weeks grading period.
  3. Ten points per day will be deducted from your grade if the paper is handed in late. After three days, you will have earned a zero test grade.
  4. Surveys will require a minimum sample size of 150. Participatory experiments will require a total of 50 people. Plant investigations will require a minimum of 50 plants in the control group and a minimum of 50 plants in each experimental group. Animal studies will require a sample size approved by your teacher.

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Score Sheet for Science Project Research Paper

Points Allowed
Points Earned
1. Cover Sheet
2. Score Sheet - completed
3. Research - appropriate to your problem
Internal Documentation (MLA)
4. Bibliography
Three References (minimum)
Correct Citation (MLA)
Correct Typeface and size
5. Problem
6. Hypothesis
7. Materials described
8. Procedure described
Control stated
Dependent variable stated & described
Independent variable stated & described
Formulas, constants, &/or known values
9. Grammar & sentence structure
Spelling (no more than 3 misspelled words
Total Points
Late Points
(-10, -20, -30)
Final Grade

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Science Investigation Grading Sheet


This grading sheet must be submitted along with your science investigation. If it is not included, two points will be deducted from your grade.

Title of Investigation:_____________________

Points Allowed
Points Earned
Title Page
Table of Contents
Background research/Bibliography
Data, Observations, Calculations
Visual Documentation
Proper order
Quality of presentation
Difficulty level (Surveys: Maximum of 7)
Late (penalty is ten points/day for three days)
Total Points
Entered in Fair
0, +2, +3

Please report my grade to my other science teacher(s):_____________________

Explanation of Items

  1. Title page: List your name, period, and investigation title.
  2. Table of contents: List the sections of your paper and the page numbers where each begins.
  3. Background research/Bibliography:
    MLA Guidelines for Electronic Media
    MLA Guidelines for Printed Media
  4. Problem/Hypothesis: State your problem and hypothesis.
    You must restate on separate piece of paper at this point even though it is in original Research Plan.
  5. Materials: Give a numbered list of the materials and metric quantities that you used. Be sure to include blank copies of surveys if applicable to your project.
  6. Procedure: Explain step-by-step what experiment you did. You must repeat your experiment a minimum of five times unless otherwise approved by your instructor.
  7. Data (10 points), Observations (5 points), and Calculations (15 points).
    • Data should be in table form. Everything should be labeled properly with correct titles and keyed separately. Surveys and consent forms must be in separate envelopes and placed in numerical order. (i.e.: If you have 174 surveys, you should have 174 consent forms.) Be sure to include a blank copy of the survey used. When appropriate, data must be interpreted graphically with the independent and dependent variables labeled with their correct units. Include drawings with labeled dimensions of any apparatus that you used or constructed.
    • Observations need to include qualitative and quantitative information.
    • All calculations you performed must be shown. All variables should be identified with their correct units. Any equations used in your calculations should be stated and described. All constants used must be stated with their correct units and described. Slope calculations for your graphs must be shown when appropriate. The slope you determined (with its correct units) must be recorded.
    • If graphing calculators or a computer data analysis is used for this section, copies of all tables, graphs, and regression analyses must be included.
  8. Visual documentation: Include a minimum of three photographs covering the data-collecting period of your investigation. Explain each mounted photograph and date it. Your photographs should have a visible sign bearing the letters KOHS in the picture. Include captions with your photographs.
  9. Conclusion: Evaluate and interpret your results. Write what you think your data shows or seems to indicate. You may include your opinions. State if your hypothesis is supported or rejected. Your conclusion is an argument, which supports your opinion of whether or not your hypothesis is supported or rejected. You must refer to your data as you are trying to convince someone of your opinion.
  10. Error analysis: : In this section identify the types of error encountered in your investigation and how they affected your results. Identify systematic errors, those that affected each measurement the same way each time it was taken. Identify random errors, those that affected each measurement differently each time it was taken. Describe how you tried to minimize the effects of these random and systematic errors. Percentage error calculations must be included if there is a known value for the results of your investigation.
  11. Extension: Include any changes you might make if you were to continue studying this topic.
  12. Proper order: All of the previous pages must be in the order listed on the grading sheet.
  13. Quality of presentation: Subjective grade based on the visual appearance of your written report and, if applicable, your tripanel. These points are reflective of neatness, numbered pages, and clarity.
  14. Difficulty level: Subjective grade awarded by the teacher. Surveys will be awarded a maximum of 7 points. A maximum of five points will be awarded to topics chosen from Science Fair Abstracts on the Physics Web site. To receive the full ten points, a project must be an appropriate lab activity for an 11th or 12th grade student.

The following must be included if the investigation is to be entered into the Klein Oak High School Fair.

  1. Protocol Booklet (Research Plan)
  2. Tripanel: MAXIMUM dimensions allowed are 30 inches deep by 48 inches wide by 9 feet tall.

Additional directions

  1. To submit your report together, stack the pages and secure with a staple. If for some reason this is not feasible, you may use a three-ring binder.
  2. Surveys will require a minimum sample size of 150. Participatory experiments will require a minimum sample size of 50. Plant investigations will require a minimum of 50 plants in your control group and a minimum of 50 plants in each experimental group. Animal studies will require a sample size approved by the teacher.
  3. The visual documentation for this investigation must cover the entire data collecting period of the investigation (One picture wouldn't cover three months of work).

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Things I Look for When Grading Projects

Let this serve as a checklist for your project. Make sure that you have done each of these!

  1. Original background research paper is included with its grade sheet.
  2. Science Fair grade sheet is included.
  3. MLA is correct on paper and bibliography shows date of visit.
  4. Control, independent variable, dependent variable are each described (preferably on page with procedure).
  5. All data is included.
  6. A minimum of five trials were performed.
  7. Observations are included.
  8. In error analysis, at least one systematic and one random error are described.
  9. All calculations are shown.
  10. Appropriate units are included.
  11. Conclusion specifically refers to the data collected and calculations performed (cite numbers!).
  12. The project was performed according to your description in your protocol.
  13. If you know how to perform a calculation, it was done. For example, you calculated the coefficient of friction to determine which surface had the most friction rather than just timing how long it took a block to cross it.