Every child. Thinking critically. Solving problems.


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Create a project

The science and engineering practices are part of the framework from the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academy of Sciences and are meant to help guide teachers, parents, and students through a science and engineering project. It is important to note that these practices are part of a dynamic process, and students may revisit each one more than once as they investigate their topic.


Determine team size

Individual (1 student)
Team (2-3 students)
Group or class project (4+ students)

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Start a lab notebook

Tips and techniques for lab journals
Digital lab journals templates

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Choose a topic

Topics to avoid
Topics that are prohibited
Science or engineering?
Judging criteria forms used at SARSEF Regional Fair
Project categories

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Ask questions and identify problems

Background research
Determine a primary research question or problem

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Develop and use models

What are models?
Making adjustments

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Plan investigations

Thinking about variables
Developing a plan
Making predictions
Approval before experiment

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Document the procedure

Record methods
Make a list of materials

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Carry out investigations

Perform multiple trials
Ensure a quality sample size

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Collect data

Record in lab notebook
Aim for accuracy

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Review the data

Evaluate for completion
Explore raw data for patterns

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Perform calculations

Create graphs
Types of graphs
Explore data further

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Construct explanations and design solutions

Cause & effect versus correlation
What if predictions were false?
Engaging in argument from evidence

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Create a project presentation

Communicate your findings
Project presentation sections
Important notes for digital submissions

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Write a final research report

Details of what to include in a research paper

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Competing at fairs

Submit a project presentation
Interviews at the SARSEF Fair

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Judging criteria

Elementary school science and engineering judging criteria
Middle school science and engineering judging criteria
High school science and engineering judging criteria

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Getting help

Evidence of original work
Tips for parents
Additional help

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Step by step process

Research project process broken down into 8 steps
Printable step by step process handout

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