Science Fair Central 10 Steps to an Invention Project
1. Choose a problem: Find a problem that you or someone you know has experienced. Keeping the problem local increases the likelihood that it will be a manageable project. 2. Research it : Find out what others know. Use primary sources such as your own experiences or local experts. Use secondary sources, such as books, articles from the web or magazines. 3. Suggest a solution and explain why it should work: Propose an idea for solving the problem. Sometimes factors such as size, safety or limited time require that you use a model. (let’s say you are improving a bridge design). Once the model proves that the solution can work, your project is complete. But in real life, the solution could help someone build that bridge. 4. Design the solution: Come up with a way to measure the change your invention will make. Measurement is the key to good science and good engineering. Just saying that what you did made a difference is no good. You must present evidence to yourself and to others that the change occurred. 5. Validate the design: Before presenting the project for approval, ask yourself these questions: Is it safe to do? Do I have permission to do it? What materials do I need and can I get them? Do I have enough time to build and test my idea and to write it up? If it involves living things, will they be safe? 6. Get the project approved: an adult needs to approve the project before you start. 7. Build the solution: This takes the most time. How much depends on the project, but you need to leave yourself time to write up the results and prepare the presentation. 8. Collect data: Inventors and engineers collect data to help them know if their solution is working. Without the data there is no way to demonstrate that the invention or idea worked. 9. Make sense of the data: how do you know it worked, or didn’t work? Look for patterns in the data. Use a table or other graphic organizer to help organize the data so it can be reviewed. Often a graph of the data, if appropriate, helps to see trends or compare before and after data. scient ists: Look at sample projects 10. Develop a report and share it with your fellow scientists: and the project checklist to be sure you include everything you should.