Parents' Guide to Science Fair Project Vocabulary

What Do Those Scientific Terms Mean?

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Science Fair Project Terms

Abstract: A brief summary of your child’s science fair project. An abstract should explain the project concisely, using about 200-250 words.

Analysis: The explanation of the data your child has gathered. The analysis will describe the results of the experiment, what those results proved, whether or not the hypothesis was correct (and why) and what your child learned.

Application: The real world implications of what an experiment discovered.

In other words, how that information can be used to make changes to how something is done.

Conclusion: The answer to the initial question posed by your child’s science fair project. The conclusion sums everything up.

Control: The component or variable of the experiment in which nothing changes or is changed.

Data: Data is information, specifically, the information gathered before, during and after an experiment that is used to reach a conclusion.

Dependent Variable: The dependent variable is the component or piece of the experiment that changes based on the independent variable.

Display Board: The free-standing cardboard, typically trifold, on which your child will display information about his science fair project. The display board is how the general public will learn about his experiment.

Graph: A chart that visually displays the data of the experiment. It can be a numbered grid or a spreadsheet.

Hypothesis: The “educated guess” as to what will happen during a science experiment when certain variables are introduced or changed. Basically, a prediction of the answer to the question posed by the science fair project.

Independent Variable: The piece or component of the experiment that is changed while everything else stays the same.

The independent variable tests the “what if’s” of the project.

Log: A scientific log is a written account of what happened moment by moment (or day by day depending on the project) throughout the duration of the project/experiment.

Procedure: The step-by-step directions of how to do an experiment. The procedure should be clear enough that anyone who reads it can replicate the experiment.

Purpose (problem): The question the science project sets out to prove or test.

Science project proposal: A brief description of a proposed science fair project. The proposal should include the problem, the hypothesis, and the procedure. It sometimes will include an explanation of the independent and dependent variables and a material list as well.

Scientific method: An organized manner of discovering something, the scientific method must be followed to make a project valid. The scientific method has six steps: Observation, Question, Hypothesis, Experimentation, Analysis, and Conclusion.

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