Hundreds of students get into troubles being accused of academic plagiarism due to inability to properly cite their sources.
15 January, 2014
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If you’re looking to win your school’s science fair, you’ll need to elevate your project above the standard baking soda and vinegar volcano or the electricity producing potato. But coming up with a new, original idea is always a challenge. While copying an existing project won’t necessarily win you points for originality, past examples of winning projects can be great jumping off points. To find ideas for projects, or past winning projects, try looking:
A simple internet search for ‘winning science fair projects’ will bring up dozens of science resource websites that provide ideas for topics. For the best quality results, choose a site that is affiliated with an organization or school, rather than a personal blog.
Your school may keep records of past winning projects that you can use for ideas. If you use these records as a source, make sure you change the project enough to make it your own. Chances are some of the teachers or judges that were there for the original project still are.
Most states hold state-wide science fair competitions, where the best of the best go to compete against each other. Try looking through past state winning project, as well as runners up for project ideas.
Once you find examples of past winning projects, you’ll need to choose one to try to replicate or alter. Be sure to pick one that’s realistic for the amount of time you have, the resources you have, and how well you understand the subject. If a past winner involved creating a circuit board, but you have no idea how to solder, or even how a circuit board works, it probably isn’t a good project for you. Think about what skills or equipment your family or friends have that can help you with your experiment, and then choose a project that takes advantage of them. This will help you stand out from your classmate’s projects.
If you’re going to use an existing idea for your science fair project, you’ll need to change some aspect of it to make it your own. To do this you can change what the experiment was testing for, or individual variables of the experiment. By doing this, you can reference the past project by saying “we know that doing x caused y, but does x+z still cause y?”
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