A STEM Fair project starts with a question. For most students, a difficult part of STEM Fair is selecting a good question (topic). It is important the question be one that is interesting to the student. The question should be one that can lead to an experiment project where something is changed and the result is measured.
A good question...
- must lead to an investigation (experiment) not a report, a demonstration or a model. The question may ask about the effect of one thing upon another.
- should be one from which you can collect data (ideally measurements or direct observations) rather than opinions.
- should be specific rather than really broad
- is one which the materials needed to experiment with are easy to find.
Examples of good questions:
- How does temperature affect the bounce of a ball?
- What type of conditions do mealworms prefer?
- What shape of container will allow water to evaporate the quickest?
- Does the drop height of an object affect the size of the crater it will make?
Examples of poor questions:
- How do volcanoes erupt? This questions is poor because it is a model, not an experiment, is too vague (broad), and will not involve data collection.
- Why are there craters on the moon? This question is not an experiment and would require only research, not scientific experimentation to answer.
- How do bean plants grow? This question is too broad and would require research rather than experimenting and collecting data.