Major nerd alert here We love the Science Fair! It is one of our favorite things during the school year. We also have had a lot of success with it too, both at the school level and also at the district level. Here are some of the tips we have learned along the way to help you make the most out of your project.
- Don’t focus on winning! Find a project your child is passionate about and then make sure you do it well. It needs to be something the child is passionate about because they are the ones that have to face the judges. How excited they are about their topic will be obvious to the judges. They also will be able to answer their questions better and with more confidence.
- If your child has their own idea for a project find a way to test it and if needed guide them. If they don’t have an idea try to find an innovative idea that relates to your child. Think of something you say to your kids all of the time. “You cant play video games because they rot your brains.” ” Don’t eat food off the ground.” “If you don’t get enough sleep you will be grumpy.” “Sugar after 4pm makes you hyper.” Then find a way to test that. Give them choices and let them make the final decision for their project.
- Make sure you read the directions! It is sad to walk around and see how many projects simply don’t follow the rules. Make sure you have all the steps of the Scientific Method labeled clearly.
- Make sure your project is organized, neat, and easy to read. I really recommend having your child type the data.
- Dress up a little bit for the fair. My boys usually wear casual pants or shorts and then a button down shirt and tie.
- Teach them to look the judges in the eye and make sure they are able to answer questions like, “Tell me about your project.” “Can you explain what the Scientific Method is?” Help them be prepared to explain their project in simple steps to keep the judges attention. Practice asking them questions. Don’t drill them until they are frustrated, but make sure they feel prepared and confident.
- HAVE FUN! I can not emphasize this enough. Some families take the science fair way to seriously. The contest is the smallest part of it. Helping your child to think though the Scientific method and figure out how to find answers to their questions is the real purpose.
Science Fair Project Ideas: The Planet Mars
Why is Mars Special?
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and is commonly referred to as the Red Planet. Mars is more similar to Earth than Venus in regards to atmosphere, even though it’s only just over half the size of our planet.
There is intense interest focused on Mars due to the possibility of liquid water being present there. Scientists are still trying to figure out if there is still water on Mars or if it was present at some time in the plant’s past. That possibility yields the chance of Mars harboring life.
Quick Facts About Mars
- Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos.
- Mars is named after the Roman god of war and it influenced the naming of the month March.
- One year on Mars is equal to about two years on Earth.
- One day on Mars is half an hour longer than one day on Earth.
- The atmosphere of Mars is 95% carbon dioxide.
Recent Mars Expeditions
NASA has been sending spacecraft to study Mars since 1964 when Mariner 3 attempted to photograph the planet. Since then, over 20 space missions have launched to explore the surface further and future missions are planned as well.
The Mars rover, Sojourner, was the first robotic rover to land on Mars during the Pathfinder mission in 1997. More recent Mars rovers like Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity have given us the best views and data available to date from the Martian surface.
Mars Science Fair Project Ideas
- Build a scale model of our solar system. Where does Mars fit in the grand scheme of all the other planets. How does it’s distance from the Sun affect the climate on Mars.
- Explain the forces at work when the Mars orbits the sun. What keeps it in place? Is it moving further away? Does it have remain the same distance from the sun as it orbits?
- Study pictures of Mars. What new discoveries did we learn from pictures the rovers sent back versus satellite photos NASA captured before? How does the Martian landscape differ from Earth? Are there places on Earth that resemble Mars?
- What are the features of Mars? Could they support some kind of life? Why or why not?
- Why is Mars red? Is Mars really red on the surface or is it an optical illusion? What minerals are on Mars that cause it to appear red? Relate your discoveries to things we can relate to on Earth and show pictures.
- What have we learned in the various missions to Mars? What were the most significant discoveries? What questions did each successful mission answer and did a later mission prove these wrong?
- What does NASA have planned for future Mars missions? Will they be able to build a Mars colony? If so, what will it look like and how are they preparing for it?
- How long does it take to travel to Mars? When astronauts are sent to Mars, what will the trip be like? Are photographs sent back from Mars in real-time or is there a delay? How are the photos relayed to Earth?
- How does a rover work? Are the rovers still working on Mars? If you love to build things, a scale model of a rover would be a great project!
Resources for a Mars Science Fair Project
Every good science fair project begins with research. Use these resources to learn more about Mars. As you read, you may even come up with new ideas for your project.