5 Types of Science Fair Projects

What Type of Science Project Should You Do?

There are five main types of science fair projects: experiment, demonstration, research, model, and collection. It's easier to choose a project idea once you've determined what sort of project interests you.

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Experiment or Investigation

Child working with an adult on a science project

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This is the most common type of science project, where you use the scientific method to propose and test a hypothesis. After you accept or reject the hypothesis, you draw conclusions about what you observed.

Example: Determining whether or not a cereal contains the amount of iron per serving listed on the box.

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Woman working in chemistry lab

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A demonstration usually involves re-testing an experiment that already has been done by someone else. You can get ideas for this type of project from books and on the internet.

Example: Presenting and explaining an oscillating clock chemical reaction. Note that this type of project can be improved if you do the demonstration and then go further, such as by predicting how temperature would affect the rate of the clock reaction.

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Science project poster

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In this science project, you collect information about a certain topic and present your findings.

Example: A research project can be an excellent project if you use the data to answer a question. An example would be polling people to ask about their belief in global warming, then drawing conclusions about what the results mean for policy and research.

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An organic chemist in a laboratory

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This type of science project involves building a model to illustrate a concept or principle.

Example: Yes, one example of a model is the vinegar & baking soda volcano, but you can have an incredible high school or college project by building a model of a new design or a prototype for an invention. In its best form, a project with a model illustrates a new concept.

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Student studying plant samples

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This science project often displays a collection to illustrate your understanding of a concept or topic.

Example: As with the demonstration, model, and research project, a collection has the potential to be a poor or an exceptional project. Certainly, you could show off your butterfly collection, but that alone wouldn't win you any prizes. Rather, use the butterfly collection to observe how wing lengths of the insects differed from year to year and look into possible explanations for the phenomenon. For instance, discovering a correlation with pesticide use or temperature or precipitation with butterfly populations could have important (scientific) implications.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "5 Types of Science Fair Projects." ThoughtCo, Sep. 2, 2021, thoughtco.com/types-of-science-fair-projects-609083. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2021, September 2). 5 Types of Science Fair Projects. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/types-of-science-fair-projects-609083 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "5 Types of Science Fair Projects." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/types-of-science-fair-projects-609083 (accessed March 22, 2023).

Watch Now: What Is the Scientific Method?