Sunday, November 1, 2015

Science Fair Project - Step 1: Ask a Question

What type of solution cleans pennies the best?


My son loves science and metal detecting, so in designing a project for the science fair this year he wanted to combine the two topics.
 
Scientific Method
Ask a Question
Research
Hypothesis
Test
Analyze Data
Report Results
The first step in the scientific method is to ask a question. My son had many questions:
What type of solution cleans pennies the best?
What type of solution cleans coins the best?
How long should the coins stay in the solution?
Are some types of pennies cleaned more easily than others with the same type of solution?
What ratio of ingredients in the cleaning solution works best to clean pennies?

Selecting only one question can be a challenge, but is an important step in the scientific method as it provides focus for experimentation. Once one question is answered, other questions can be more easily addressed.

Engineers are constantly faced with organizing questions into an order that makes sense from an experimentation standpoint. For example, if his first question was "What ratio of ingredients in the cleaning solution works best to clean pennies?" He could chose to test a solution of sugar, dirt and water,  only to find that the solution had no effect on cleaning pennies. While that would have been good information, perhaps, it would have made more sense to first explore different solutions? Although there are no right and wrong answers, some procedures make more sense than others and considering options before testing is part of forming a good test plan.  

Not all pennies are created equal. Older pennies contain more copper than newer pennies. In order for the penny composition to not have an effect on the experiment, they were separated.

After watching the video Clean Pennies with Vinegar and Salt this solution was added to the test plan.




The preliminary results were good. Now the rest of the test needs to be designed and the test repeated. Stay tuned for more science fair cleaning pennies updates.



Check out these great blogs full of educational activity ideas.

2 comments:

  1. I like this science fair project and I like the way you explained this step.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I like this science fair project and I like the way you explained this step.

    ReplyDelete

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