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Choosing a topic

Sometimes it can seem like the hardest part about your project is choosing a topic in the first place! There are so many neat ideas, it can be a real challenge to pick just one!

You can start just by making a list of the things you have ever been curious about. Usually these are where the best topics come from, so make an honest effort to come up with your own idea. For example, maybe you’ve wondered about why some toys require small batteries and others require bigger batteries? Or what exactly is inside those fruits and vegetables that supposedly makes them healthier than a slice of chocolate cake? Or why do some objects sink and others float, even when they’re made of the same material? These are just a few examples, but when you use your own personal experiences and imagination, the sky is the limit!

If you’re having trouble thinking of a topic on your own, feel free to check out any of the resources below. You’re sure to find something that captures your interest. After you have a topic area, if you are doing an investigation project, come up with a question that you will be able to answer using the scientific method. Many of the resources below won’t directly give you ideas for your investigation question, but will hopefully provide enough inspiration that you can come up with it yourself.

Websites

  • ScienceProject.com. This is a great site with tons of science project ideas for all different areas and grade levels, and has exact steps in many cases. If you use an idea from this site, see if you can vary it a little bit in order to make it your own.
  • Science Buddies. Another great site with lots of ideas. Most of them are fairly advanced and would only be appropriate for 4th/5th graders. But if you look, you can find some that would work for younger kids, or you can take any advanced topic and simplify it down.
  • Science News for Kids. This online science magazine has put together a long list of investigation questions which have been used for winning science projects in the past.
  • Discovery Education. Here you'll find some advice on how to formulate a good testable question. Several examples of questions, controlled variables, and manipulated variables are provided.
  • PBS Kids Zoom. This site has a bunch of good ideas for demonstration projects (okay for KG – 3rd). But you can turn almost any of these ideas into an investigation by using your creativity and formulating a question.
  • MiniScience.com. This page contains a list of ideas for demonstration and investigation projects. If you use an idea from this site, see if you can vary it a little bit in order to make it your own.
  • Chicago Academy of Sciences. This page is a list of questions that could be used for an investigation project.
  • Internet Public Library Science Fair Project Resource Guide. This page is actually a list of links to other websites that have ideas for science projects.
  • School for Champions. This site actually teaches you about various science topics. It could be used as inspiration for a research project, or any of the topics could be turned into an investigation with a little bit of creativity.
  • Sample Questions and Topic Areas. This is our own short list of sample questions and topic areas that we've compiled to to hopefully inspire you.

Books

Stores and places

  • Whitehorse Toys. This store, located on Gilman Blvd. in Issaquah, carries a series of excellent boxed science kits called the “The Young Scientist Series”. Each kit is about $30, but each one contains materials and sets of experiments on 3 different topics. Many of these experiments could be used as inspiration for science project ideas.
  • Lakeshore Learning. This store, located on NE 4th Ave. in downtown Bellevue, has a good selection of books that contain ideas for science experiments and projects. They also have science kits and other materials.
  • Pacific Science Center. Of course this is not a store, but rather a museum of science. You may have been there before, but take another trip. This time, as you walk through the exhibits, be thinking about which one captures your interest the most.