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5th Grade & Science Tech Requirements

Participation in the science fair is a mandatory part of the curriculum for all 5th graders, and teachers will be grading the projects. The packet of information from your teacher, which contains due dates and worksheets for each part of your project, is available for download here:

5th grade packet

Science-Tech packet

If you would like to type your notes, editable documents are available for download here:

Step 2: Topic/Question/Hypothesis  

Step 3: Research Notes and Bibliography

5th graders must do an investigation science project. This involves asking a question about the world around you, and then finding out the answer using the scientific method. This means that you will perform a series of tests or experiments where you manipulate (change) one variable in order to determine how that variable affects the results. There are several parts to an investigation, and each part is described in detail below. Once you have all the parts together, check out our presentation tips for suggestions on how to lay out your project display board.

Don't forget to have fun as you are going through this process! The best way is to choose a topic that you are genuinely curious or excited about.

Be safe.  Do not use any potentially dangerous materials without adult supervision, and do not harm any people or animals during your experiments.  You may not bring any animals or dangerous materials to school as part of your display.


  • Think of an interesting or catchy title that tells your audience what your project is about.

Purpose (Background or discovery statement.)

  • A statement about something in the world you are curious about. The statement should generate a question which can be tested.
  • A brief amount of background information. Why do you want to learn about this, or why are you curious about it?
  • A simple and brief statement about what you will be investigating and why.

Question (What do you want to find out?)

  • Must be something that can be tested.
  • Stated in its simplest form.
  • Should have only one manipulated variable in it. For example, changing the type of liquid used, as opposed to both liquid and temperature.

Hypothesis (What is your guess?)

  • Restate the question entirely with a guess using the future tense (i.e., “will” or “will not”). Do not change the meaning of the problem/question.
  • Start your hypothesis with, "I think that ..." or "I predict that ...".
  • Include all manipulated variables in your hypothesis.
  • You should not include your reasoning, because anything stated in the hypothesis must be tested.

Materials (What you need.)

  • A numbered, detailed list of materials and supplies that would be needed to conduct the investigation.
  • Be specific. Include quantities, amounts, types, etc.

Diagrams (A visual representation.)

  • Complete labeled diagram of the investigation set-up and materials used. E.g., pencils, stopwatch, plants.
  • Variables, amounts, times, quantities, etc. need to be included.
  • Artistry doesn’t get you points! Create a simple (stick figure) diagram that someone could use to set up the investigation. No extraneous objects (tables, chairs, windowsills) need be in the diagram.
  • Remember to label your diagram!

Variables (What is constant, changing, and being measured?)

  • Controlled Variables: Things that are kept the same to make the test "fair". If they were not the same, the results could be influenced by unintended factors.
  • Manipulated Variable: The thing or things (usually just one thing) that are being changed intentionally in order to test your hypothesis and make a comparison.
  • Responding Variable: The thing or things (usually just one thing) that are being measured and recorded.

Procedure (What you need to do.)

  • A sequential numbered list of directions you can follow to perform the experiment and gather the data.
  • Not a summary of the process you went through for the entire investigation, like writing the hypothesis, making a list of materials, etc.
  • Not an explanation of what you think will happen.
  • Use these questions to guide you:
    • What is the first thing you will do after the experiment is set-up? This might include measuring something before you begin. Be specific: height, speed, etc.
    • How often and how much? E.g., How often and how much will you water?
    • What type of measurements and type of observations will be recorded?
    • How often will you take measurements and record data? Be specific: height, speed, etc.
    • How long will the study last?
    • What is the last thing you will do at the end of the experiment?
    • Look at data to determine what happened. Be specific by using the responding variable in this sentence or by restating the question.
    • How many repeat trials will you conduct?

Data and Results (What you saw.)

  • A table or lines with the data that was recorded as the experiment was performed.
  • Perform any math needed to turn raw data into numbers you will need to make tables or graphs.
  • Summarize the data. You can include totals, percentages, averages, graphs etc.
  • Include observations you made during the experiments, or problems you encountered. Keep careful notes of everything you do and everything that happens. Some things may not seem important at the time you notice them, but might be critical in drawing conclusions.

Conclusion (What was discovered.)

  • "My hypothesis was proved/disproved because ..."
  • Using the trends in your experimental results and observations, answer your original question. Do your observations support your hypothesis? What did you find out? Were the results different than you expected? What conclusion can you make from the data?
  • Data accumulated must be presented from smallest values to largest values.
  • A conclusion is not making observations about the data or speculations about the results. Instead, save that for the discussion. A conclusion is answering the question and using the data to prove what you are stating.
  • Note: It doesn't matter whether your original hypothesis was right or wrong. The point of a hypothesis is to make a prediction that you can prove or disprove.

Discussion (Use what you discovered to answer questions.)

  • Analyze what you learned about your results and data.
  • Apply what you discovered to make predictions about real world situations.
  • Take away a part of the system or change something in the system and predict what would happen, using the data to support your answer.
  • What other new questions occurred to you while doing the experiments? Questions lead to more questions, which lead to additional hypotheses that can be tested.
  • Design a new investigation that is similar but with a different manipulated variable.
  • Discuss why or why not your hypothesis was proved or disproved.
  • Discuss experimental design flaws and changes that could be made.

Bibliography (Where did you learn about your topic?)

  • You will need to find research or background information on the main process or the topic involved in your investigation.
  • Refer to the "Research" page in the packet you received in class (also available for download near the top of this page).
  • At least one of your sources must be a book, magazine, or an encyclopedia. You should find at least 3 facts from each source.

Remember: Your project is a success whether or not your results agree with your hypothesis. The experiment will have taught you something, and that's what matters. This is the case for real scientists who often stumble unexpectedly on results they did not expect. The discovery of penicillin (the class of medicines which help clear up bacterial infections) is an example of an unexpected result which was a huge breakthrough in medical science.