How to Create an Amazing Looking Science Project in 1 Week

Three Parts:Choosing a ProjectPerforming the ExperimentsPresenting the Project

If you only have a week to put together a science project, you might think you won’t be able to make it amazing. There are plenty of experiments that can be performed in just one or two days, giving you plenty of time to put together a report and display board that will be sure to impress. Making a schedule to plan the whole week will help keep you on track and ensure success.

Part 1
Choosing a Project

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    List some topics that interest you. The first step to create an amazing science project is to pick a topic that interests you. If you’re interested in the topic, you’ll want to make the presentation the best that you can because it will be fun.
    • Start with a general topic such as physics, chemistry, or biology and get more specific from there.
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    Research potential projects. Once you’ve chosen a topic, research some projects that fit with that topic. There are two general types of projects: investigation and invention. Investigation projects seek to answer a specific question.[1] If you want to know the why and how something happens, choose an investigation project. Invention projects seek to solve a specific problem.[2]
    • Try searching online or find books at the library to find potential projects.
    • Search for both investigation and invention projects to give you a variety of options.
    • Some examples of quick projects include DNA isolation from strawberries, chromatography using colorful candies, making a simple circuit, and growing salt or sugar crystals.
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    Choose your project. There are a couple of important things to consider when choosing your project. Pick a project that is in line with the research topics you listed above. Choose something interesting that will take less than a week to complete. Ask yourself the following questions when deciding which project is best for you.
    • Does it interest you?
    • Do you have access to all of the necessary materials?
    • How long will it take to perform the experiments? Is there enough time to repeat everything if it doesn’t work properly the first time?
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    Make a timeline for completion. If you only have a week to finish, make a daily schedule and stick to it. If you thoroughly plan everything beforehand it will be easier to finish on time. Be sure to leave extra time in case you run into unexpected bumps in the road. Try a schedule similar to the one listed below.
    • Day 1: List topics and research potential projects.
    • Day 2: Choose a project and gather the materials.
    • Day 3-4: Perform the experiments. If you have an experiment that takes multiple days try condensing days 1 and 2 into one day to give yourself more time. Repeat experiments if necessary.
    • Day 5: Analyze your data and draw some conclusions. Start drafting your report and outlining the board.
    • Day 6-7: Make clear concise figures of your data, write the final report, and put together the board.

Part 2
Performing the Experiments

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    Do the proper background research. Before starting any experiment you have to do a little bit of background research on your problem. Use reputable sources such as books from the library and websites ending in .org, .edu, or .gov.
    • Take detailed notes while doing your research to simplify the writing process.
    • Write down all of your sources so they can be properly cited.
    • Let’s say we want to do an experiment using chromatography to identify the food dyes used in certain candies. You’d want to research what chromatography is and what it can be used for.[3]
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    Gather the necessary materials. Once you’ve done your research, you should have a good idea of what materials you’ll need to complete your experiment. Make a list of all of the things you will need. Gather the materials you already have at home and ask a parent to help you get the rest.
    • Keep everything in one place so you’ll have easy access to it when you’re ready to begin.
    • For candy chromatography, you’d need different colored candies such as Skittles or M&M’s, filter paper strips, water, a clear glass or beaker, food coloring, popsicle sticks, binder clips, and a ruler.[4]
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    State your hypothesis. A hypothesis is a proposed answer to a scientific problem. This proposal is based on research and must be either supported or refuted through experimentation.[5] A hypothesis is usually written as an “If this than that” statement.[6]
    • For example: If an M&M is green, it will be made up of yellow and blue dyes.
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    Plan the experiment. Make a written step-by-step procedure for your experiment. Having everything planned beforehand ensures everything will go smoothly when you actually perform the experiment.
    • Mentally go through every step while writing your procedure.
    • Come up with an alternative strategy if the first attempt doesn’t go exactly as planned.
    • For candy chromatography[7], you will be comparing the chromatograph of known food dyes to that of colored candies to determine what dyes were used. Here is a condensed sample procedure:
      • Set-up the experiment by filling your glass with water at the bottom.
      • Attach filter paper to the popsicle stick using the binder clip.
      • Extract dye from the candy by placing it on top of a drop of water for three minutes. Removing the candy leaves you with a small droplet of dyed water.
      • Use another popsicle stick to transfer the dye to a spot on the filter paper about 1 inch from the bottom. Spot a drop of known food dye on a separate sheet of filter paper to compare to the candy.
      • Place the filter paper in the water so it is just barely touching and let the water rise up through capillary action. Remove the strips when the water is about a quarter inch from the top of the paper. Mark the strip at the highest point the water rose.
      • Let the filter paper dry, then analyze the paper to see if the dyes have similar color spots on the filter.
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    Identify your variables. There are three types of variables in any given experiment: independent, dependent, and constant.
    • An independent variable is one that the scientist manipulates. A properly designed experiment has only one independent variable.[8] For example, the independent variable is the color of the candy used in each run. You can test a blue and brown M&M and/or a red and green Skittle. It is unknown and will be compared to the known constant variables of the food coloring dye.
    • The dependent variable is the condition that the scientist observes in response to the independent variable.[9] The dependent variable is the dye that makes up each candy. At the end of the experiment you will observe the dye that makes up the color of each candy.
    • The constant variables are conditions that stay the same between experiments. Constant variables or controls allow you to determine that the dependent variable is changing only in response to the independent variable and not some additional changing variables.[10] For our example, the known food dye is a constant variable. Other constant variables are using the same temperature and amount of water for each run, using the same type of filter paper, and comparing all of your unknown candies to the same food coloring dye.
    • List your variables, identifying all three types in your experiment.
    • Make sure you only have one independent variable per experiment.
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    Perform the experiment. Now that you’ve done all the proper preparation, you are ready for the fun part. Follow your written procedure and do the experiment. Make detailed observations during the process. Take pictures and write down notes. Document everything you did during the actual experiment. Write down all results. Ask yourself the following questions as you go and write down the answers.
    • Did anything not go as planned?
    • Did you skip or add steps in the procedure?
    • Did anything surprising happen?
    • For our example, record the distances traveled of the spot from the original sample and record the total distance the water traveled.[11] Take pictures of your experimental set-up and at each stage of the process. Photograph each piece of filter paper for your results as well.
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    Repeat the experiment. All good scientific data can be replicated. Repeat your experiment at least one time and see if you get the same results. Ideally, you will repeat at least three times total.[12]
    • If your results are not the same, think about why that might be. Propose solutions to address this problem.
    • For our example, run multiple trials of the same color candy. Compare them to multiple trials of the same food dye.
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    Analyze the results. Analyzing and drawing conclusions from the data is the final step in your experiment. Did the change you made in the independent variable change the outcome of the dependent variable? Do the results support or refute your hypothesis? An easy way to look at the data is to make a graph or chart out of the numbers.[13]
    • Don’t change your hypothesis if it doesn’t match your data. Part of the fun of scientific exploration is determining why your hypothesis is wrong and designing experiments in support of a new hypothesis.
    • State your conclusions in a clear and concise manner, summing up your results and why they are important.
    • For our example, you can calculate an Rf value for each spot on the filter paper. The Rf value is the distance traveled by the sample divided by the distance traveled by the water.[14] You can compare the Rf values of the candy spots to the food dye spots to determine if the same food dye was used.

Part 3
Presenting the Project

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    Write a report. Writing the report should be simple as you’ve already done most of the work. Your report should include the background, the purpose of your experiment, your hypothesis, the materials needed, the procedure, the variables, your observations, the results, the analysis, and your conclusion.
    • Your teacher will tell you the exact length of the report, but a paragraph for each section is generally a good place to start.
    • Proofread for errors before you turn in any written work.
    • Properly cite all the sources used for the development of your project.
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    Obtain a tri-fold display board. The best way to visually present your project is with a display board. Use bright colors and easy-to-read fonts.[15] Add colored construction paper to make everything stand out.
    • Make your sub-headings bold and large enough to read from a few feet away.
    • Display boards come in many different colors. Stick to a simple color scheme. Too many different colors can make things look chaotic and difficult to read.
    • Use the construction paper as an accent to your content. Print the content on a piece of white paper and then glue that onto a piece of construction paper that is slightly larger so it has a colored border.
    • Add a border around the outside of the display to make it pop.
    • Use pre-cut letters to spell out the title.
    • Make sure everything looks crisp and clean. Don’t use wrinkled paper or leave glue marks on the board. Use the same font for all of your text.
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    Organize the display logically. Make sure everything flows naturally on your board. Everything should be evenly spaced and easy to read. Center the title and make it large enough to read from a few feet away.[16] Include enough information for someone to understand exactly what you did and how you did it, but avoid using giant blocks of text.
    • Include pictures taken during the experiment and graphs of the data.
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    Practice presenting your project. If someone comes up to your display board, you want to be able to tell them exactly what you did and have them walk away understanding your experiment. Practice a 1-2 minute explanation of your project and be prepared to answer any questions people may have.
    • Keep notecards handy in case you need to refresh your mind.


  • Don’t try to do everything all at once. Pace yourself and take scheduled short breaks.
  • Stick to the plan you made at the beginning of the week and avoid procrastination.
  • Ask a scientist for help. Many scientists are eager to help out budding scientists and will assist you if you ask nicely.

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