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Having a rationale generally relates to the project having a basis in scientific theory and/or law when developing the idea.For example, the development of an experiment related to motion that is generated from an understanding of Newton’s Laws of Motion should be founded upon accepted principals.Furthermore comparing two fertilizers placed on two of the same type plants is a very simple and common experiment that will not get high marks at a fair.
Since parents are usually the supervisors, their awareness of rules/regulations and the completion of proper paperwork is essential to avoid disqualification.
However, supervision could involve other individuals (e.g., a veterinarian) as well, so adherence to the written rules and regulations is essential to avoid problems at a fair.
With that said, teachers need to assist students in understanding what research really means.
Unfortunately some students have the impression that finding a science activity in a book and following a written procedure is research.
The project’s purpose should, and more than likely will, be observed during a student’s presentation.
If students are intrinsically motivated to investigate a phenomenon, test a product, or design an invention, their interest and excitement will be exhibited to the judge(s).
Overcoming this problem is probably the most difficult of the six items, and the solution of requiring several references is probably nothing new to most teachers.
However, with the advent of the Internet, getting information on a subject has become easier (though students need to be careful about a source’s accuracy), and thus students should be able to form a rationale for a project more effectively based on what they find (see Figure 2 for research ideas).
” “What is the relationship between the stages of plant growth and different fertilizers?
” or “Is there an optimal ratio between fertilizer and water that should be fed to different plants?