by Priyanka Thavarajah
- The first step to a successful Science Inquiry is the experiment itself. I have found that, especially in the higher years, doing an experiment around a current topic gives it purpose. Be creative with the set up to try and make the conditions as real as possible.
- Once you have an idea of an experiment, test it out. Not everything will work out on your first attempt. A couple tweaks here and there will help yield more accurate results.
- Collect your data on a table. You should be recording these into your logbook along with a couple lines about the inspiration and thought process behind your experiment, the research aim and the method.
- The write up should be structured with headings for the different categories. Generally, there should be an introduction (including your research question and hypothesis), a section on your planning and conducting, equipment and materials, method, the processing and analyzing of results and, most importantly, the discussion and evaluation. Here you can write about potential errors and improvements for the next experiment. End it off with a concise conclusion.
- Include diagrams in your final report. Organize your piece neatly so that related sections are on the same page. If you feel creative, you can even design a title page stating the research question and your name and school. Don’t forget to include your bibliography (which should be properly cited and in alphabetical order). If needed, an acknowledgements section can be added at the very end.
Priyanka has been entering the Oliphant Science Awards since Reception, including 7 entries in the Scientific Inquiry category. Some of her entries in this category include:
- Does dissolving a substance in water make it more buoyant?
- How does colour effect how hot an object becomes
- To wash or not to wash (and how?)
- Does increasing the concentration of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere cause it to warm?
- Ocean Acidification: Impacts of increasing concentrations of dissolved carbon dioxide on sea shells
- Do plants need water to be healthy?
- Does water make iron rust?