Choosing An Exciting Topic

Finding a good project is the most important part of the entire process, and the hardest. 


1) You LOVE it and/or it is a project of importance for the world.  THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT!

2) The project is Possible – it is “Do-Able.”  Too many cool projects exist that we can do ourselves – don’t waste time with impossible projects.

3) The project requires some research – you will demonstrate learning!

4) The project is NOT TOO BIG and NOT TOO SMALL.


Please Note: Finding a great science fair project is the MOST IMPORTANT part of the entire process, and the HARDEST.  It is worth the effort to find a GREAT PROJECT.

GIVE YOURSELF plenty of time for this process.  There is no way to hurry the process.


Make a “Tournament Bracket” chart of activities and topics that are interesting to you.  Divide a page into four quadrants with a vertical and horizontal line.  Give each quadrant the following labels:

UPPER LEFT QUADRANT: What do you like to do on the evening or during your free time?

UPPER RIGHT QUADRANT: What do you daydream about when you are bored?

LOWER LEFT QUADRANT: What do you see yourself doing in 5/10/15 years?

LOWER RIGHT QUADRANT: What have you learned about (in school or other places) that you would like to learn more about?

Fill out 8 or more ideas for each quadrant.  Start comparing two projects at a time only keeping the better of the two. Continue until you are left with your final four and then you can decide.


List problems in your personal world or the world at large that you would like to make better.


PERSONAL: Cindy has family members with diabetes.  One thing that they have to do every day is to stab their fingers to obtain blood to do a sugar check.  This was not pleasant and a reality in their daily lives.  Cindy decided to work on a science fair project that would prevent this daily pain.

GLOBAL: Jim is concerned about global warming.  Jim heard about hydroelectric power and learned that it is a renewable source of energy.  Jim decided to try and engineer a mini hydroelectric generator that could be attached to the gutters of his house so that he could power his home computer with the rain.

3) Write down a topic of interest.  Make a T form.  On the left, list things that you can change or affect in your project – potential independent variables.  On the right side, things that you can measure about your topic. (these would be your potential dependent variables).  Connect one good independent variable with one good dependent variable, and you might have a project.

TOPIC: Plants

INDEPENDENT VARIABLE                                             DEPENDENT VARIABLE

Sunlight                                                                                          Height

Soil                                                                                                   Number of leaves

Water                                                                                               How many sprouts come up

Temperature                                                                                   How long it takes to flower

Depth of seed


Web Sites with LOTS of ideas:

Answer Survey Questions and be Given lists of Interesting topics for YOU!

Wonderful Science Project Web Site

Service Learning Projects – Make the World a Better Place

TED Talks – amazing, cutting edge ideas – browse and listen! Web Site – general site with lots of varied ideas

Tinkering Guide – a fun little site with lots of projects to tinker with – recommended

Award Winning Projects at last year’s NWSE 

Engineering Games and Projects

Electricity for Kids


Talk to teachers of the subjects you love –

Language Arts




Share your ideas with people who know you – DISCUSS.  Often the best ideas occur when two people work together.