To start off, the idea of no help from parents is a little extreme as parents can come in handy for some things, like proofreading, using power tools and taking you to get, and pay for supplies. You do need to learn how to do a science fair project with your parents only being advice givers and sounding boards for problem solving. It is not hard, you have probably done quite a few experiments in school as a lab, so all the steps should be familiar. The trick is to look at the whole assignment and not just the experiment.
Here are some suggestions of good habits to get into when doing a middle school science fair projects on your own.
One Listen carefully when the teacher explains the assignment and be sure to ask questions. You can be sure if you have a question, others will have the same one. Write the answers to your questions and other peoples questions on the assignment paper. Often the teacher gives tips and more detaild about the assignment orally that are not on the actual assignment paper, so be sure to write those things down too.
Two When you get home, read the directions for the assignment again, and then explain the assignment to someone, usually a parent but it could be anyone. This is a way to help get the whole thing set in your memory. It also lets the family know what you will be doing. The questions they ask about the project might help clear up any hidden confusions you did not realize you had, before you get started.
Three Take the assignment and mark all the due dates on your assignment book and the family calendar. Then plan out the times you have to work on it, this is something a parent can do to help you, and get those times blocked into the schedule. This way you can think about practices, lessons and other activities ahead of time and work around them. Be sure to leave time for mess ups, because they will probable happen.
Four Gather the materials needed ahead of time, to be sure everything is on hand before you start. That includes things like glue, scissors, tape, markers, and printer ink. It will probably involve trips to two stores, on to get the supplies for the experiment and another to an office supply store for what you need to write it up and display the results.
Five Print out the directions for how to do a science fair experiment on your topic, and follow them exactly. Check off each step as you do it. Double check each and everything you do. Sometimes there are pictures or a video to help with more complicated steps, be sure to watch them. If it does not work, go back and do it again to figure out what you did wrong. It is usually something simple. Be sure to have a timer set so you remember to go back and do the next step when you have to wait between steps for an hour or so.
Six Make sure any conclusions you come up with are proven in the experiment and not by what you already know. Sometimes you know something to be a science fact, but your experiment was not able to prove it. You can only write about what you actually did.
Seven Take you time when putting the final write-up and display board together. It takes the same amount of time to be neat as it does to write something quickly. Do everything on your display board lightly in pencil first. This is another time a parent comes in handy as they can help proofread for spelling. This is the only thing the teacher will see to grade you on, so it has to look good. Read the assignment again to be sure you have everything that they ask for before handing it in.
Knowing how to do a science fair project really means knowing how to follow directions, be organized and planning ahead. Scientists can take months or even years in the planning and organizing of a project before they start in on the actual experiment. When you take the time and follow these suggestions, your chances of success are almost guaranteed with any school science fair project .