Brainstorming a Question


1. Brainstorm

What are some things you would like to learn more about? In your notebook, write down several ideas and/or questions about a variety of topics. Try not to limit your thinking at this time, just come up with different interests.
Things I am interested in
  • nature
  • outdoors
  • baseball
  • plants
  • planets
  • my garden
My garden didn't grow real well this year. I wonder why? I can't really do an experiment on plants growing outside, can I grow them inside? There isn't a lot of sun in the winter, I might have to use a special light to help them grow. Do I need a special light? How would plants grow with just regular lights?

2. Pick a Question

From your brainstorming list, select your favorite idea or question. Change the wording and details if needed so that you have one clear question you would like to answer.
Do plants grow just as well under fluorescent lights as under regular incandescent lights and sunlight?
Do plants grow best under florescent or incandenscent lights or sunlight?
Under which type of light do plants grow best?
Under which type of light do basil plants grow best?

3. Research

Learn everything you can about the question and its variables to gain background knowledge. See if the answer for your question is already known. Use a system to cite the sources used and your notes summarizing relevant information about the topic.
Use a variety of resources when you do your research. Google, article databases from your library, and books at your school are good places to start. You can also ask experts in the field you are studying. Ask your teacher or parents to see if they know someone who could help you out.

4. Refine Your Question

Based upon the research findings, further refine the research question. Try to design the question so that it seeks new answers (beyond what the research shows). This will become the experiment question.
Refining the question I learned that different types of light have different wavelengths.
There are diffent ways to measure plant growth, such as number of leaves, height, number of branches, and biomass
Biomass seems to be the best overall measure

What is the effect of light wavelengths on the biomass gained by basil plants?

5. Question Rubric

This may seem large for a simple question but it is the most important part of the project.

5.Notebook set up

View the doc in the link below to see how to set up your notebook. This will help guide you in planning and allow your teacher to help you more easily. You can copy/paste the info into a google doc.

6. Still Stuck?

Try looking at our science fair resources page. Use the links there to guide you in generating ideas.

Step 1 | Step2 | Step 3 | Step 4 | Step 5