Creating a science fair project can be a challenging task. Some of the more interesting science fair projects are surveys that give specific insight into a particular problem or area of knowledge. Creating an effective survey can require a certain degree of planning and foresight. This usually starts with a creative or insightful idea that has some practical consequences.
Aliens Among Us?
One of the most fascinating questions that students can be asked is whether or not they believe there is extra-terrestrial life elsewhere in the universe. While this question may seem somewhat trivial for a science fair survey, many of the follow-up questions that you can ask reveal how much students know about the science of astronomy, jet propulsion and the like. Students can be surveyed on whether or not space travel to other parts of the universe is possible and why or why not they believe it to be the case. Students can be asked questions about NASA, SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) and other government-sponsored programs related to astronomy and space travel. This survey should reveal whether or not a majority of science students understand these related topics at all.
Similar to the question of extra-terrestrial life, students tend to have limited knowledge of earthquakes and what causes them. Students may also adhere to a number of myths regarding earthquakes. An example of a popular earthquake myth is the idea that California could fall into the sea because of an earthquake. Develop a list of questions about earthquakes and determine which demographic groups tend to believe these myths more than others. Also try to determine how beliefs in these myths might best be combated as a result of what you discover.
Endangered Species Survey
A science fair survey that stems from the field of zoology is an endangered species survey. People are generally aware of one or two endangered species, but even their knowledge of these may be limited. You can conduct a survey among students, family and neighbors in order to determine how many endangered species people are generally aware of, where they are located and how many of these species remain. A good set of follow-up questions could pertain to government funding to save endangered species and whether or not it is sufficient. You can ask whether or not governments do their proper share and also whether or not individuals do as well. Ask your survey subjects about suggestions for preserving endangered species. By finding out how much people know about endangered species you may be able to reveal a lack of knowledge among the general public and the need to raise awareness as a result.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.