You have worked for over a month researching, developing, and performing your science fair project.
Your board is all ready to go.
Your talk is prepared.
But as you look over the science fair requirements you read the following:
Your entry information should include your name and age along with the title of your project and an abstract limited to a maximum of 250 words.
How in the world are you going to fit a months’ worth of work into 250 words?
Relax – I’m here today to share how to write a science fair abstract in three easy steps. Once you finish, you’ll have a well-crafted, 250-words-or-less summary of your science fair project.
How to Write a Science Fair Abstract
Step 1 – Develop the Words
To begin the process of writing an abstract for your science fair, you need to answer several questions about your project.
Here are the five key questions:
- What was your topic and why did you choose it?
- What was your hypothesis?
- What did you do for your experiment?
- What happened in your experiment?
- What did you learn from your project?
At this point, your answers need to include all the pertinent information, but still be as brief as possible.
Here is a handy printable for you to use as you answer these five questions.
Step 2 – Write the Draft
Now that you have answered the above questions, you need to write the first draft of your abstract.
Basically, you need to take your answers and add a few transitions to make it all flow into one paragraph.
As you write the draft, don’t worry about the word count. You will whittle things down in the next step.
Step 3 – Whittle it Down
Now that you have a draft to work with, it is simply a matter of crossing out any unnecessary words until you have between 100 and 250 words in the abstract.
Here are a few tips of things to avoid in the final draft of your abstract:
- Technical terms or abbreviations
- Direct quotes (there is no bibliography for an abstract)
- Referring to graphs or charts (again, there are no graphs or charts in your abstract)
- Things that have happened a year or more in the past
The final abstract should be an easy-to-read, short summary of the science fair project you did.
A Sample Abstract
Here is an abstract from our daughter’s project to give you an idea of what it can look like:
I was fascinated by an experiment we recently did on using an acid to plate copper on a nail. I wanted to explore the topic further, which why I chose to study how the pH of an acid affects copper plating. After some research, I guessed that the lower the pH the more copper would be deposited on the nail. For my experiment, I made several different solutions of acid with pH’s ranging from 1 to 7. Then, I placed the pennies in each jar overnight. After that, I took out the penny and replaced it with the nail in each jar and observed what happened over three days. The nail in the solution with a pH of 1 was completely dissolved. The nail in the solution with a pH of 2 was partially dissolved. The nail in the solution with a pH of 3 had a fair amount of copper plated on it. The nail in the solution with a pH of 5 had a bit of copper. The nail in the solution with a pH of 7 was unaffected. I learned that the pH of the acid solution is important to copper plating, but unlike my hypothesis, it needs to be around pH of 3 to be the most effective.
Wrapping it up
Develop your words.
Write your draft.
Whittle it down.
Follow these three easy steps and you’ll have an easy-to-read summary of your science fair project.