Monthly Archives: December 2015

Great Science Projects

A Student Science series on how to achieve excellence in independent research

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“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination and marks real advance in science.

Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld. The Evolution of Physics. London: Cambridge University Press, 1938.)

We all share what it takes to be a scientist: creative imagination. Conducting an independent research project gives us an opportunity to use creativity and imagination to investigate what science and mathematics can reveal about the world — and ourselves. Research may establish facts and reach new conclusions.

An independent research project is an experiment you do by yourself or with a partner, class or school. You or your team design, carry out and interpret the experiment on your own.

Doing research take time. And it’s hard work. That’s why a teacher, parent or expert can help. And whether you’re tackling your first project or just need a refresher, the following resources can help, too.

This series, Great Science Projects, will help you, step by step, toward the successful completion of an independent research project. It will help you pick a project. It will help you as you conduct your experiment. And it will help you present your findings. You should find this information useful whether you are preparing for a science fair, a classroom project or just experimenting on your own.

This catalog of resources draws from articles from Science News for Students . It also gathers information from other sites, maintained by other organizations, useful to anyone curious about conducting research. Wherever we link to another site, we provide a short description of what you’ll find there. These pages also include hints on how to find more information on your own, whether at your local library or through tailored searches on the Internet.

This series on Great Science Projects is intended to be a general guide. It is not specific to any of Society for Science and the Public (SSP) science competitions. However, we do link to other pages that are related to the three SSP competitions.  More information specific to the competitions can be found at the following links: Broadcom MASTERS, Intel ISEF, Intel STS.

And if you have questions or have suggestions for this site, please do not hesitate to email us at


Top stories of 2015: Pluto, gene editing, a new hominid and more


It probably comes as no surprise that the New Horizons mission to Pluto takes the top spot in Science News’ list of 2015’s most important stories.

Since New Horizons awoke last December, we’ve devoted more than two dozen stories in the magazine and on the website — upwards of 10,000 words — to this first-ever visit. No other science news this year garnered so many headlines.

But it’s not headlines alone that won this story, or the others, a spot on our list. What’s important is how they launched our thinking in a new direction. The outer solar system is no longer seen as a vast area of indistinguishable specks, but instead as a new frontier. Advances in gene editing made us reconsider how far we’ll go to rid our bodies of disease. A newly proposed species, Homo naledi, challenged our vision of the earliest members of our genus.

No one yet knows how H. naledi will rewrite our history, but one thing is certain: Like New Horizons, we have reoriented. We’ll start 2016 on a new trajectory, with many new questions to ask. — Elizabeth Quill

Here’s the complete list of this year’s top 10 science stories:


Continue reading Top stories of 2015: Pluto, gene editing, a new hominid and more