Eureka! – Hypothesis/Critical-Thinking Skills – science project investigation of art preferences of left-handed people
Stumped for a science project idea? Look for inspiration in your other school subjects. Not convinced? Read how Lilia Villa found an idea in her art history class. Then dream up your own ideas from observations you’ve made in your favorite classes.
Science Hater: Converted!
Lilia Villa’s least favorite subject was always science, especially chemistry. “The ideas were too abstract for me,” she says. Instead, she was passionate about art. When the coordinator of a science-enrichment program came to her San Diego, California, high school to talk about science fairs and said that anything–even art–could become a science project, Lilia laughed.
All that changed one day in the teen’s art-history class. The students noticed that in one of the two books they studied, a Rembrandt painting was flipped, showing the mirror image. When the teacher asked which image they preferred, Lilia was one of the only two students who liked the mirror image. She was surprised to learn that the other student was also left-handed. This got her thinking: Does your preference for things have something to do with which hand you normally use?
Lilia set up an experiment to find out if this was true. She selected 20 paintings with the main subject clearly leaning or looking toward one side. Then she showed them, along with their mirror images, to an equal number of left- and right-handed people. The result? Lilia found that four out of five right-handed people preferred images leaning toward the right side. And 6 out of 10 left-handers liked those with a leaning toward the left.
Not only did Lilia find an answer to her question, her science project won many awards. Best of all, she says, “I wasn’t a big fan of science, but I’ve converted.”
Part A: Try writing five research questions about your favorite class. A great way to start is to try to finish these questions: Why …? How does …? What happens if …? For example: Why were my sneakers soaked after Monday’s gym class, but felt dry after Friday’s gym class?
Part B: Got five questions? Now try to write five hypotheses to go along with them. Remember, a hypothesis is an educated guess about the answer to your research question. For example: Gym socks made of 100 percent cotton absorb more sweat than gym socks made of synthetic materials.
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