Writing a title for your science project may seem like the hardest part. Where to start? One thing to keep in mind is that you need the title to tell your teacher, classmates, and anyone else who sees what the project is about. That is, it should be informative but also short and to the point. You also want to attract people, which means that you want them to be interested in the project based on the title. It can be difficult to balance these goals, so start by brainstorming.
Part 1 of 2: Write the title
Step 1. Brainstorm ideas and phrases
To brainstorm, you will need something to work on. Get out a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. You can use a computer, but it will probably be easier to see your progress on paper. Start writing down some thoughts and ideas on what the title might be.
Step 2. Match the content of the project with the title
First of all, the title must be descriptive. That is, you have to give the audience clues about what your project is about. You will tell them what the project is with the title, then you will show them the project with the board.
- If you haven't already, take a minute to write a sentence that describes the project.
- Use that information to guide the title. For example, if the project is about water quality in Kansas City, the title should reflect that. A title like "Kansas City Water Quality" provides information about the project without revealing too much detail. On the other hand, a title like "KC H2O" is too broad and vague.
- If the title refers to something too strange, the teacher will probably not understand it.
Step 3. Use what you have
Sometimes you can find a buried title in your project. You may have already written something that will work as is for the title or it will work if you change it a bit.
- Try to read the text you wrote for the project.
- Copy any sentence that might work for a title. Find sentences that cover the main areas of the project. For example, the phrase "the water in our city is not filtered properly and contains pollutants", can be a good descriptor of the project.
- Shorten it to be more useful as a title: "Kansas City's Water Is Contaminated." You can also rephrase it to "Determining if Kansas City's water is contaminated."
Step 4. Add a creative element
While you want your title to be informative, it's also good to get creative. A creative headline can engage your audience and make them want to read more about your project. This item is sometimes referred to as a "hook".
- For example, one option is to choose specific images to use. A concrete image is something you can see, smell, taste, hear, or feel. For example, something like "brown water came out of the tap" is concrete.
- Another way to add a creative element is to use a famous saying, poem, or song to play in the title. You can use the quote directly (with quotes) or rotate it to make it work with the project. For example, "Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink" is a famous quote from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge that would work for an article on contaminated water.
- Keep in mind that the title should not be too long or verbose.
Step 5. Take some time to play around with the title
Do not stay with the first title you think of. Try to rearrange and play with it to get the best title for the project.
- Also, consider swapping less specific words for more specific words. For example, "water" in "Kansas City Water's water is contaminated" may be more specific. You can write "The tap water in Kansas City is contaminated."
- "From the tap" indicates that the water comes out of everyone's tap, and it will certainly grab people's attention.
Step 6. Divide the title
One way to include both a creative element and an informational element is to divide the title into two parts. In other words, you have a main title and a subtitle.
- This technique helps you use a creative title, but it also gives the reader the description they need to stay informed about the project.
- For example, you can write: "Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink: the pollution of the tap water of Kansas City." Usually you put the subtitle on a second line. If it's included on the same line, use a colon (:) to separate them.
Step 7. Make sure to include the main point
I mean, with a science fair project, you came to some conclusion. When writing your title, it's good to include at least one indication of that conclusion in your title. For example, "Kansas City's water is contaminated" already indicates the conclusion that the water shows contamination.
Also, be sure to include your keywords. Think of the main words that describe the topic. For example, when writing a title for a project on contaminated water supply, obviously words like "water" and "contaminated" are crucial
Step 8. Don't use unusual abbreviations
Unless abbreviations or acronyms are in common use, you should not use them in the title. For example, "USA" and "radar" are generally accepted abbreviations or acronyms. However, using "AC" for "contaminated water" in the title will confuse people.
Part 2 of 2: Put the title on the board
Step 1. Make it legible
As the teacher walks around the room looking at the boards, the title should be legible. This means that it is in a good font, or that it is legible if you write it yourself.
- In other words, don't choose fonts that are too fancy or have so many swirls that you can't read them.
- Also, make the letters large enough to read from 1.2 meters (4 feet) apart. Ask a parent to check it out.
- Stick with just one color. Choose a dark color for a light background or a light color for a dark background. Also, making it bold can help. You can make the subtitle in a different color or smaller font to help people tell that it is different from the main title.
Step 2. Make sure it is spelled correctly
The title is the first thing the teacher will see. If it's not spelled correctly, it can affect how they view the entire project. Use the spell checker and ask a parent to spell check.
Mixing "affect" and "effect" is a common mistake in science projects. "Affect" is a verb that creates "effects" (noun). For example, "The smell affected the girl. The effect was her sneeze."
Step 3. Capitalize the title
Most of the words in a title should be capitalized. Exceptions are for articles (such as "a", "about" or "the"), prepositions (such as "in", "a", "for" or "on") and coordinating conjunctions (such as "and", " but "or" for ").
- Note that if "the" is the first word in the title, it must be capitalized, but if it is elsewhere in the title, keep it lowercase.
- You can use a site like https://titlecapitalization.com/ to make sure you capitalize the correct words.
Step 4. Place it in the center
While it may seem like a good idea to spread the title across the project whiteboard, a title in the center is more readable. Try to adjust the entire title in the center panel, so that the audience is not confused.
- In other words, if you have a three-fold brochure, skip putting parts of the title on the side panels.
- The title may not fit all on one line in the center, and that's fine. Just go to the next line.
Step 5. Make a plan first
You don't need to write the title in ink the first time. Write it in pencil to make sure it looks good. If you're using a printed title, make sure it fits before pasting.
- It can be helpful to test it in a number of ways before writing or pasting. You can decide that you like it in another better way.
- Remember to center the title. That is, you probably don't want it all the way to the left, unless you write it at the end of the board rather than across the width.
- Line it up. Make sure the title is straightforward across the board. Use a ruler to draw pencil lines if that will help. Just be sure to draw them lightly so that you can erase them when you're done captioning.
Step 6. Put it on the board
Once you determine that everything is perfect, it's time to put it on the board. Draw the letters or paste them in the font to create the title. Choose glue sticks, as the tape looks messy and regular glue can wrinkle the paper.
- Write the title near the end or at the end of work on the project to know exactly what the finished project is about.
- Don't be frustrated if you can't find the perfect title right away. Keep thinking about it, and it will come to you. But if not, you can modify other existing titles or ask others for advice.