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The materials required for the science fair project:

-    3 essays of equal difficulty
-    20 questions about each essay
-    Model answers for the 3 essay questions
-    10 students aged 12 years old each
-    A stopwatch
-    A quiet examination room
-    10 highlighters


1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is whether the participants are allowed to highlight their essays, or given already highlighted essays . The dependent variable is the test score of the participants. This is determined by marking and grading the essays. The constants (control variables) are the difficulty of the tests, the questions used for the test, the color of the highlighter, the time allowed for the participants to read the comprehensions and the time allocated for them to answer the questions.

2.    Select 10 students aged 12 years old to take part in this experiment. Give them each a copy of the 1st essay to read for a period of 2 hours. After that, collect the essays and allow the participants a 30 minute break.

3.    After the break, assemble the 10 students in the exam hall and give them the questions for the 1st essay. They will be allowed 1 hour to complete the test. Collect the answer sheets after the exam. Check the answers against the model answers and record the test results in a table, as shown below.

4.    On the 2nd day, use the highlighter pen to mark the important points in the 2nd essay. Highlight all 10 copies of the essays. Repeat steps 2 and 3 using the 2nd essay with the same students as before.

5.    On the 3rd day, give the same students the 3rd essay as well as a highlighter. Tell the students to highlight the important points in the essay. Repeat steps 2 and 3.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 day for preparation, 3 days for experiment
Material availability:
Easily found at a bookstore or supermarket
Safety concerns: