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Science Odyssey


What is the Science Odyssey?

The LVJUSD Science Odyssey is a science event for the whole family.  Students in grades K-12 can register to enter science projects demonstrating their ability to apply the scientific method to topics of their choice.  We hope this will be a learning experience for the entire family.  However, while families may help in the planning process, the work and experiment must be done by the student.   

Our LVJUSD students proudly display their experiments to the public at the 2016 Science Odyssey at Junction Avenue K-8 School on February 18, 2016, from 5-7 PM. On February 17th, judges will evaluate the content on the display boards and interview the students about the experimental process and what the students learned throughout the process. Set-Up & Judging Schedule for February 17.

On February 18th, families are invited to celebrate our students’ accomplishments and participate in fun events for the entire family, including interactive demonstrations by community organizations, a planetarium show, live music, and food for sale by the local 4-H group and Junction K-8 PTA.

A summary of the steps the students will have to complete is attached to help describe what will be required to complete a project.  The students can work independently or in small groups and are encouraged to use resources at school, the libraries, on the web, and at home to complete each project. Additional mentors may be available to help the students successfully complete their projects.  Please ask your science teacher for more information about mentors.

Some projects may only take a few days to complete while others may take several weeks to complete (i.e., include growing plants or crystals).  The level of effort and costs will depend on the topic the student selects.  Before the registration deadline, students must submit the question for their project for approval by their science teacher.  This is a great time to talk with their teacher about the project and begin to get an idea of how to complete their project using the scientific method.

There are many web resources to help the students understand what is required to successfully complete a Science Odyssey project, as well as topic wizards to help students pick their topics.  One outstanding site is Science Buddies (, which provides an age- and interest-based online topic wizard, an online project guide with many examples, and “Ask an Expert” help.  Library and school media center staff will be happy to help students access these sites and other resources as the students work to complete their projects.

¿Qué es la Odisea Científica 2016?


What are the Components for a Science Odyssey Research Project?

Get a Project Journal.
Record all information in this journal.

Ask a Question: 
The scientific method starts when you ask a question about something that you observe: How, What, When, Who, Which, Why, or Where?  You use the scientific method to answer the question and it must be about something that you can measure, preferably with a number. Write your question/problem in your project journal.

Do Background Research: 

Rather than starting from scratch to develop a plan for answering your question, you want to be a savvy scientist and use the school and public libraries and Internet resources to help you find the best way to do the experiment and ensure you don't repeat mistakes from the past. “Google” your question/problem. Your research/project will include:

  • Assorted Sources of Information (Check out:
  • Alameda County Science & Engineering Fair Info:
  • Bibliography (cite your sources!)
  • Record all background research and all information in your project journal.

Construct a Hypothesis/Problem:
A hypothesis is an educated guess about how things work:  “If [I do this] ____, then [this
]____ will happen."

You must state your hypothesis in a way so you can easily measure the results.  Your hypothesis should also be written in a way to help you answer your original question.  As you create your hypothesis you will define the variables or things you will control and measure to test your hypothesis. Write your hypothesis/problem in your project journal.

  • Independent variable (is what you change during the experiment)
  • Dependant variable (is what you measure during the experiment) Remember: The independent variable causes a change in the dependent variable.
  • Control variables (is what you want to keep the same/constant throughout the experiment)

Test Your Hypothesis/Problem by Doing an Experiment:
Your experiment tests whether your hypothesis is supported by the data or not. It is important for your experiment to be a fair test. You conduct a fair test by making sure that you change only one variable at a time while keeping all other conditions the same. You should also repeat your experiments several times to make sure that the first results weren't just an accident. Write all your results in your project journal.  You will create a test plan with:

  • Experimental Procedures
  • Materials List
  • Record of data and information (charts, graphs, diagrams)

Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion: 
Once your experiment is complete, you collect your measurements and analyze them to see if your hypothesis is supported by the data.  Scientists often find that their hypothesis was not supported, and this is okay because they have learned something.  In many cases, however, they will construct a new hypothesis and start the entire process of the scientific method over again.  You will record your analysis of the data and your conclusions in your project journal. Your Science Odyssey display will include:

  • Data Analysis & Graphs
  • Conclusion

Communicate Your Results: 
To complete your science Odyssey project you will communicate your results to others with a display board. Professional scientists do almost exactly the same thing by publishing their final report in a scientific journal or by presenting their results on a poster at a scientific meeting.  You will find that a project journal   will be a good way to collect all of the notes and data that you gather during your project.  Communicating your results includes:

  • Display board (use trifold board only, no cut-up boxes)
  • Project journal containing all notes and data
  • Interview with judges
  • Abstract (for grades 6-12 only. Do not attach to the display board.  Place a copy on the table).

¿Cuáles son los componentes de un proyecto de investigación 
de la Odisea Científica?


What are the Components for a Science Odyssey Engineering Design Project?


Engineering projects are different from a science research project in that an engineering project solves a problem within an established set of criteria and constraints.

The following is a description of an engineering project that would be eligible for the 2016 LVJUSD Science Odyssey.


Get a Project journal. Record all information in this journal. Include dates, research information (with bibliography), data, illustrations, and all information described below.


An engineering project journal and display board must contain the following sections:


1. Statement of the engineering problem (similar to a problem statement/question)

    Clearly describe an issue that is being solved by the engineered design.

2. Engineering goal (similar to the hypothesis)

    What testable goal are you working toward?

3. Project materials and constraints (constraints describe the project’s limitations)

    Describe the physical characteristics of the model you will build to solve a problem.

    Include dimensions, weight, shape of model, etc. *

4. Design criteria

    What will be measured to see if the design solved the engineering problem?

5. Model prototype

    Student designs and builds a model that addresses the problem’s solution.

6. Procedures followed to test the model

7. Measurable results

    Include charts and graphs of data collected while testing the model.

8. Report findings

    Provide a narrative description of your results as it applies to solving the problem.


*The same rule about 3D objects also applies to engineering. Photos of model must be placed on the board. Students will arrange with their teacher to bring in their model for judging and interviews and again the evening of the event to demonstrate to the public. No projects may be left overnight at Junction. We will not be responsible for any project lost or damaged.

¿Cuáles son los componentes de un proyecto de ingeniería

de la Odisea Científica?