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Staff Picks: Top Project Ideas from 2011

The staff of scientists, editors, and writers at Science Buddies work throughout the year to develop exciting new Project Ideas that encourage and enable hands-on student exploration of inspiring areas of science and cutting-edge topics of research.

We have more than 1000 Project Ideas for K-12 students in our library of free science, technology, engineering, and math Project Ideas. As the year winds down, we asked our staff to pick their favorites from the Project Ideas introduced in 2011 and share why they selected the projects they picked.



    Gauss Image
  • Ken, Founder and President: Build a Gauss Rifle!

    Why? "The Project Idea uses neodymium magnets to visually demonstrate important physical principles about acceleration, mass, velocity, and the conservation of momentum."






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  • Hugo, Chief Software Architect: Making It Real: Incorporating Physics in Video Games

    Why? "Physics was my favorite subject in high school. Now I develop software. This Project Idea brings both of them together—this field is what makes the current generation of video games so awesome."



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  • Claire, Product Design Engineer: Creating a Video Game for the Blind
    Why? "I love that this project idea takes something often thought of as purely entertainment—video games—and shows how they can be used to solve common social issues like blindness."


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  • Debbie, Web Editor: How Far Will It Fly? Build and Test Various Paper Planes

    Why? "Making paper airplanes is a great, creative way to spend free time with my son and a great way to recycle paper around the house—especially holiday wrapping paper. What boy doesn't want to make a flying object to launch at his sisters?"





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  • Teisha, Staff Scientist: Hydroponics: Gardening Without Soil

    Why? "This project focuses on hydroponics, an emerging gardening technique that allows people to grow plants without soil, which creates new opportunities for commercially growing crops. Because having enough food is an issue in developing countries, new technologies for improving crop yields and crop adaptability are really important to explore."


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  • Kaarin, Project Manager: Customize Your Own Drum Set!

    Why? "This computer science project combines my son's love of creating music with his interest in how video games work. Combining the PicoBoard with Scratch is great!"


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  • Yvette, Email Support: Dirty Snowballs: How a Comet's Size Affects How Fast It Melts

    Why? "Comets have always fascinated me since I was a child, and they come in all different shapes and sizes, so this project allows you to investigate how the physical properties of comets can affect their lifespan!" (Another favorite for Yvette is A Sweet Sequence: The Cacao Genome*: I love chocolate, and this project combines both chocolate and genomics, a rapidly rising field of science, to find new ways of protecting cacao trees and increasing cacao production!)

Science Buddies Science Activities

Science Buddies and Autodesk for Student STEM Exploration


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With a smorgasbord of fun, engaging, playful, and puzzling modules available as part of the Hour of Code initiative, kids can experiment with programming basics and sample Javascript, Python, Ruby, and more.

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The Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Contest gives U.S. secondary public schools a chance to use STEM to help address problems affecting their students and communities--and a chance at a share of $2 million in technology.

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Are the seeds in your watermelon playing hide-and-seek? Can plants grow without soil? The plant world offers a cornucopia of mysteries that are ripe for investigation.

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Science Buddies in Action: For a third grade student with an interest in science and pinewood derby cars, the Maglev Train project combined a fun DIY activity with engaging science.

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With support from Amgen and the Lawrence Hall of Science, high school biology in the Bay Area has gotten a world-class boost of biotechnology. The Amgen Biotechnology Experience gives teachers and students the opportunity to experiment with sophisticated hands-on science...

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The Rosetta spacecraft may help provide information about the formation of the solar system and planet Earth. Students and classes explore comets and space science through hands-on science projects.



Your Science!
What will you explore for your science project this year? What is your favorite classroom science activity? Email us a short (one to three sentences) summary of your science project or teaching tip. You might end up featured in an upcoming Science Buddies newsletter!



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