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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."



    Students at Computer Image
  • 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?"





    Plants Image
  • 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!"


    Comets Image
  • 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 Summer Science Roundup


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School and family science weekly spotlight: make a solar oven from household and recycled materials.

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With different kinds of dried beans, plastic cups, and water, kids can model rocks and observe the way different sized particles in rocks affect how much water a rock can hold.

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Students can experiment with the engineering design process by trying to improve the durability of a simple handheld device.

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School and family science weekly spotlight: melting ice chemistry.

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For families living in drought conditions, careful monitoring of water usage is especially important. With hands-on science and engineering projects, students can investigate water-saving strategies and science and engineering related to water conservation. Above: The effect of drought can be...

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City parklets provide interesting challenges for engineers, designers, and planners. With software from Autodesk and a fun Digital STEAM Workshop challenge, students can design their own parklets and see what is involved in reimagining a few parking spots as a social space.



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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