Having trouble finding project

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Having trouble finding project

Postby drisgon » Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:46 pm

I'm not really sure where to put this post, but oh well!I've been having some difficulty finding a good project that I can enjoy and can be competitive. In the past, I've done projects that have just been to get a grade. This year, however, I would like to try a more competitive project and see how far I can get with it. The only part I'm have a problem with is actually finding a project!
First, some background on me. In my school, I am deeply involved in the music programs. I'm in a performance band, the marching band, and an after school orchestra. My favorite subject in school is by far history. As far as science goes, I really enjoy learning about space and chemistry. The last two years, my projects have been on music's effect on heart rate and how well people remember things. Neither project was executed very well. I also was more stressed out with them then I probably should have been.
When I first started looking for a project for this year, I started off with a music project. The one I found that interested me most was 'Does listening to classical music help or hinder concentration and performance on cognitive tasks?' I've always heard about how playing Mozart to your sleeping baby will make them smarter, and exploring this idea sounds fun. I think I could expand it, though I'm not sure how yet. Any suggestions?
Next, I moved into chemistry and found one on studying the chemistry on explosions. The idea is to shoot a film canister by igniting ethanol with a spark. This one really interests me. However, I'm not really sure how I would make this into a good project. Once again, suggestions welcome!
I checked out the space section here at Science Buddies, and found a couple projects on Sunspot cycles. I think this would be fun to study and could be competitive. I am totally clueless as to making this into a good project! Any input here would be wonderful!
Please feel free to offer any feedback, suggestions and/or input you have for me! Also, any project ideas you think I may enjoy! Thanks a million!
drisgon
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:14 am
Occupation: Student 9th grade
Project Question: I do not have a project yet and I would like help coming up with an idea
Project Due Date: January 20
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Having trouble finding project

Postby heatherL » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:07 pm

Hi drisgon,

It looks like you're in the right place, and hopefully we can help guide you toward a fun, fulfilling, and successful project. We can't decide for you which one will be the best, because it's really about what most interests you. I have some suggestions that will hopefully help you narrow things down to this year's project.

drisgon wrote:The last two years, my projects have been on music's effect on heart rate and how well people remember things. Neither project was executed very well. I also was more stressed out with them then I probably should have been.

If you enjoyed your previous music projects but did not think they were executed well, perhaps you might consider making them better. What was the problem? Did you not get enough subjects to participate? Did you have difficulty with your experimental design? Some of the best science projects are improvements upon previous attempts!

drisgon wrote:When I first started looking for a project for this year, I started off with a music project. The one I found that interested me most was 'Does listening to classical music help or hinder concentration and performance on cognitive tasks?' I've always heard about how playing Mozart to your sleeping baby will make them smarter, and exploring this idea sounds fun. I think I could expand it, though I'm not sure how yet. Any suggestions?

Since you are passionate about music, it makes sense that you are looking at another music project. I think the research has shown that playing Mozart to babies does not actually make them smarter, but there have been studies looking at the effects of music on cognitive performance. Some studies find that music without words is the best for studying, or music that you don't know (or like), because it serves as a background without distracting the person from studying. Keep in mind that music preference can have an effect on things.

One study that might be fun is the effect of music on exercise performance. This could be a project that expands upon your previous one with music and heart rate. I'm thinking you could see which kind of music allows people to go longer (or faster) on a treadmill or exercise bike. You could monitor their heart rate during the exercise as well. Remember to include a control (no music), and to take note of each person's music preferences, since that could affect their motivation during exercise.

drisgon wrote:Next, I moved into chemistry and found one on studying the chemistry on explosions. The idea is to shoot a film canister by igniting ethanol with a spark. This one really interests me. However, I'm not really sure how I would make this into a good project. Once again, suggestions welcome!

Have you looked at the "Make It Your Own" section for this project? http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... eityourown
It's a good project by itself, but something like exploring different fuels could make it even better.

drisgon wrote:I checked out the space section here at Science Buddies, and found a couple projects on Sunspot cycles. I think this would be fun to study and could be competitive. I am totally clueless as to making this into a good project! Any input here would be wonderful!

I think the Sunspot Cycles project (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... p017.shtml) combines your interest in space and your love of history.
Counting Sunspots (http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-f ... w&from=TSW) is an extension of that one that could help you make it your own.

Again, I cannot tell you what is most interesting to you. Please post again as you narrow down your interests, so we can help you design something successful this year!

Heather
heatherL
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Re: Having trouble finding project

Postby drisgon » Mon Oct 29, 2012 6:22 pm

Thank you so much for your reply! It's really helped me!
As far as music goes, I've decided to talk to my teacher about that. However, if I did decide to do a project on music, where would be the best place to look for a mentor?
I've turned most of my attention to the sunspots. While I was talking to my dad about it, he brought up that sunspots have an effect on radio signals. He has a fetish with ham radios, and told me that every eleven years, there is a peak in the cycle. At this time, you are able to communicate with people you normally wouldn't be able to, as he put it. I was thinking I could do a project on this. However, would it make sense to do it in the time frame I have (about four months)?
drisgon
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:14 am
Occupation: Student 9th grade
Project Question: I do not have a project yet and I would like help coming up with an idea
Project Due Date: January 20
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Having trouble finding project

Postby heatherL » Thu Nov 01, 2012 9:09 am

Hi drisgon,

I'm glad to be of help! :)

If you do decide to pursue a music project, whom you choose as a mentor will depend on what you decide to study. For example, if you decide to look at the effects of music on exercise, you might want to contact an exercise physiologist. That said, I really think that the music project may not require a mentor at all. The most important thing will be to find enough volunteers to be subjects in your study. Let me know if you decide to go with a music project, and we can talk more about your best course of action.

I think it would be very difficult to look at 11-year cycles of ham radio communication, unless your dad has access to some records. That said, you could try looking up the influence of sunspots on electromagnetic radiation. Here is one site that I found: http://www.tech-faq.com/how-sunspots-af ... ption.html. I suggest doing your own search to see what else you can find.

Since you know that sunspots cycle every 11 years, you can use the Science Buddies project to find the pattern, and then relate that to radio signals. Radio signals are a form of electromagnetic radiation (outside the visible spectrum). So if sunspots affect EM radiation, it is likely they will affect radio waves. If your dad has any records (even his own) regarding ham radio communication over the past many years, you may be able to relate that to the historical sunspot cycle. If there are any historical records, then you should be able to analyze things within your time frame.

Please let me know what you decide to do!

Heather
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Posts: 889
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