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How High Can You Throw a Baseball? A Tennis Ball? A Football? A Golf Ball? *

TWC football
Difficulty
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.

Abstract

How high can you throw different types of balls, like a golf ball, a basketball, and a football? Would one of them go higher than the others? Do factors like mass, shape, and volume influence the final height? You can measure the approximate maximum height a thrown ball reaches by measuring the time it spends in the air.

To do this project, you'll need at least one ball and a helper with a stopwatch. Your helper should start timing just as you release the ball, and stop right when the ball touches the ground. The height, h (in meters), can be calculated from the time aloft, t as follows:

h = 4.9 × (0.5 × t)2

For height in feet, change "4.9" in the above equation to "16". (Wiese, 2002, 20-22.)

Advanced project idea: If you've taken high school physics, you should be able to derive the equation above for yourself. Can you develop an explanation for how high you can throw different balls based on the forces acting on the balls?

Cite This Page

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "How High Can You Throw a Baseball? A Tennis Ball? A Football? A Golf Ball?" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 20 June 2014. Web. 23 Aug. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p035.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, June 20). How High Can You Throw a Baseball? A Tennis Ball? A Football? A Golf Ball?. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Sports_p035.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-06-20

Bibliography

Wiese, J., 2002. Sports Science: 40 Goal-Scoring, High-Flying, Medal-Winning Experiments for Kids. New York, NY: John Wiley and Sons.

Learn more about the science of football with this easy-to-read guide:

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I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

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