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Others Like “Gears-Go-Round!”

Project Idea
If you have a multi-speed bike, you know that you can make it easier or harder to pedal just by shifting gears. Ever wonder how that works? You can investigate this a number of ways. A basic approach is to use a selection of spools of thread (with different diameters), a board with two nails, and a rubber band. Place a spool over each nail, and put the rubber band over them. Mark the 12:00 position on each spool so that you can count revolutions. Turn one spool through a full circle and… Read more
Sports_p025
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Project Idea
thumbnail Are you a budding Marianne Vos or Greg LeMond? Are you into cycling and speed? Then this is the science fair project for you! In this science fair project, you will determine the best gear ratio for your bike, to get the highest speed after a curve and onto a straightaway. You will learn a lot about applied mechanics and gears, all while having fun riding your bike. Read more
ApMech_p043
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You must be able to ride a bicycle and have access to a bike path.
Material Availability You must have access to a multi-speed bicycle and bicycling safety gear.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible. Wear all necessary bicycling safety gear, especially a helmet. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail "What?! Many of my toys are also machines?" That's right—simple machines! Simple machines are everywhere! Under your feet when you climb stairs, in your hand when you use a utensil to eat your dinner, even in your arm when you throw a ball. Come visit this science fair project and explore the six types of simple machines. Find out how many are hiding under the hinged lid (yes, another simple machine) of your toy box! Read more
ApMech_p042
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
When you think of a machine, you probably think of computers or robots. But what if I told you that machines have been around for centuries? Would you believe me? Try this experiment to see which of these simple machines you use around your house. You might even use some of them everyday! Read more
ApMech_p018
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail What do rocks and clocks have in common? Both keep track of time. Yes, radioactive isotopes present in rocks and other ancient material decay atom by atom at a steady rate, much as clocks tick time away. Geologists use those radioactive isotopes to date volcanic ash or granite formations like the giant Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. Anthropologists, archeologists, and paleontologists also use radioactive isotopes to date mummies, pottery, and dinosaur fossils. Does this sound abstract… Read more
Geo_p044
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues.
Project Idea
Skateboarder alert: Extreme performance needed in this project. Dude, you can cruise and carve while you investigate which skateboard wheels produce the fastest (and slowest) rides on your terrain in these experiments. You pick the wheels and design the tests you think will produce the most extreme results for speed and turns. Do this project and you can work on your ride and learn some science about the speed, spin, and design of skateboard wheels. Read more
Sports_p018
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury possible
Project Idea
thumbnail If you ride a bike, you probably know that you have to occasionally pump up the tires to keep them fully inflated. Over a long period of time, the tires slowly leak air, so their pressure will decrease. Have you ever noticed that it is actually harder to ride a bike when the tire pressure is too low? This is because the tires are a big factor in the rolling resistance of the bike. In this sports science project, you will measure how tire pressure affects the force required to move a bike. How… Read more
ApMech_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires a bike with training wheels and a special spring scale to measure force. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Only do this science project in a safe area where there are no cars, like a playground or a sidewalk. Do not do this science project in a street or parking lot. The volunteer riding the bike must wear a bike helmet.
Project Idea
thumbnail On a windy day it is hard to keep your hat on! The power of the wind can even be strong enough to power large wind turbines to make electricity! In this experiment, find out how you can make your own instrument to measure the speed and power of the wind. How does it work? Read more
Weather_p008
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety None
Project Idea
thumbnail Practice makes you better at most things, and knowledge makes practice so much easier! Can you swirl a circular toy called a hula hoop around your waist or arm? Is it hard? What knowledge can you apply to find ways that make hula-hooping easier? Physics! Yes, physics will help you determine what makes one hula hoop a winner and another a flop. In this science project, you will create your own hula hoops, spin them, and draw conclusions. The road will then be open to your becoming a hula hoop… Read more
Phys_p088
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should know how to (or be willing to learn to) hula hoop around your waist or arm. Note: Hula-hooping is fairly easy if you have the right hula hoop for your body. This science project provides guidelines to make such a hula hoop.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult help is required to cut the polypipe tubing.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever tried to ride your bike up a flight of stairs? Vehicles with wheels are great at traveling on paved roads or flat ground, but when it comes to stairs or uneven ground in the woods, wheels are not always such a great option. Inspired by real-life all-terrain robots, in this engineering project you will design and build a LEGO® robot that can travel over bumpy ground, through your yard, or even up a stack of textbooks — and almost anything else you can think of! Read more
Robotics_p009
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Experience building with LEGO® and programming for LEGO® Mindstorms® is required for this project.
Material Availability This project requires a LEGO® Mindstorms® NXT kit and compatible programming software. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very High (over $150)
Safety No issues
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