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Project Idea
Did you know that making a musical instrument is not just an art, but a science, too? You can discover just how scientific by building your own xylophone (or a set of chimes) from copper pipe. First you'll need to do some research about the math and physics involved in the sounds of a xylophone. For example, there are equations that describe the transverse (side-to-side) vibrations of a pipe. These vibrations create the sounds you hear. So, to get specific sounds, xylophone makers must apply… Read more
Music_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items: Tube and pipe cutter wheel, or hack saw.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision required to cut the copper pipe.
Project Idea
Math is used by many different types of scientists to model phenomenon and evaluate data from an experiment. By building mathematical models scientists can understand how different physical, chemical, and biological processes are affected by different variables. The most important tools are: making a graph to give a visual representation of the relationships between your variables and making an equation to give a way of computing the relationships between your variables. Find a source of data,… Read more
Math_p029
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
Coal, gas, and oil are energy resources that are not renewable, meaning that once we use up the world's supply of these natural resources there will not be any left. There is a lot of debate about how long these resources will last. One way to ensure that we will not find ourselves in an energy crisis is to develop energy resources that are renewable. Renewable energy is a resource that cannot be used up. Investigate the many uses of renewable energy: solar energy, wind energy,… Read more
Energy_p007
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
Some claim the Moon appears larger when near the horizon. Make a series of observations of the Moon, measuring the Moon's angular diameter each time. You should also note the Moon's altitude above the horizon, and the Moon's phase. You should do background research on the lunar orbit to determine the necessary time period. Do you find predictable variations in the Moon's diameter? Can you relate this to the Moon's changing distance from Earth? From your data, try to determine when apogee and… Read more
Astro_p030
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Project Idea
thumbnail The amount of energy produced by most photovoltaic (solar) panels is limited, due to their immobility. However, when photovoltaic panels track the movement of the Sun, their efficiency increases significantly. This can be done with computers and sophisticated electronics, but for rural or wilderness settings, a "low-tech" sun tracker would be beneficial. A solution exists in nature: the sunflower. The challenge in this science fair project is to design and build a device that imitates the… Read more
ApMech_p045
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites Experience designing and building mechanical devices is preferred, or at least the willingness to invest many hours designing, testing, and re-designing.
Material Availability You will need a photovoltaic panel, approximately 200 square cm.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
You've probably observed from your own personal experiences that some actions are contagious. Yawning is a great example. When one person in a room yawns, several other people usually do, too. Coughing, clearing your throat, these are other actions that often seem contagious. But what about smiling? Have you ever walked down the street and had a random stranger smile at you? Did it make you happy? Did you smile back? In this science fair project, you'll investigate whether smiling is… Read more
HumBeh_p042
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision is recommended when collecting your data.
Project Idea
Let's suppose you can take advantage of the Internet and get a 'pen pal' located a 1000 miles away in another city. On the same night, and at EXACTLY the same time 'Universal Time', make a CAREFUL observation of where the Moon is located with respect to the background stars. You should be able to discern a slight (about 1/2 the Moon's diameter) shift in position due to parallax. Then, with a little geometry, you could estimate the distance of the Moon during the full lunar cycle (Odenwald,… Read more
Astro_p028
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
What variables contribute to the properties of the soil in an area? Investigate the role of climate, weather, topography, time, parent material, vegetation, and biological and chemical agents on soil formation. How are soils characterized? There are 3 basic particle sizes which create three basic soil types: sand, silt, and clay. Investigate the properties of the three different types of soil by observing grain size, shape, hardness, color, chemical composition, pore space, aeration,… Read more
Geo_p034
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
There are many types of construction materials used for wood-frame houses. Compare the different uses for and strengths of different building materials, e.g.: particle board, plywood, pine, oriented strand board (OSB), and drywall (gypsum board, SheetRock). The Science Buddies Materials Science Resource Stress, Strength and Strain will be helpful for learning about different ways to measure material strength. You should be sure to use the same cross-sectional area of each material in order… Read more
CE_p020
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Research the famous collapse of the Tacoma Narrows suspension bridge. What lessons were learned about the potentially damaging effects of wind on bridges? What structures stabilize a bridge against wind forces? Build models and use a wind tunnel to test your hypothesis. Read more
Aero_p030
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
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