Here's a fun project idea to learn about compression forces. For this experiment you'll need some empty toilet paper tubes, masking tape, sand (or table salt), pebbles (or marbles), a funnel, a cardboard box, and a sturdy chair to help you balance while testing the column. Seal one end of the tube with masking tape. Use the funnel to fill the tube with sand (or salt). Seal the other end with tape. Place the tube on end inside the paper box. Place the chair with its back to the box and hold…
Using just a single sheet of paper (8.5 x 11 inches) and up to five paper clips, can you build a bridge that will span 20 cm and support the weight of 100 pennies? The area beneath the span must be free (so that boats can pass beneath it). To test your bridge, place two books 20 cm apart, and set the bridge on the books, spanning the gap. Do not fasten the bridge to the book (nor to any other support). Does your bridge hold as much weight as you expected it would? If your bridge fails…
Start with 7 drinking straws and 14 paper clips. Use the paper clips to fasten the straws together. Here's how: 1) Clip two paper clips together, narrow end to narrow end. 2) Push the wide ends of each clip into the end of a straw. That's it! Connect four straws to make a square, and three straws to make a triangle. Now test which shape is stronger. Hold the shapes vertically, with an edge or a vertex resting on the tabletop. Have a helper push on the opposite side or vertex. Which shape…
Have you ever seen a geodesic dome? Geodesic domes are approximately sphere-like (or partially sphere-like) structures made up of interconnected triangles. A famous geodesic dome is Spaceship Earth at EPCOT in Walt Disney World, Florida, but geodesic domes are also commonly found as climbing domes at playgrounds. In this science project, you will get to build a geodesic dome using rolled-up newspapers and tape. How much mass do you think your dome will be able to support? Build one and find out!
Skyscrapers are impressive structures. What does it take to design a building so tall? Engineers use strong materials and innovative design to push the limits of gravity. In this experiment you will use LEGO® components, rubber balls, and a 3-ring binder.
Maybe somewhere in your home there's a long hallway or a stairway with a light that you can turn on from either end. It's a nice convenience, but did you ever wonder how it's wired up to work that way? The goal of this project is to build a similar circuit with switches, flashlight batteries and a flashlight bulb (obviously, household circuits are not safe to experiment with). You'll need to understand the difference between connections made in series and connections made in parallel in an…
You'll need: a puck, a hockey stick, a tape measure, at least one helper with a stopwatch and an empty rink. Have your friend start the watch just as you make contact with the puck, and stop it when the puck hits the boards. Measure the distance and divide by the time to get the speed of the puck. With two helpers and two stop watches, you can time the puck at center ice and at the far end. Are the speeds the same? How about if you don't follow through, but stop your stick as soon as it…
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.
If you have an air hockey table, you know that the puck floats on a thin cushion of air when the table is turned on. With little friction, the puck can travel very fast. How much lift force is created by the air? Add small amounts of weight to the puck and see when it no longer floats to measure the lift force. How many air holes (on average) support the puck? How much force is generated by each air hole? Will a puck with a larger surface area, supported by more air holes (on average),…
For centuries, beautiful bell towers, like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, have been the center of village life, announcing the time of day, the joy of weddings, and the sorrow of funerals. They were also used to call villagers to action in times of danger. Have you ever wondered, though, why people put the bells in towers? The bells are so heavy, why haul them all the way up to the top of tall towers? Why not just ring them on the ground? Putting bells up high does make for a dramatic visual…
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Short (2-5 days)
Access to a multi-level home or building with windows on the ground and upper floors, and without external sources of noise, like traffic.
Low ($20 - $50)
You should never lean out of a window and should have an adult with you if you need to try this science fair project away from home. Adult supervision is recommended.
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