Want to stretch your imagination? One good way is to try to imagine how far it is to a distant star. How much farther away is it than the moon is from the earth? How much farther away than the earth is from the sun? How long would it take to get there? In this project, you'll learn one way of measuring the distance without leaving Earth.
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Astro_p019

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

You will need a telescope for this project. Experience with geometry is recommended for this project (you need to understand similar triangles).

Have you ever played a computer game in which a cartoon character, like a dog or a cat, moves or turns when you click on it? Have you ever wondered how characters know how far to move or how far to turn? In this computer science project, you will learn how with a simple (and free) program called Scratch, which will let you write your own computer program that tells a cartoon kitty how to draw shapes.
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CompSci_p035

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

You should have access to a computer with the Internet and room for the Scratch program. Scratch can be downloaded for either Windows (2000 or later) or Mac (OSX 10.4 or later).

If you've played catch with both Aerobie flying rings and Frisbees, you know that the rings fly much further than the Frisbees with the same throwing effort. Why is that? Investigate the aerodynamics of flying rings and flying disks and find out!
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This is an interesting project that explores which geometrical shapes make the strongest bridge truss structures. It is a good introduction to the engineering design process. You'll design three different trusses, and use online simulation software to analyze the distribution of load-bearing forces in each design. Then you'll build and test prototypes of each design.
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CE_p006

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Time Required

Average (6-10 days)

Prerequisites

Excellent computer skills, high school physics course

Material Availability

Readily available

Cost

Low ($20 - $50)

Safety

Use caution with sharp tools when cutting wooden parts to size. Adult supervision recommended for bridge-testing phase.

A fractal is, "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be subdivided in parts, each of which is (at least approximately) a reduced/size copy of the whole" (Mandelbrot, 1982). There are many different fractal patterns, each with unique properties and typically named after the mathematician who discovered it. A fractal increases in complexity as it is generated through repeated sets of numbers called iterations. There are many interesting projects exploring fractal geometry that go beyond…
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How big a ruler would you need to measure the circumference of the Earth? Did you know that you can do it with a yardstick? (And you won't have to travel all the way around the world!)
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Astro_p018

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

You will need to understand some basic principles of geometry for this project. You will need a friend or relative in a distant city to make a shadow measurement for you on the same day you make yours. Both of you will need clear weather.

If you've ever so much as watched a news clip about a hurricane, you probably know that hurricanes draw their power from warm ocean waters. If that is true, does it mean that hurricanes actually cool the ocean down when they pass through? Can the amount of cooling be measured? Is it proportional to the strength of the hurricane? Find out using data that you can collect yourself using online archives. This project shows you how.
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Did you know that you can figure out how much sugar is in a liquid without ever tasting it? In this science fair project, you will learn how to measure the concentration of sugar dissolved in a liquid by using a laser pointer, a hollow prism, and some physics. You will discover how refraction, or the bending of light, is the key to measuring the sugar content of a liquid with a laser pointer.
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Phys_p028

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Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

None

Material Availability

Readily available

Cost

Average ($40 - $80)

Safety

Adult supervision recommended. Even low-power lasers can cause permanent eye damage. Please carefully
review and follow the
[# ProjectGuide Name="Advanced.LaserSafetyGuide" Value="HtmlAnchor" #].

A magic square is an arrangement of numbers from 1 to n2 in an n x n matrix. In a magic square each number occurs exactly once such that the sum of the entries of any row, column, or main diagonal is the same. You can make several magic squares and investigate the different properties of the square. Can you make an algorithm for constructing a Magic Square? Can you show that the sum of the entries of any row, column, or main diagonal must be n(n2+1)/2? Are there any other hidden properties of a…
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Strike a key on the piano, and you hear the string vibrating. Just about any object vibrates when it's knocked, but how much and how fast? What properties of the material affect the way it vibrates? This project helps you find out. You'll build a simple light-sensing circuit for measuring the frequency of vibrating springs.
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