So baseball's your game? Well, slugger, science and math abound in baseball. Just look at the zillions of "stats." In this project, you can produce some interesting baseball statistics of your own and perhaps settle a long-standing debate. You'll set up experiments at your local playing field to find out which type of bat is better, wood or aluminum. Play ball, and batter up!
Here's a project that will teach you about math as you follow some of your favorite players or teams. You'll be comparing day-to-day performance with long-term averages, and trying to determine if the "streaks" and "slumps" over shorter time periods are due to random chance or something else. When you've finished, you'll have a better understanding of some important concepts in statistical analysis and baseball.
If a player goes 0-for-20, does that mean anything? Using probability theory,…
Here's a sports science project that shows you how to use correlation analysis to choose the best batting statistic for predicting run-scoring ability. You'll learn how to use a spreadsheet to measure correlations between two variables.
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Short (2-5 days)
To do this project you must be comfortable using a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel®, or be willing to learn how to use one.
In baseball, coaches use hit charts to track the results of every hit each player makes, giving a measure of the player's performance. Have you ever wondered what things affect where a baseball goes when a player hits it with a bat? In this project you will set up an experiment to hit a ping pong ball in a controlled manner using a toy catapult, then learn about the physics of baseball by making your own hit chart.
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Average (6-10 days)
To do this project, you should understand what a coordinate system is and know how to make a simple scatter plot.
This science project requires a kit available from the Science Buddies [# Link Name="Sports_p060.3" Value="HtmlAnchor" HtmlText="store" #]. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Estimated project time includes shipping.
Average ($40 - $80)
Never launch projectiles at people or animals. Be careful not to get your fingers caught in the moving parts of the catapult.
Tennis racquets, baseball bats and golf clubs all vibrate when they hit the ball. You can often feel it in your hands, particularly if you "mis-hit" the ball. You can find the point(s) on your racquet, bat or club—called the "sweet spot"—that minimize unwanted vibrations. Low-tech method: hang the racquet or bat straight up and down with a string from its handle. Lightly hold the handle with your thumb and forefinger and have a helper sharply tap the bat, strings or club face…
Many sports skills require quick reaction times: think of hitting a 95-mph fastball, returning a 100-mph tennis serve, or blocking a slapshot at the net in hockey. (The Experimental Procedure section below has one way to measure reaction time.) Is your right hand faster than your left? Can you improve your reaction time with practice? Do both hands improve if you only practice with one hand? Try relating your reaction time to real situations in your favorite sport. For example, calculate…
What makes a winning team? Getting all the best players? Good coaches? Good chemistry? This project will show you how you can use math to help you test your hypothesis about what makes a winning team.
The Pythagorean relationship is a fundamental one in sports: it correctly predicts the records of 98% of all teams. But in 2% of cases, it fails. Why does it fail? Find teams that deviated substantially from their expected Pythagorean record (this information is available for baseball teams…
Here's a project that combines sports and math. You'll learn how to use correlation analysis to choose the best team batting statistic for predicting run-scoring ability (Albert, 2003). You'll also learn how to use a spreadsheet to measure correlations between two variables.
Invasive species are organisms (either plant or animal) that have been introduced into a new, non-native area and spread rapidly in the new environment due to a lack of regulation by predators. Frequently, invasive species will out-compete native species for resources which can put native species at risk. This is an especially big problem for threatened habitat and endangered species, which are already at risk. Survey your area to document cases of invasive species invading a local…
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