People often draw conclusions from a small number of observations, and use those conclusions to evaluate the likelihood that an event will take place. But how easy is it to draw the wrong conclusion based on those observations? Will your predictions be accurate if an experiment is only performed a few times? The objective of this project is to determine what happens when a test with two equally-likely outcomes is performed only a small number of times.
You can test this by flipping a coin. A…
Read more

Can computer games be used to educate? Pick a game that incorporates educational material. There are a variety of educational computer games on the market in the areas of math, history, science, and language, as well as many simpler versions free on the Internet. Make up a test based on the subject area covered by the computer game. Have your volunteers take the test before and after playing the game. Does playing the computer game improve people's score on the test?
Read more

Math can make you money! If you understand some basic math, you can make good decisions about how to keep, spend, and use your hard earned dollars. Try an experiment comparing the same balance in different types of bank accounts. How much better is a savings account than a checking account? What difference does the interest rate make? Which is better, an account that earns compound or simple interest? Can you compare the short and long term costs of borrowing money compared to saving the cash…
Read more

Mysteries and detective stories have been popular since the time of Sherlock Holmes. The solutions to these fictional cases often involve untangling seemingly contradictory evidence from eyewitnesses. This project studies one procedure used in the real-world process of eyewitness identification of criminal suspects: the lineup. How accurate are eyewitness identifications using various lineup methods?
Read more

Yogurt is a very versatile dairy product. It's yummy eaten straight from the container, it is good for your digestive system, and it can be used in several ways for cooking. There is historical evidence that yogurt-making developed 4,500 years ago! Humans depended on yogurt-making as a way to preserve milk. Yogurt is the result of bacterial fermentation of milk. In fermentation, the bacteria consume the milk sugar, lactose, and produce lactic acid. The end-product is a thick, creamy, and tangy…
Read more

FoodSci_p030

+ More Details

- Less Details

Time Required

Average (6-10 days)

Prerequisites

None

Material Availability

Readily available

Cost

Low ($20 - $50)

Safety

Use caution when working with a stovetop. Adult supervision is recommended.

Have you ever noticed that hip-hop songs have a fast tempo, while country ballads are usually slow? Do you think there is a correlation between the number of beats per minute (bpm) in a song and the type of music? You can explore whether different genres of music have different bpm ranges by measuring the bpm in several different songs from a number of different genres. Bpm can be measured using free music software, like the one listed below in the Bibliography, or by counting all the beats you…
Read more

Music_p017

+ More Details

- Less Details

Time Required

Average (6-10 days)

Prerequisites

None

Material Availability

Free software can be downloaded to help measure the beats per minute in songs. See the Bibliography for more details.

How do you turn a 2-dimensional piece of paper into a 3-dimensional work of art? Origami, the classical art of Japanese paper folding, is loaded with mathematical themes and concepts. What are the common folds in origami, and how do they combine to create 3-dimensional structure? Can you classify different types of origami into classes based upon the types of folds they use? Can you show Kawasaki's Theorem, that if you add up the angle measurements of every other angle around a point, the sum…
Read more

Here is a project that is almost like a magic trick: with a strong magnet and a simple apparatus you can build yourself, you can make a coin "walk" up and down a wire coat hanger! This project is an interesting way to learn about the distance over which magnetic forces act on magnetic materials.
Read more

Phys_p024

+ More Details

- Less Details

Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

None

Material Availability

Specialty items

Cost

Low ($20 - $50)

Safety

Use strong magnets with care! See safety notes below.

Have you ever wondered how playing in a certain stadium affects how well the athletes perform? Major League Baseball (MLB) is played in ballparks that have their own individual quirks when it comes to the exact layout of the field. How an individual ballpark affects player performance, which is known as ballpark effects, is heavily investigated in the field of baseball. To name just a few parks and their different traits, Fenway Park (the long-time home ballpark for the Boston Red Sox in…
Read more

Math_p003

+ More Details

- Less Details

Time Required

Short (2-5 days)

Prerequisites

Basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel, statistics, and baseball

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…
Read more