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Project Idea
Almost all of the games we play are based on math in some way or another. Card games, board games, and computer games are designed using statistics, probabilities, and algorithms. Begin by reading about games and game theory. Then you can choose your favorite game and investigate the mathematical principles behind how it works. Can combinatorial game theory help you to win two-player games of perfect knowledge such as go, chess, or checkers? (Weisstein, 2006; Watkins, 2004) In a multi-player… Read more
Math_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you love to make music, but do not have access to all the instruments you would love to play? Check out this fun science fair project about the physics of musical sound production. You will make musical instruments with drinking straws, one for each note on a one-octave major scale. Can you figure out the right lengths for a series of straw "oboes" in order to play a musical scale? Read more
Music_p016
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must have an understanding of waves or a willingness to learn about them in order to do this science fair project. Familiarity with a musical instrument and playing a reed instrument is helpful, but not required.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Do violin students have better relative pitch than piano students? Since the violin requires the player to choose the correct location to stop the string in order to sound the proper note, you might think that violin players would, as a result of practice, have better ear training than piano students. On the other hand, you could argue the opposite viewpoint, since piano students would have the benefit of hearing correct intervals (assuming that the piano is in tune). Which hypothesis do you… Read more
Music_p002
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
thumbnail Here's an interesting way to get some music into your science fair project. What predictions would you make about people with relative pitch? Read more
Music_p015
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites Access to a piano
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
How do you turn a 2-dimentional piece of paper into a 3-dimentional 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-dimentional 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
Math_p032
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
thumbnail In this project, you'll investigate the physics of standing waves on guitar strings. You'll learn about the different modes (i.e., patterns) of vibration that can be produced on a string, and you'll figure out how to produce the various modes by lightly touching the string at just the right place while you pick the string. This technique is called playing harmonics on the string. By the way, we chose a guitar for this project, but you can do the experiments using any stringed instrument, with… Read more
Music_p009
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you'll need a guitar (or other stringed instrument). You'll need to know enough about playing the instrument to produce clear harmonics by picking (or plucking) the string while lightly touching it in just the right place.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Many industries rely on scale models to develop new products and designs. Architects, industrial designers, artists, clothing designers, and car manufacturers all use scale models. Each model is built to a scale that relates the actual object to the model through a ratio. Can you determine a formula for constructing a scale model? You can use your formula to make a model of your house, school, neighborhood, or town (CUBE, 2002). You can make scale models of the Wright Brothers aircraft… Read more
Math_p028
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail This is a great project for a musician who is interested in the physics of stringed instruments. If you've every played an acoustic guitar, you may have noticed that picking a single string can make one or more of the other (unpicked) strings vibrate. When this happens, it's called sympathetic vibration. What intervals lead to the strongest sympathetic vibrations? Find out for yourself with this project. Read more
Music_p011
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need a properly tuned acoustic guitar (or other acoustic stringed instrument). You'll need to know enough about playing the instrument to produce clear, ringing tones by picking (or plucking) the string while changing its effective length by fretting (or fingering) it.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
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… Read more
Music_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Access to a multi-level home or building with windows on the ground and upper floors, and without external sources of noise, like traffic.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety 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.
Project Idea
thumbnail The renowned pianist Vladimir Horowitz once said, "The most important thing is to transform the piano from a percussive instrument into a singing instrument." Check out this project to learn about sympathetic vibrations, one way to make piano strings sing. Read more
Music_p012
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you'll need a piano which is in tune. You'll also need to know enough about the piano to find notes by their letter names.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
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