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Others Like “How Things Break”

Science Fair Project Idea
Want to send coded messages to your friends? Can you write a simple letter-substitution encryption program in JavaScript? How easy is it to break the simple code? Can you write a second program that "cracks" the letter-substitution code? Investigate other encryption schemes. What types of encryption are least vulnerable to attack? Read more
CompSci_p031
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
There are many types of construction materials used for wood-frame houses. Compare the different uses for and strengths of different building materials, e.g.: particle board, plywood, pine, oriented strand board (OSB), and drywall (gypsum board, SheetRock). The Science Buddies Materials Science Resource will be helpful for learning about different ways to measure material strength. You should be sure to use the same cross-sectional area of each material in order to make fair comparisons.… Read more
CE_p020
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Students who are mathematically inclined can use the student version of a program like MatLab or Mathematica to convert a digital image into numbers, then perform operations such as sharpening or special effects. This is a great way to learn about image processing algorithms. Read more
Photo_p018
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Science Fair Project Idea
Try different wind turbine/propeller (chord length, pitch) designs by making models from balsa wood. Connect the spinning axle to a DC motor and measure the voltage produced across a resistor to measure power output. Use fan as wind source. (Judge, 2004) Read more
Aero_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Does the force of drag have an effect on the distance the puck will travel? Think of a way to launch the puck with a reproducible force, and examine the effect of launching the puck in different orientations on the distance it travels. For more information on the physics, see Haché, 2002. Read more
Aero_p025
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
For an advanced science fair project, you can build your own telescope and learn how to use it to make observations of the night sky. Can you make your own observations to determine the orbital period of Jupiter's major moons? Complete instructions for building a Dobsonian telescope are available here: . Read more
Astro_p031
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
Try gluing wood together with different types of glue, e.g.: regular white glue, yellow wood glue, cyanoacrylate (super glue), and Liquid Nails. Glue a short piece (5-8 cm) to the center of a longer piece (15-30 cm). After the glue has dried for the recommended time, drill a small hole through the center of the joint, big enough to pass through a piece of coat-hanger wire. Cut a length of coat hanger wire, pass it through the hole, and twist the ends together to form a loop. Place the ends… Read more
CE_p021
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Make your own fertile soil using kitchen scraps, manure, leaves, grass clippings, and other compostable materials. Which materials make the best compost? How does the amount of nitrogen change the rate at which the compost forms? How does traditional composting compare to worm composting, or vermiculture? How does the temperature of the compost pile change? Read more
Geo_p036
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Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Science Fair Project Idea
If you know or calculate the field of view for your camera, you can use it to measure distances and the height of almost anything. It's all a matter of basic trigonometry. Read more
Photo_p015
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
You can compare the picture quality for photos taken at different shutter speeds with the camera handheld vs. with the camera on a tripod. (This is best done with a camera that has manual exposure control.) Read more
Photo_p017
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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