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Project Idea
This project is an experiment in classical physics. You'll be following in Galileo's footsteps, and investigating Newton's laws of motion, but you'll be taking advantage of modern video recording technology to make your measurements. Sure, it's been done before, but if you do it yourself, you can get a firm understanding of these important concepts. Read more
Phys_p027
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail How do you like your mashed potatoes? Thin and whipped smooth? Or thick and mashed into chunks? Your mouth checks out not just the taste of your food, but its viscosity, or how it flows on your tongue, every time you take a bite! In this science fair project, you'll learn what viscosity is, and how to measure it in common liquids around your home. Read more
Chem_p055
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability The graduated cylinder must be ordered from a science supply store.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety You should only test non-toxic, non-flammable, and non-volatile liquids. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail If you'd like to investigate the physics of amusement park rides, then this project is for you. You'll build a roller coaster track for marbles using foam pipe insulation and masking tape, and see how much the marble's potential energy at the beginning of the track is converted to kinetic energy at various points along the track. Read more
Phys_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended when using utility knife
Project Idea
thumbnail In physics class, you have probably rolled your eyes at some point after being assigned a "projectile motion" homework problem where you use equations to predict how a ball will move through the air. This experiment will show you just how fun that problem can be by using a real catapult to launch a ball and videotaping it as it flies along its path. Then, you will analyze the video and compare it to what the equations predicted. If you have ever wondered if those equations in your physics… Read more
Phys_p089
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This project requires a basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry (sine and cosine functions), and physics (kinematics—two-dimensional projectile motion), or the willingness to learn about these subjects on your own.
Material Availability This project requires access to a video camera (not included in the cost estimate) and the purchase of a catapult kit. (See the Materials and Equipment list for details.)
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Minor injury possible. Never aim the catapult at anyone, and keep your hands and fingers clear of the moving catapult arm when launching the catapult.
Project Idea
thumbnail Want to do a project with a toy your parents, or even grandparents, might have played with? Slinkies are fun toys that also make great physics and engineering projects. In this science project you will investigate how changing the angle of an inclined plane affects how the Slinky walks down it. What angle will enable the Slinky to go for the best walk? Read more
ApMech_p019
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
The insides of a car engine get very hot when the engine is running. Motor oil lubricates the moving parts, to keep the engine operating smoothly. What happens to motor oil as the engine temperature goes up? Read more
MatlSci_p019
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision required. Use caution when heating oil in the water bath, and when handling hot containers.
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever played paintball with your friends? Wonder how you can improve your game? Paintball guns use compressed gas to shoot paint-filled pellets at high speed, and with good accuracy. The flight path of the ball is determined by its speed and the angle at which it is shot, relative to the ground. In this sports science fair project, you will explore the ballistics of paintballs, focusing on how drag and other factors affect the results. Read more
Sports_p054
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should have access to a paintball gun, be familiar with how to shoot it safely, and have access to an open area where you can shoot it. This project has a fairly involved procedure, since you are measuring several parameters (velocity, time of flight, distance) and also comparing these measurements to what you would expect based on calculations. Feel free to customize the procedure based on your interests.
Material Availability Specialty items: You will need access to a paintball gun and accessories, including safety gear for you and for three helpers, as well as an instrument to measure velocity of the paintballs. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury is possible, so wear eye protection. Adult supervision is required.
Project Idea
thumbnail Many things in nature are periodic: the seasons of the year, the phases of the moon, the vibration of a violin string, and the beating of the human heart. In each of these cases, the events occur in repeated cycles, or periods. In this project you will investigate the periodic motion of a spring, using a mini Slinky®. Basic physics will then allow you to determine the Hooke's Law spring constant. Your analysis will also yield the effective mass of the spring, a factor that is important in… Read more
Phys_p064
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
The funny thing about friction is that you couldn't get anywhere without it, yet it still acts to slow you down as you're getting there. Here is an easy project to measure the effects of friction. Read more
ApMech_p012
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Skateboarder alert: Extreme performance needed in this project. Dude, you can cruise and carve while you investigate which skateboard wheels produce the fastest (and slowest) rides on your terrain in these experiments. You pick the wheels and design the tests you think will produce the most extreme results for speed and turns. Do this project and you can work on your ride and learn some science about the speed, spin, and design of skateboard wheels. Read more
Sports_p018
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury possible
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