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Others Like “Measuring the Speed of 'Light' with a Microwave Oven”

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Science Fair 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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- Less Details
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
Science Fair Project Idea
When you think of successful inventions from the 1900's that have dramatically changed how people live, what comes to mind? The car? Radio? TV? The computer? What about the microwave oven? You might not remember a time when microwave ovens were not a standard part of most kitchens, but your parents or grandparents probably do. They can remember when heating leftovers took a good 30 minutes in a traditional oven. Or thawing a food from the freezer meant leaving it in the refrigerator overnight.… Read more
FoodSci_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Access to a microwave oven and microwave-safe cookware.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision is required when using the microwave oven.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Here's a fun science project for anyone who plays an electric guitar. You'll learn about the physics of vibrating strings, and find out why the tone of your guitar changes when you switch between the different pickups. Read more
Music_p006
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites To do this project you need to have an electric guitar and guitar amplifier. You'll need to know enough about playing the instrument to produce clear, ringing tones by picking (or plucking) the string.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
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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- Less Details
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
Science Fair 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
+ More Details
- Less Details
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
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail This is a rockin' project for guitarists with an interest in the physics behind the music. Have you ever wondered why the pitch of the note changes when you fret the string? You can find out for yourself with this project on the fundamental physics of stringed instruments. Read more
Music_p010
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites To do this project, you will need a guitar (or other 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
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Why is it more comfortable to wear light-colored clothes on a hot summer day? Why wear a dark-colored jacket for early-morning fishing on a cold lake? How much difference can it make? Here's a project where you can quantify how much difference color makes for absorbing heat. Read more
Phys_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision required for drilling jar lids.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail The ocean is a wondrous force of nature. It affects the weather, and provides us with food and free and renewable energy to power our lives. How can the ocean provide us with free and renewable energy? One way is to extract the energy that is in the waves. There are many kinds of power systems that can be installed to extract energy from the waves, depending on the location. In this energy and power science project, you will build and test a simple model of an oscillating water column device to… Read more
Energy_p037
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should have fairly easy access to the ocean or to a deep body of water. Find a location where the surface of the water is within easy access of a pier, a dock, or a boat slip, and where the water is about 5 feet deep. You could also do this project in a swimming pool.
Material Availability See the Materials and Equipment list for more details.
Cost High ($100 - $150)
Safety Be sure to wear safety equipment, such as safety goggles and gloves, when working with power tools and other equipment. Parental supervision is required.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Here is a project that uses direct solar power, gathering the sun's rays for heating/sterilizing water or cooking. It is a low-cost technology that seems to have everything going for it. Does it work? Can you find ways to improve it? Find out with this project. Read more
Energy_p018
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites Sunlight, and fairly warm outside temperatures (>10°C, or 50°F).
Material Availability Readily Available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended. The oven is designed to cook food or boil water, so use proper caution to avoid burning yourself. Also be careful with the utility knife when cutting cardboard.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail The first bite of a fresh-picked apple, the crunch of morning toast, the deep cut into rich, flaky layers of baklava, the pleasing snap of a chip. Besides being delicious, what do these foods have in common? They're crisp. They have a brittleness that causes them to shatter in your mouth when you first bite into them. It's a sensation that many people enjoy. Making potatoes crispy requires some extra cooking steps, as you'll discover in this food science project, but the results are well worth… Read more
FoodSci_p042
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult supervision is required. Use caution when using a sharp knife and when working around a hot oven. You should not do this science fair project if you are allergic to potatoes or other vegetables from the nightshade family of plants.
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