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Others Like “Build a Gauss Rifle!”

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Science Fair Project Idea
If you have ever tried to hit a target (such as a trash can) with a wad of paper, you know that aim is everything. But it is not always easy to get it right every time! Missing is not that big a deal with a wad of paper, but what if you were in an invading army in the Middle Ages, using a catapult to hurl huge stones and knock down castle walls? For a successful invasion, it would be important to know exactly how far, and how reliably, a catapult could launch a projectile. In this project you… Read more
Math_p046
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites An introductory-level understanding of statistics (mean, standard deviation, and the normal distribution) is helpful, but not required for completing this project.
Material Availability Requires catapult kit. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Do not aim the catapult at people or breakable objects; minor injury possible.
Science Fair Project Idea
When you think of a motor, you may immediately think of a car, but you actually encounter other motors in your home every day. That's right, if you put on clean clothes from the washing machine, ate food from the fridge, or used a fan, you used an electric motor. In this electronics science project, you will make a simple electric motor with two magnets that "talk" to each other. As they interact, they will alternate between "liking" each other (pulling together), and "disliking" each other… Read more
Elec_p051
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should be able to coil wire neatly (or find someone who can show you how) in order to make your electric motor work.
Material Availability A kit containing all the specialty items needed for this project is available from the .
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety

Never try to use a wall socket as power source for your motor.

Neodymium magnets are very strong. Follow the safety guidelines in the Procedure for working with these magnets.

Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever looked in the kitchen cupboard and found a container of tiny white grains, but you were not sure if they were sugar or salt? They look very similar. How could you tell them apart? Well, you know that sugar and salt taste very different. Taste is actually called a property, and properties are used to describe and identify different materials. Properties can also be used to physically separate things. In this science project, you will use different properties to create a way… Read more
BioChem_p046
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Iron filings and neodymium magnets may need to be specially ordered. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety An adult's help may be needed for using a knife and scissors to cut a plastic bottle. Follow all safety precautions when handling the neodymium magnets; these magnets should never slam together, never pinch fingers or skin, never be swallowed, and should be kept away from all electronic devices. Keep them out of reach of all young children and pets. An adult should help if a stovetop or oven is used.
Science Fair Project Idea
The movement of satellites is intriguing, but how do they orbit the way they do? Aerospace engineers run calculations and set up computer models to help them predict how satellites move in space, but in this astronomy science project, you will create a physical model with marbles, clay, and a cookie sheet to help you study how satellites move in space and learn from your observations. Read more
Astro_p041
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
Practice makes you better at most things, and knowledge makes practice so much easier! Can you swirl a circular toy called a hula hoop around your waist or arm? Is it hard? What knowledge can you apply to find ways that make hula-hooping easier? Physics! Yes, physics will help you determine what makes one hula hoop a winner and another a flop. In this science project, you will create your own hula hoops, spin them, and draw conclusions. The road will then be open to your becoming a hula hoop… Read more
Phys_p088
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should know how to (or be willing to learn to) hula hoop around your waist or arm. Note: Hula-hooping is fairly easy if you have the right hula hoop for your body. This science project provides guidelines to make such a hula hoop.
Material Availability Readily available.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Adult help is required to cut the polypipe tubing.
Science Fair Project Idea
You are right next to the basket and someone passes you the ball. Will you go for a direct shot or will you use the backboard and take a bank shot at the basket? Would different positions on the court give you a higher chance of making a shot using the backboard than others, even when keeping the distance from the hoop the same? In this science project, you will build a scale model and test different positions on the court to determine if one results in a better chance of making a bank shot… Read more
Sports_p024
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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 recommended when using the craft or utility knife.
Science Fair Project Idea
Physicists sometimes study matter under extreme conditions. For example, think of the emptiness of interstellar space vs. the unimaginable crush of pressure at the center of a neutron star, or an object dipped in liquid nitrogen vs. the tiles on the space shuttle during re-entry. Here's an experiment on permanent magnets in "extreme kitchen" conditions that you can try at home. Read more
Phys_p025
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision highly recommended. Use proper caution when transferring or holding magnets at extreme temperatures. See the Procedure for details.
Science Fair Project Idea
Put your engineering skills to the test to see if you can build a machine—powered by nothing but gravity—that will automatically sort out two different sizes of plastic spheres. That might seem like a strange task, but have you ever used a coin sorter to separate pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters? How about using a sifter in the kitchen to separate fine grains of flour or sugar from bigger lumps? Machines that can automatically sort objects or particles of different sizes are… Read more
ApMech_p051
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult supervision recommended for cutting materials that can create sharp edges, like plastic cups.
Science Fair Project Idea
Have you ever had fun playing with sand and water, observing how little rivers you create carve their way down to the lowest point of the sandbox, backyard or beach? Some meander, others braid, and some carve a path straight down. Hyrdologists (or scientists who study water) do very much the same thing! Only they set up the model in a particular way, so observing their mini-rivers helps them answer questions about how water flow affects the environment. In this geology science project, you… Read more
Geo_p045
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- Less Details
Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Adult help is required to cut the water or milk jugs.
Science Fair Project Idea
If you like listening to music and making crafts, this is a great project for you. You will learn how to make a completely functional speaker that you can use to listen to real music...out of paper! Along the way, you will learn about the science behind how a speaker works. Speakers depend on magnets to create sound—does adding more magnets make the sound louder? Try this project to find out! Read more
Phys_p101
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None.
Material Availability Specialty electronics materials required. See the Materials list for details.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety No issues.
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