Here's a project that combines sports and math. You'll learn how to use correlation analysis to choose the best team batting statistic for predicting run-scoring ability (Albert, 2003). You'll also learn how to use a spreadsheet to measure correlations between two variables.
This project asks the question "How do friendship groups change over time?" The results may support inferences about how "people skills" develop. What types of changes would you expect to see? Do you expect friendship groups to grow larger over time? Do you expect that individuals will belong to more, less or about the same number of friendship groups as they get older? Do you think there will be more or less exclusivity among groups (and how would you measure such a concept)? Do you…
Animals come in all shapes and sizes, even humans. You can look up different statistics about different kinds of animals using the Internet: average body size, brain size, life expectancy and generation time are some examples. Is there a correlation between body size and life span? Is there a correlation between body size and brain size? Is there a correlation between body size and generation time? Is there a correlation between body size and the size of your footprint? (Comparative Mammalian…
What causes the most stress for teenagers? Is it school? family relationships? peer pressure? worries about the future? Design a survey to find out what contributes to teens' stress levels. Possible variations include: How do teenagers deal with stress? Are today's teens more or less stressed than their parents were as teenagers? Were the sources of stress the same for your parent's generation or different? (Idea from De Biasi, 2003)
How well do adults understand basic science concepts? This project is a good opportunity for you to test your own scientific understanding as you create a short test to assess knowledge of basic science concepts. Your test will have to brief (probably 10-15 questions, maximum) or you'll have a hard time getting a sufficient number of complete responses. With so few questions, you'll have to think carefully about exactly what comprises "basic science knowledge," and exactly how to word your…
Is winning correlated with fun? Pick a video game which has different difficulty settings, for example easy versus hard mode. Ask volunteers who have never played the game before to try it out. Some of them should use the easy mode and others should use the hard mode, this will ensure that you have a range in the amount of winning and losing among your volunteers. Keep track of how much each player is winning. Survey the volunteers to find out if they like the game. Do people who win more like…
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…
The concept of beauty changes over time and often differs among societal groups. How strongly do societal conceptions of beauty shape an individual's self-image? There are many fascinating questions you could choose to explore with surveys on this subject. For example, how well do girls' ideas of what is attractive in boys agree with boys' expectations about what girls find attractive (or vice versa)? Try your survey with different generations to see how conceptions change over time. If you…
Antioxidants have become very popular in the news lately for their potential health and anti-aging properties. Antioxidants work by preventing oxidation reactions that produce free-radicals which can cause harm to the body. Try testing different vitamins for antioxidant activity. How do vitamins A, B, C, and E compare? Do some vitamins have more antioxidant activity than others? What are some other sources of antioxidants? Try testing extracts from proposed sources of antioxidants like coffee,…
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Short (2-5 days)
Low ($20 - $50)
Adult supervision is recommended. Use caution when using sharp knives and do not eat any of your experiments.
Here's a project that will give you insight into accidents, and maybe help you prevent them. The original project used a survey method to gather data, which you could also do. Another approach for data collection that you might try would be to use published articles from the pediatric medical literature. Finding a pediatrician or pediatric orthopedist who is willing to be your mentor for this project would be helpful. (Idea from Caito, 2003)
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