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…
If you compare products made primarily for boys with products made primarily girls, you will probably notice differences in colors for the two groups. Why do you think this is? Is it the marketplace responding to gender-based color preferences? Do you think it's the other way around, and the products create gender-based color preferences? Design a survey study to find out if gender actually make a difference in color preferences. Here are some questions you might want to consider when…
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)
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.
Fruit is a strategy some plants use to attract animals to disperse seeds. The animals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds through the digestive system. To attract animals, fruit needs to ripen and develop an odor that acts as an attractant. How much more successful are ripe fruits at attracting animals? Try setting out an over and under ripe piece of fruit, and compare how many many insects are attracted to each fruit. How does ripening occur? You can do an experiment using a very ripe…
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Do not eat any fruit to which you have added chemicals. Use caution when using sharp knives or other kitchen equipment; adult supervision is recommended.
Animals respond to chemical cues in different ways. If an animal turns away from a chemical cue, then that chemical is a repellent. If an animal turns toward a chemical cue, then that chemical is an attractant. Attractants and repellents can be airborne chemicals, chemicals found in food, or chemicals that diffuse through water. One example of an airborne chemical is a pheromone, a chemical signal that is released by one individual to attract another. Moths release pheromones to attract…
Is there a correlation between birth order and grade point average? Design a survey study to find out. How many completed surveys do you need for a representative sample of your school? If you limit your survey to one school, would you expect it to be representative of a larger population (such as your county or state?) How do you control for potential effects of parental age at birth? (In other words, younger siblings will have a higher probability of being born to older parents. If there…
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)
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…
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…
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