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Others Like “The Power of Suggestion”

Project Idea
We can't say it any better than he did, so here is Ryan Ponec's capsule description of his excellent project (Ponec, 2002): "At the end of a lesson, a teacher will sometimes have students summarize the information presented by stating, 'Tell me something you learned.' The purpose of this experiment is to determine whether or not this 'lesson summary' significantly enhances the students' ability to later recall the information presented. Students from grade levels fifth through eighth were… Read more
Soc_p015
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
The Game of Life is the invention of the mathematician John Conway. It is a cellular automaton, consisting of a grid of squares that turn "on" or "off" depending on simple mathematical rules that involve neighboring squares. Depending on how the grid is first set up (i.e., the initial conditions), various interesting patterns appear. Can you write a Game of Life program (in JavaScript or any other computer language of your choice)? Can you think of ways to alter the rules that result in… Read more
CompSci_p030
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
We've all heard that "practice makes perfect," but what is the best way to practice? For example, does "mental practice" do any good? You'll need at least 9 volunteers for this project. Pick a well-defined sports activity, with a measurable outcome, such as shooting basketball free-throws (measure number of shots taken and number of shots made), or balancing on one foot on a slightly raised beam (measure how long you can do it; if it's too easy, try closing your eyes). Test all volunteers… Read more
HumBeh_p037
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
Imagine a symmetrical grid of nine points superimposed over the ball. Kicking the ball squarely on the center point imparts no spin, but kicking on any of the other points will impart spin on the ball. How will the resulting spin affect the trajectory of the ball for each of the 8 outer grid points? Kicking the ball with a sliding motion of the foot is another way to impart spin. Once you've made your predictions, you can set up to test them with a soccer ball, video camera and a tape… Read more
Sports_p031
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
You've probably heard the phrase, "practice makes perfect" more times than you care to remember, but is it actually true when you use a music game as your practice for real-life singing, strumming, or drumming? You can design a science fair project to discover the answer! First, you'll need to think about how to measure how well someone is playing or singing a song in real life. Using the test you design, measure several musicians' ability to play or sing a few different songs. Then have your… Read more
Music_p023
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You'll need access to a game console and a music video game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
Do violin students have better relative pitch than piano students? Since the violin requires the player to choose the correct location to stop the string in order to sound the proper note, you might think that violin players would, as a result of practice, have better ear training than piano students. On the other hand, you could argue the opposite viewpoint, since piano students would have the benefit of hearing correct intervals (assuming that the piano is in tune). Which hypothesis do you… Read more
Music_p002
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
The author of this project hypothesized that movies often disappoint readers because book-based movies tend to "dumb down" the works on which they are based (Fuhrman, 2002). Naturally, selective compression is necessary when telling a story as a movie, or no one would sit through it. (Hey, maybe there's an idea for a different experiment!) Selective compression is not necessarily the same, however, as simplification. There are ways to objectively measure the complexity of written language… Read more
Soc_p024
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
Tennis racquets, baseball bats and golf clubs all vibrate when they hit the ball. You can often feel it in your hands, particularly if you "mis-hit" the ball. You can find the point(s) on your racquet, bat or club—called the "sweet spot"— that minimize unwanted vibrations. Low-tech method: hang the racquet or bat straight up and down with a string from its handle. Lightly hold the handle with your thumb and forefinger and have a helper sharply tap the bat, strings or club face with a ball… Read more
Sports_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
Want to send coded messages to your friends? Can you write a simple letter-substitution encryption program in JavaScript? How easy is it to break the simple code? Can you write a second program that "cracks" the letter-substitution code? Investigate other encryption schemes. What types of encryption are least vulnerable to attack? Read more
CompSci_p031
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Project Idea
You can model this with an ice cube sliding down a plank: how high do you need to lift the end of the plank before the ice cube starts to slide? Try this with one side plain wood and the flip side waxed wood (use paraffin wax, candle wax or ski wax). Make sure both sides are equally smooth to start with. Do at least three trials. More advanced: using what you know about the forces acting on the ice cube, derive equations to calculate the coefficient of friction for each case. Variation:… Read more
Sports_p042
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
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