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Others Like “Nothing But Net: The Science of Shooting Hoops”

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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you've ever played or watched basketball, you might already know that your chances of successfully banking a shot on the backboard are higher in certain positions on the basketball court, even when keeping the distance from the hoop the same. Ever wondered what would account for this? Do you think you could actually explain this using geometry? This science project will put your knowledge of geometry and algebra to good use. You will calculate and quantify how much more difficult it is to… Read more
Sports_p064
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should have a familiarity with basic algebra.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail 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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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
thumbnail Have you ever seen a "Hail Mary" football pass, where the quarterback tries to throw the ball as far as possible to reach the end zone and score a touchdown? Or a last second game tying soccer goal from midfield? How far the ball will go does not just depend on how hard a player throws or kicks it; it also depends on the angle at which the player launches the ball. In this sports science project, you will investigate how launch angle affects the distance that a ball travels by filming… Read more
Sports_p036
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires a computer with internet access and a digital video camera with a tripod. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Be sure to do this science project in an open area like an empty football field, where you will not hit people or buildings with the ball.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If your idea of a great weekend morning is taking some practice swings at a driving range, or heading out to the links to play a round, this could be a good project for you. This project is designed to answer the question, what is the relationship between club loft angle and the distance that the ball travels when struck. Read more
Sports_p013
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites To do this experiment you must have sufficient golf experience to swing a golf club consistently and have access to golf clubs.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you're an avid golfer, this might be a fun project for you. When you're setting up to tee off out on the course, how much attention do you pay to putting the tee in the ground? The height of the tee can affect both where in the swing the club makes contact and where on the clubface the ball makes contact. Are you placing your tees at the right height to get the most distance from your swing? Read more
Sports_p014
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You must be an experienced golfer to do this project.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail In physics class, you have probably rolled your eyes at some point after being assigned a "projectile motion" homework problem where you use equations to predict how a ball will move through the air. This experiment will show you just how fun that problem can be by using a real catapult to launch a ball and videotaping it as it flies along its path. Then, you will analyze the video and compare it to what the equations predicted. If you have ever wondered if those equations in your physics… Read more
Phys_p089
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites This project requires a basic understanding of algebra, trigonometry (sine and cosine functions), and physics (kinematics—two-dimensional projectile motion), or the willingness to learn about these subjects on your own.
Material Availability This project requires access to a video camera (not included in the cost estimate) and the purchase of a catapult kit. (See the Materials and Equipment list for details.)
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Minor injury possible. Never aim the catapult at anyone, and keep your hands and fingers clear of the moving catapult arm when launching the catapult.
Science Fair Project Idea
Take shots at a set distance from the basket, but systematically vary the angle to the backboard. For a basic project: How do you think your success rate will vary with angle? Draw a conclusion from your experimental results. A bar graph showing success rate at different angles can help to illustrate your conclusion. For a more advanced project: Use your knowledge of geometry and basketball to come up with a mathematical expression to predict your success rate as a function of angle… Read more
Math_p037
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail You may have seen movies or read books where armies in medieval times catapulted large rocks or other objects at castles (or each other!). These armies used different types of catapults to accomplish different goals — for example, launching things over or into castle walls to knock them down. In this experiment, you will use a ping-pong ball catapult to lay siege to a "castle" and find the right settings to hit your targets. Read more
Phys_p085
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Specialty items. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury possible. Keep your fingers clear when launching the catapult. Do not aim the catapult at people.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail If you were in a raiding army in the Middle Ages, a catapult would come in mighty handy for taking down castle walls. But only if you could aim it reliably! With this science project, you will try your hand at catapult technology. Using a rubber-band-powered catapult you will send ping pong balls flying through the air. The catapult's design makes it easy to measure and repeat how hard the ball is launched and its direction, so you can find the right catapult settings to hit the target reliably. Read more
ApMech_p008
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- Less Details
Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability A catapult kit is needed; see the Materials tab for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Do not aim the catapult at breakable objects or people; minor injury possible.
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever played paintball with your friends? Wonder how you can improve your game? Paintball guns use compressed gas to shoot paint-filled pellets at high speed, and with good accuracy. The flight path of the ball is determined by its speed and the angle at which it is shot, relative to the ground. In this sports science fair project, you will explore the ballistics of paintballs, focusing on how drag and other factors affect the results. Read more
Sports_p054
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- Less Details
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites You should have access to a paintball gun, be familiar with how to shoot it safely, and have access to an open area where you can shoot it. This project has a fairly involved procedure, since you are measuring several parameters (velocity, time of flight, distance) and also comparing these measurements to what you would expect based on calculations. Feel free to customize the procedure based on your interests.
Material Availability Specialty items: You will need access to a paintball gun and accessories, including safety gear for you and for three helpers, as well as an instrument to measure velocity of the paintballs. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Average ($50 - $100)
Safety Minor injury is possible, so wear eye protection. Adult supervision is required.
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