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Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail What do Nolan Ryan, Mark Wohlers, Armando Benitez, and Roger Clemens have in common? These men are all major league baseball pitchers who have pitched baseballs at 100 miles per hour or greater! What does it take to throw a baseball this fast? Does it come down to having the biggest muscles? Can a ball thrown this fast also be accurate? In this sports science fair project, you will learn about the biomechanics of pitching. Investigate how body position and physics interact to produce fast… Read more
Sports_p053
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should do this sports science fair project in a location where you can tie a clothesline either between two trees or two poles. Since you will be throwing a baseball, make sure that the location is away from windows and other breakable structures.
Material Availability You must have access to a camcorder and baseball equipment. Make sure that the camcorder has a timer and the ability to display the recording in slow motion.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury is possible. Adult supervision is recommended.
Science Fair Project Idea
This project can apply to soccer, hockey, baseball and many other sports. What is the effect of stopping the kick/shot/swing at the moment of impact vs. following through? Think of a way to measure the outcome in each case, and explain your results. (idea from Gardner, 2000, 83-85; for more information with regard to specific sports, see: Barr, 1990, 12-14; Gay, 2004, 142-144; Adair, 2002, 30.) Read more
Sports_p034
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Science Fair 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… Read more
Sports_p033
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Many sports skills require quick reaction times: think of hitting a 95-mph fastball, returning a 100-mph tennis serve, or blocking a slapshot at the net in hockey. (The Experimental Procedure section below has one way to measure reaction time.) Is your right hand faster than your left? Can you improve your reaction time with practice? Do both hands improve if you only practice with one hand? Try relating your reaction time to real situations in your favorite sport. For example, calculate… Read more
HumBio_p005
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
A video camera records 30 "frames" or distinct images per second. (That's for an NTSC camera in the U.S. PAL cameras in other areas of the world take 25 frames per second.) You can use this fact to time events and measure velocity. One student has used a video camera to measure the velocity of an arrow shot from a bow. Read more
Photo_p016
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
For this project, you'll use a baseball as a pendulum weight, studying the motion of the ball with and without spin. Wrap a rubber band around the ball, and tie a string to the rubber band. Fasten the string so that the ball hangs down and can swing freely. Mark a regular grid on cardboard, and place it directly beneath the ball to measure the motion. You can also time the oscillations with a stopwatch. Lift the ball along one of the grid axes, and let it go. Observe the motion and record… Read more
Sports_p022
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
Place a desk chair (one that rotates easily on ball bearings) in the center of the room, away from any obstructions. Put your hands on your lap and have a helper give you a push to start you rotating. You'll need to quantify the results somehow. For example, your helper could measure the number of revolutions you make in 5 seconds. Now try extending your arms after your helper starts you spinning. Next, start with your arms out, and bring them in close to your body after you start… Read more
Sports_p041
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
How high can you throw different types of balls, like a golf ball, a basketball, and a football? Would one of them go higher than the others? Do factors like mass, shape, and volume influence the final height? You can measure the approximate maximum height a thrown ball reaches by measuring the time it spends in the air. To do this project, you'll need at least one ball and a helper with a stopwatch. Your helper should start timing just as you release the ball, and stop right when the ball… Read more
Sports_p035
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Science Fair Project Idea
thumbnail "Pow!" Wow, what an awesome punch that character has! Ever wondered what goes into making a punch look good in a video game? Or any other character motion sequence, for that matter? Try this science fair project for a firsthand look at how art and timing can create memorable game action. Read more
Games_p024
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability To do this science fair project, you will need to download and install a free program, called Scratch. See the Experimental Procedure for more details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
How much difference does the spiraling motion of a well-thrown football make on the distance of the throw (compared to wobbling, or end-over-end motion of the ball)? Think of a way to reproducibly produce the desired ball motion and launch it with a constant force to find out. (For more information on the physics, see Gay, 2004.) Read more
Sports_p028
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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