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.)
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…
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…
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Short (2-5 days)
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.
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.
Low ($20 - $50)
Minor injury is possible. Adult supervision is recommended.
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…
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.)
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…
Make your own fertile soil using kitchen scraps, manure, leaves, grass clippings, and other compostable materials. Which materials make the best compost? How does the amount of nitrogen change the rate at which the compost forms? How does traditional composting compare to worm composting, or vermiculture? How does the temperature of the compost pile change?
You can compare the picture quality for photos taken at different shutter speeds with the camera handheld vs. with the camera on a tripod. (This is best done with a camera that has manual exposure control.)
Students who are mathematically inclined can use the student version of a program like MatLab or Mathematica to convert a digital image into numbers, then perform operations such as sharpening or special effects. This is a great way to learn about image processing algorithms.
You can find this page online at: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/search.shtml?v=solt&pi=Sports_p023
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