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Others Like “How Quickly Does a Tennis Ball Lose Its Bounce?”

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)
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)
Project Idea
Use a video camera to analyze the angle of lift with different clubs. Measure the distance the ball travels. Be sure to conduct a sufficient number of trials with each club so that your results are consistent. This can also be a great way to work on your swing! (Idea from Goodstein, 1999, 83-85.) Read more
Sports_p029
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
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)
Project Idea
thumbnail Many sports use a ball in some way or another. We throw them, dribble them, hit them, kick them, and they always bounce back! What makes a ball so bouncy? In this experiment you can investigate the effect of air pressure on ball bouncing. Read more
Sports_p007
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
There are three different kinds of polymers used for kitchen plastic wrap: low density polyethylene (LDPE) (e.g., Handiwrap or Glad Wrap), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (e.g., Reynolds PVC Foodservice Wrap or Boardwalk PVC Food Wrap Film) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC) (e.g., Saran Wrap, which is almost 90% polyvinylidene chloride). Which of these materials is least permeable to water vapor? Or, in other words, which of these materials will best prevent evaporation? Do background research on… Read more
Chem_p032
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Material Availability Some types of plastic wraps may need to be specially ordered. Various PVC wraps are available through Amazon.
Project Idea
thumbnail Playing basketball can be hard work. Players not only constantly run around the court, but just dribbling the basketball takes a lot of effort, too. Why is that? It has to do with how the basketball bounces. When the ball hits the court, its bounce actually loses momentum by transferring some of its energy into a different form. This means that to keep the ball bouncing, players must continually put more energy into the ball. In this sports science project, you will determine how high a… Read more
Sports_p037
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail You might think that plants and animals have little in common with batteries, springs, or slingshots, but they actually do have something in common. Both living and non-living things store and transfer energy from one form to another. In this physics science fair project, you'll investigate this energy storage and transfer, not in a plant or animal, but in bouncy balls. You'll find out if there are limits on how much energy can be stored and if there are losses when the energy is transferred. Read more
Phys_p071
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed that when you drop a basketball, its bounce does not reach the height you dropped it from? Why is that? When a basketball bounces, such as on a basketball court, its bounce actually loses momentum by transferring energy elsewhere. This means that to dribble the basketball, players must continually replace the transferred energy by pushing down on the ball. But what happens to the "lost" energy? As we know from physics, energy is not really lost, it just changes form. One… Read more
Sports_p038
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Must be able to dribble a basketball 100 times in a row quickly.
Material Availability An infrared thermometer is required to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details on where to buy one.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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)
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