Staff Picks: Top Project Ideas from 2011
The staff of scientists, editors, and writers at Science Buddies work throughout the year to develop exciting new Project Ideas that encourage and enable hands-on student exploration of inspiring areas of science and cutting-edge topics of research.
We have more than 1000 Project Ideas for K-12 students in our library of free science, technology, engineering, and math Project Ideas. As the year winds down, we asked our staff to pick their favorites from the Project Ideas introduced in 2011 and share why they selected the projects they picked.
- Ken, Founder and President: Build a Gauss Rifle!
Why? "The Project Idea uses neodymium magnets to visually demonstrate important physical principles about acceleration, mass, velocity, and the conservation of momentum."
- Courtney, Vice President: Do Migratory Birds Like It Hot?
Why? "Because my dad is a bird scientist and bird migration expert!"
- Marisa, Director of Development: Smart Medicine Cabinet: Build a Sensor That Reminds Patients When to Take Medicine
Why? "Remembering when and how often to take medications—especially if you are prescribed a number of them—can be challenging!"
- Sandra, Lead Staff Scientist: Water to Fuel to Water: The Fuel Cycle of the Future, Do Your Storm Drains Keep the Ocean Trash Free?, and Here Today, Gone Tomorrow: Saving Migratory Animals
Why? "These Project Ideas are favorites of mine because they highlight real-world environmental problems and then encourage students to experiment and work on real solutions. The fact that we can work on finding solutions makes me hopeful for the future."
- Hugo, Chief Software Architect: Making It Real: Incorporating Physics in Video Games
Why? "Physics was my favorite subject in high school. Now I develop software. This Project Idea brings both of them together—this field is what makes the current generation of video games so awesome."
- Claire, Product Design Engineer: Creating a Video Game for the Blind
Why? "I love that this project idea takes something often thought of as purely entertainment—video games—and shows how they can be used to solve common social issues like blindness."
- Debbie, Web Editor: How Far Will It Fly? Build and Test Various Paper Planes
Why? "Making paper airplanes is a great, creative way to spend free time with my son and a great way to recycle paper around the house—especially holiday wrapping paper. What boy doesn't want to make a flying object to launch at his sisters?"
- Michelle, Staff Scientist: Go Fish! Creating an Ocean-Friendly Fishing Video Game
Why? "I enjoy projects that have an environmental spin. Writing the introduction was fun, and I learned lots of interesting things like the fact that a rockfish can live for 100 years!"
- Amy, Online Community Manager: Into the Wild Blue Yonder: The Science of Launching an Airplane by Catapult
Why? "This is a cool hands-on aerodynamics project, perfect for an afternoon at a big open field!"
- Sherry, Grants Manager: Under Pressure: Does a Child's Blood Pressure Depend on His or Her Age?
Why? "This project challenges kids to learn to take blood pressure readings themselves."
- Teisha, Staff Scientist: Hydroponics: Gardening Without Soil
Why? "This project focuses on hydroponics, an emerging gardening technique that allows people to grow plants without soil, which creates new opportunities for commercially growing crops. Because having enough food is an issue in developing countries, new technologies for improving crop yields and crop adaptability are really important to explore."
- Kaarin, Project Manager: Customize Your Own Drum Set!
Why? "This computer science project combines my son's love of creating music with his interest in how video games work. Combining the PicoBoard with Scratch is great!"
- Yvette, Email Support: Dirty Snowballs: How a Comet's Size Affects How Fast It Melts
Why? "Comets have always fascinated me since I was a child, and they come in all different shapes and sizes, so this project allows you to investigate how the physical properties of comets can affect their lifespan!" (Another favorite for Yvette is A Sweet Sequence: The Cacao Genome*: I love chocolate, and this project combines both chocolate and genomics, a rapidly rising field of science, to find new ways of protecting cacao trees and increasing cacao production!)
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