# Others Like “Fun or Frustrating?”

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Science Fair Project Idea
 Almost all of the games we play are based on math in some way or another. Card games, board games, and computer games are designed using statistics, probabilities, and algorithms. Begin by reading about games and game theory. Then you can choose your favorite game and investigate the mathematical principles behind how it works. Can combinatorial game theory help you to win two-player games of perfect knowledge such as go, chess, or checkers? (Weisstein, 2006; Watkins, 2004) In a multi-player… Read more
Math_p033
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 Time Required Average (6-10 days) Prerequisites Material Availability Cost Safety
Science Fair Project Idea
 Here's a project that will teach you about math as you follow some of your favorite players or teams. You'll be comparing day-to-day performance with long-term averages, and trying to determine if the "streaks" and "slumps" over shorter time periods are due to random chance or something else. When you've finished, you'll have a better understanding of some important concepts in statistical analysis and baseball. If a player goes 0-for-20, does that mean anything? Using probability theory,… Read more
Math_p004
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 Time Required Average (6-10 days) Prerequisites Basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel and statistics Material Availability Readily Available Cost Very Low (under \$20) Safety
Science Fair Project Idea
 We've all heard that "practice makes perfect," but what is the best way to practice? For example, does "mental practice" do any good? You'll need at least 9 volunteers for this project. Pick a well-defined sports activity, with a measurable outcome, such as shooting basketball free-throws (measure number of shots taken and number of shots made), or balancing on one foot on a slightly raised beam (measure how long you can do it; if it's too easy, try closing your eyes). Test all volunteers… Read more
HumBeh_p037
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Science Fair Project Idea
 Can computer games be used to educate? Pick a game that incorporates educational material. There are a variety of educational computer games on the market in the areas of math, history, science, and language, as well as many simpler versions free on the Internet. Make up a test based on the subject area covered by the computer game. Have your volunteers take the test before and after playing the game. Does playing the computer game improve people's score on the test? Read more
Games_p006
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 Time Required Average (6-10 days) Prerequisites None Material Availability Readily available Cost Very Low (under \$20) Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
 You've probably heard the phrase, "practice makes perfect" more times than you care to remember, but is it actually true when you use a music game as your practice for real-life singing, strumming, or drumming? You can design a science fair project to discover the answer! First, you'll need to think about how to measure how well someone is playing or singing a song in real life. Using the test you design, measure several musicians' ability to play or sing a few different songs. Then have your… Read more
Music_p023
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 Time Required Average (6-10 days) Prerequisites None Material Availability You'll need access to a game console and a music video game like Guitar Hero or Rock Band. Cost Very Low (under \$20) Safety No issues
Science Fair Project Idea
 The rebound rating is the ratio of the height the ball bounces to, divided by the height the ball was dropped from. Use the rebound rating to measure the bounciness of new tennis balls vs. balls that have been used for 10, 20, 50, and 100 games. Another idea to explore: does it matter what type of court the ball is used on? (See: Goodstein, 1999, 63-64.) Read more
Sports_p039
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Science Fair Project Idea
 What makes a winning team? Getting all the best players? Good coaches? Good chemistry? This project will show you how you can use math to help you test your hypothesis about what makes a winning team. The Pythagorean relationship is a fundamental one in sports: it correctly predicts the records of 98% of all teams. But in 2% of cases, it fails. Why does it fail? Find teams that deviated substantially from their expected Pythagorean record (this information is available for baseball teams… Read more
Math_p005
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 Time Required Average (6-10 days) Prerequisites Basic knowledge of Microsoft Excel and statistics Material Availability Readily Available Cost Very Low (under \$20) Safety
Science Fair Project Idea
 The Game of Life is the invention of the mathematician John Conway. It is a cellular automaton, consisting of a grid of squares that turn "on" or "off" depending on simple mathematical rules that involve neighboring squares. Depending on how the grid is first set up (i.e., the initial conditions), various interesting patterns appear. Can you write a Game of Life program (in JavaScript or any other computer language of your choice)? Can you think of ways to alter the rules that result in… Read more
CompSci_p030
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Science Fair Project Idea
 Can an authority figure make someone question their own memory? How reliable is eyewitness information? This project looks into these questions. You'll need a poster-sized image that includes many faces, and a volunteers to act as "eyewitnesses." The volunteers are tested individually. The instructions are that they have one minute to examine the poster, and then a fixed amount of time (e.g., 5 minutes) to write down brief, accurate descriptions of all the faces they can remember. They'll… Read more
Soc_p026
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Science Fair Project Idea
 You may know Lewis Carroll as the author of Alice in Wonderland, but did you know that in real life he was a mathematician who studied symbolic logic and logical reasoning? How can math help you solve Lewis Carroll's Logic Game? (Bogomolny, 2006) How are algorithms for solving the game Sudoku similar to solving a logic problem? (Hayes, 2006) For the super-advanced mathematical genius, try to evaluate currently available, logic-based computational tools, or design a better one!… Read more
Math_p035
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