Sports Science Fair Projects:
A Great Science Experiment

Science doesn't always interest everyone. But come up with something exciting...say sports science fair projects...and you may have the attention of some who couldn't really care less about science. Now...they're excited.

That's because sports are exciting! Now, try making that into a science fair project that's exciting.

Give up?

Well...not to worry. We've done it for you. We've scoured the science world and waded through several ideas for sports science fair projects.

And we've come up with a good one.

So hang on tight...and check out this winner from our long list of sports science fair projects.



Time - Give yourself about one week to do this one.

Stuff List

You'll need...

1. Three basketballs
2. Different gym surfaces
3. Pressure gauge
4. Pump and needle
5. Tape measure
6. Thermometer
7. Parent's permission to visit different gyms
8. Pencil or pen
9. Paper
10. Graph paper
11. Camera (with video capabilities) and tripod or someone to help.
12. Cardboard for display (order from Amazon here)
13. Glue
14. Construction paper
15. Computer (optional)


Digging into Sports Science Fair Projects

Preparation

Like we said...sports science fair projects are fun and educational. This one's no exception. If you like athletics, you may be an athlete. So you'll enjoy this project even more!

But today we're asking you do be a little more than that. We're asking you to be a scientist too. And good scientists always research their subject first. So...

...let's research basketball because that's going to be our subject. We'll need to find out as much about basketball as we can. As with all sports science fair projects, this one deals with a specific aspect of basketball. So we're going to look at the different surfaces of a court. So, guess what we need to research?...

That's right! We need to research different kinds of surfaces. Find out what kinds of surfaces are used for basketball courts. Do certain surfaces require special conditions such as...

Specific temperature...

Constant waxing...

...or...

Dry environment? Find out!

Consider everything! Find all you can about different kinds of floor surfaces. Ask an adult, or get on the internet. Find out...

How floors are put down...

Which kinds are considered the best playing surfaces...

...and...

Which ones are used professionally and semi-professionally.

That should give you enough information to ask the important question...

Does the floor surface affect the bounce of a basketball?

This is a good question because we can try it out in a room in our house. But don't try it yet. We need to answer our important question first!

Let's do that now.

Does surface make a difference as to how a ball responds?

Write it down on a piece of paper. Don't change it until you see what the experiment does first. Remember...

...we call this guess our hypothesis. It's the most important part of our project!

Now it's time to get your stuff from the list above. Let's move to the next step.


Procedure

Now comes the fun part...

...let's experiment!

Make arrangements to try this at different gyms that have different surfaces. Get permission from different schools or public organizations before you leave to use their facilities.

Also, don't forget to get permission from your parents before you go. Your parents will probably be interested in what you're doing and want to help anyway. So make sure they know!

Different surfaces you may want to consider are...

Wood
Concrete
Tile
Carpet

At each place take the temperature with your thermometer. Be careful! Temperature and other conditions can affect your outcome. So make note of it carefully. Check the pressure in each basketball. You'll want to try to get each ball as equally filled as you can. Be careful with this part too.

You probably already know that an overly inflated ball always bounces higher than a less inflated one (unless you fill it so full it explodes!) Get the pressures as even as you can...


Basketball is fun! So is science fair!




Drop each ball from the same height and measure the resulting bounce. It may be difficult to do this by yourself. So get someone to help you or set a video recorder on a tripod to be your eyes. Set the camera up so its about the level where you would guess the ball will bounce.

Pause the playback when the ball reaches its zenith (full height.) Repeat this procedure three (3) to five (5) times for each ball...


Bounce!




As you perform the process for each place, make sure you have your graphing supplies ready. You'll need them for the next step.


Process Data

It's time to organize what you've discovered. For each location make a different graph to show the different heights of the basketballs. Take each graph and average the heights so you end up with one number for each location. Now, take your averages for each location and copy them neatly in a finalized form onto one graph.

For help with graphing click here. Here's a generic chart to give you a little bit of an idea what it should look like. Remember...

It needs to be neat!


Charts and graphs aren't scary!




Ask yourself these questions to help you as you analyze your data...

Does the surface make a difference?

Should the pressure in the balls change to account for the surface?

Carefully consider each of these questions about your sports science fair project and give answers to them in you research. You may want to use them later in your paper. That's the next step!


Paper

It's time to tell what you've noticed. Sports science fair projects are just experiments without a report. So, we'll write a report about what you saw.

You should include...

1. What you guessed about the floor surfaces.
2. What you did with the floor surfaces and basketballs.
3. Which floor had the highest bounce? Which had the shortest?
4. If your guess was correct about how the basketballs bounced.

Be careful to obey all the school rules for your science fair report. One paragraph for each of your grade levels will do if you weren't given how long it should be. Be detailed as well. But make it neat.

If you want a little help with you report click here to find great ideas to get you started and get you through!


Let's go to the final step...


Presentation

Now you get to make the display for this sports science fair project!

Carefully put three pieces of cardboard together so it looks like this...


It's simple!



If you want more information about how to put together and arrange displays for sports science fair projects or any other kind click here or on the picture above.

You can buy displays at many retail stores as well. However you do it, make sure you follow science fair rules!

Now, on a piece of paper neatly write your important question and your guess. If you would like, type it. You might get style points!

Now, just like you did your important question, write (or type) your supply list on a separate piece of paper.

Paste your guess, supply list and report onto your display board along with any pictures you might have taken. Make sure you label each so the judges know what is what. Making sure everything looks good is important!

Try playing with some of the display ideas you see. You don't have to use the exact ones we use. Make them fun! Be creative!

And don't forget to name your project at the top of the display board. It's best to use your important question as the title. You may want to purchase stencils to make cutouts of letters. Or you may purchase already made letters at many retail stores.

Sports science fair projects are the next best thing to playing sports. So...most of all...

Have fun!


Finished with sports science fair projects?
Click here for more great projects!

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