### A short list of possible ideas for projects:

Some of the best project ideas have come from students themselves.  (In fact, many of the ideas below were stolen from students who claim not to be scientists.)  The following list is not meant to be one that you should choose from, but it might give you some ideas.  Some of these have already been pursued in class, so you might have to extend such projects well beyond what has already been done.  All of the following suggestions are only the beginnings of potential projects.  You are encouraged to come up with your own research study, even if it is not listed below:

• How correct was Galileo in suggesting that all objects fall at the same rate? You might investigate the rates of descent for a wide variety of bodies. For example, you might time how long it takes several different sizes and masses of objects to fall to the ground from a given height. Can you make any conclusions based on this data? You could support your evidence with graphs.
• How does a pendulum work?  You can build a simple pendulum with a piece of string and a mass, such as a washer.  How does varying the length of the pendulum or the mass of the pendulum affect the period of the pendulum’s swing? (Note: This is the study that is used for the sample report.  If you do this, please make sure you are doing something slightly different or with some added twist.)
• What determines the speed at which someone (or something) slides down a playground slide?  What determines the rate of someone’s swing on a swingset?  Other playground possibilities?
• What affects how well a pickle will glow?  (You would need to build your own pickle-glow apparatus – see the instructor for details.)  What determines if and how other vegetables will glow?
• Soap bubbles can be much more complicated than we give them credit for. What kinds of formations can soap bubbles form?  Under what conditions are bubbles most readily created?  How do soap bubbles or soap films vary their colors?
• What is the wattage of the sun?  By measuring how quickly a pan of water changes its temperature in the noon-day sun, you might be able to measure the energy output of our star.  (This is slightly more math intensive than most projects.)
• Develop an experiment(s) to effectively measure the speed of sound.  One suggestion would be to try to flash your car lights and honk the car horn at the same time, and time the difference in the arrival of the two signals at some distant point.  Are there better methods?
• Determine the maximum energy output of a human being. This energy could be expelled in a variety of ways, such as heat, climbing stairs, etc.
• Study the properties of smoke rings and how to create them, and study how they interact with one another or with other objects.
• Conduct a study on the musical properties of objects that are typically non-musical. (e.g.: crystal glasses, PVC pipe, saw blades, cups of stirred hot chocolate, etc.) Try to determine what causes these musical properties.
• Examine the electrostatic properties of common household materials such as scotch tape, styrofoam, wheat puffs, glass, rubber, etc. Can you show that certain materials tend to have certain charges?
• What percentage of energy is lost by a rubber ball as it bounces? Does it always lose the same amount of energy, regardless of the type of bounce? How does it compare with other balls?
• Examine heat flow from one object to another. You could investigate the changes in temperature over time, or other physical phenomena, such as convective “roll” patterns. With special tracing fluids or an inventive mixture of spices in broth or oil, you can map out convection patterns with a pan and a stove top burner.
• How does one build the most efficient top? What properties does it depend on?
• Do all golf balls bounce the same? Do they all roll the same? Investigate these or other properties.
• What affects standing wave patterns on metal plates, films, or drum heads? Conduct a study that investigates how different patterns are created.
• Do all cans of soup/vegetables/beans/juice roll the same? Compare and explain the different rolling motions.
• Can you show the conservation of energy of a bicycle rolling down a hill? . . . for a sledder?
• Analyze and characterize the properties of weird consumer items, such as Orbitz soft drink. You might see if all flavors behave the same under extreme conditions.
• What is the resonant frequency of the water in your bathtub?  Does it depend on depth of the water?  Is there more than just one resonant frequency?
• How does your apparent weight change under different circumstances?  You might take a scale with you inside of an elevator, and determine what affects the scale’s readings.  You could also build your own accelerometer to measure the forces that push you forward or backward as well.
• How does a candle’s burn time (or other characteristics) vary with its dimensions?
• What are the effects of climbing devices (carabineers, belay devices, etc.) on the tension in one’s rope?  How else will the tension vary?
• How does one launch a water powered rocket most effectively?  What is the dependence of the maximum height on water, pressure and size?
• How does a room affect acoustical properties?  What objects most effectively reflect sound?  How does one measure acoustical properties?
• How much does the volume of carbon dioxide change as it sublimates from a solid (“dry ice”) to a gas?  What other properties can be studied for dry ice?