Science fairs give students the opportunity to showcase their creativity. They should also give students the chance to highlight the science behind their favorite activities, whether it be playing a musical instrument, competing in a sport or playing video games. For instance, students who play or watch football can craft many science fair projects based on the science involved in football. If done well, these projects can cover everything from physics to probability to health.

Big Foot, Big Kick?

Football player about to kick ball
Football player about to kick ball

Football placekickers can kick footballs through goalposts that sometimes stand more than 50 yards away. How can they do this? Sure, it takes years of practice to become a top field goal kicker in the NFL. But are some great kickers simply born with the right tools? Does having a larger foot help players boot the ball greater distances?

Students can test this by setting up a kicking area for science fair visitors. Before every kick, visitors must state their shoe size. They then kick the ball past preset distance markers. Students then chart the results. At the end of their fair, they can analyze the data to determine if big feet equal big kicks.

Does Temperature Impact The Flight Of A Football?

Football in snow
Football in snow

How do extreme cold temperatures affect the flight of a football? How about when it's kicked? Students can find out at their local science fair.

This experiment requires several footballs and a portable freezer or refrigerator with a freezer attached. Before the fair, students can chill footballs to several different temperatures. During the fair, they can invite students to kick and throw both chilled balls and non-chilled ones past distance markers. As the fair nears its end, students can chart the results to see what impact, if any, cold temperatures had on the flight of their footballs.

Brain Damage And Physical Contact

Kids in football tackle
Kids in football tackle

Football is a violent game, with large players constantly slamming into each other. What impact does this have on the health of football players? Does playing the game cause serious injuries, such as brain damage?

Students can chart the brain injuries that professional football players have suffered during and after their careers. They can then compare the rate of serious brain injuries with the rate for the general population and the rates for other professional athletes such as soccer, hockey or basketball stars.