Ideas for Science Fair Projects About Basketball

Basketball provides a way to show off what you've learned in science class.
••• holding basketball image by Adam Borkowski from

Finding ways to demonstrate the use and knowledge gained from science in the form of a project or experiment is a way of using creativity to show how basic ideas or scientific theories can be taken out of a lab and applied to the real world. The game of basketball is filled with science. Physics, gravity, motion, action and reaction are all factors in the game, and there are more than a few ways to use basketball to demonstrate key scientific concepts.

Physics of Shooting

This project can demonstrate the use of math and angles when computing the perfect arch (curve) for a basketball shot. The idea is to find the optimal shot for any player so that no matter how she might shoot a basketball, if she makes the ball travel on a specific curve, it will go into the basket. This can be calculated by the height of shooter and the distance from the basket. After you create the curve, you will have created the optimal shot.

Green Basketball

With environmental awareness becoming more widespread, even basketball has the potential to be a more green game. Start by testing whether a ball from recycled rubber is as effective as using a regular basketball. The test focuses on air pressure inside the basketball and performance in certain climatic conditions. Using a constant (regular regulation basketball) and a basketball made from recycled rubber, test the way the ball responds (bounces) in variants of height, explosiveness and its ability to retain air pressure over time.

Net or No Net

This experiment measures the accuracy of free-throw shooting based on whether or not a basketball net is present. Using a random sample group, shooting in five-shot intervals, the percentages of success (made shots) are measured when comparing shooting at basket with a net and at the same basket without a net. The use of percentages and standard deviation give the experiment a mathematical approach to finding ways to improve free-throw shooting.

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