Science Projects for Shooting Hoops

Basketball is fun, but it can also teach you about science.
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For some students, coming up with a science project idea and executing that idea can be difficult. But if you think about activities that you love to do and the science involved in some of those activities, a science project idea might present itself -- and you might even have fun doing it! Basketball lovers, for example, can find ample material in shooting hoops.

Shooting Percentage

One statistic basketball analysts use to judge players' performance is shooting percentage -- the percentage of baskets a player makes out of all of the shots he takes. You can design a science project based on this principle by comparing novice and advanced players. Begin by making a hypothesis about what percentage of shots 10 novice players will make and 10 advanced players will make. Then have the 20 players shoot 10 free throws, noting how many shots the two groups made and how many the two groups missed. The math is easy -- because each group will have tried 100 shots, the number they sink will add up to the shooting percentage. Was your hypothesis confirmed?


Other science projects might focus on the best and worst techniques for shooting hoops. A specific experiment might have you testing whether it is best to shoot from the chest, from the chin or over the head. To complete the experiment, ask about 10 subjects who have similar basketball capabilities to shoot 10 free throws from the chest, 10 free throws from the chin and 10 free throws from over the head. Record how many baskets your subjects made from each position and analyze the data to decipher which technique is the best for shooting hoops.

Basketball Material

The materials basketballs are made of may also affect the way the ball responds when a player is shooting. As a science project idea, you might test whether basketballs made of recycled rubber are as effective as basketballs made from new materials. To test this idea, you might have 10 shooters shoot 10 recycled rubber basketballs and 10 regular basketballs each off the backboard from three locations on the court. Record how the balls respond when hitting the backboard. Do both types of basketballs ricochet consistently? Do the players make more baskets with one ball than the other?

Basketball Net

You might also design a science project that tests the effectiveness of basketball nets. Do shooters make more baskets if a net is present or if it is absent? To perform this experiment, have 10 shooters of about the same skill shoot 20 free throws with a net present and 20 free throws without a net. Record the results by presenting the percentages of baskets each shooter made with a net and without the net. Then present two overall figures by finding the average shooting percentage of all of the players.

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