Science Fair Project Ideas Using Tynker’s Physics Engine

Science Fair Project Ideas Using Tynker’s Physics Engine

Science fair season is upon us which means it’s time to put on our scientific method thinking caps and get hypothesizing and experimenting!

Tynker’s Physics Engine offers a great way to apply the scientific method of asking questions, creating an experiment, making observations and drawing conclusions. On top of that, kids learn valuable programming skills and insights along the way.  Here are some challenging and interesting questions that the Tynker Physics Engine can help answer for a science fair project, while giving kids a chance to explore computer programming concepts, and creating with code.

Project #1.  Question: What is the arc and distance of the path that a cannon ball will take based on the angle of the cannon?tynker HOC 2 player cannon

  • Simulation to create: A cannon shoots a ball. Note the height and distance that the object travels based on the angle of the cannon. To measure the distance, calculate the position based on pixels and use a consistent scale to translate it to meters or feet.
  • Recommended experience (free, optional):  Start with the 2-Player-Cannon game in Tynker’s Hour of Code.  Completing the game using the tutorial instructions will help a student understand how the Physics Engine (blocks) work. Click Start from this page then sign in to save the project (create a free account).
  • What to show in the project: Create a table that lists a range of cannon angles, and the resulting height and distance the ball travels, using the chosen scale.

 

physics engine bouncing ball

Project #2. Question: Which type of ball is the bounciest?

  • Simulation to create: Demonstrate the “bounciness” of objects of different sizes, weights and materials. Choose a scale to measure bounce height.
  • Recommended experience (optional):
    • Here is a ball that is bouncing using the Physics Engine. Kids can add other kinds of balls with different characteristics and see how they bounce. Press the space bar and arrow keys to make the ball move up!  To see the code, click here, then sign in to save the project (create a free account).
    • Kids can also build the 2-Player-Cannon game as described in project #1, for more experience with how the Physics Engine (blocks) work.
    • Tynker’s school curriculum and many of Tynker’s home courses feature lessons that teach kids how to use the Physics Engine in different types of projects. For example, Gravity Sling will provide kids with code snippets needed to construct the different objects in the experiment.
  • What to show in the project: Show different objects dropping from the top of the screen, and use the Physics Engine to demonstrate what happens when the ball hits the “floor” (based on each object’s size, weight, and material).

tynker physics engine roller coaster

Project #3. Question:  How high does a ball need to start to complete a roller coaster loop of a certain height and arc?

  • Simulation to create:  Create a roller coaster diagram to a scale of choice.  Kids can set the appropriate physics attributes of the ball position, height and speed, and of the roller coaster path as well.
  • Recommended experience (optional):
    • Here is a spinning ball that follows a curved path, using the Physics Engine (blocks). Press the space bar to spin the ball and see how far it goes. To see the code, click here, then sign in to save the project (create a free account).
    • Kids can also build the 2-Player-Cannon game as described in project #1, for more experience with how the Physics Engine (blocks) work.
    • Tynker’s school curriculum and many of Tynker’s home courses feature lessons that teach kids how to use the Physics Engine in different types of projects.
  • What to show in the project: Set the physical attributes of the ball, it’s path, and the size of the loop. Show the ball following the roller coaster path. Based on the chosen scale, kids can measure several variables — the distance the ball travels, speed, and height — before concluding what needs to happen for the ball to complete the loop.

Here are more ideas for using Tynker’s Physics Engine to create a scientific question to answer and experiment with:

  • Demonstrate Newton’s laws of motion
  • Experiment with friction
  • Demonstrate angular velocity
  • Demonstrate conservation of momentum
  • Experiment with the motion of a body on differently angled slopes
  • Experiment with projectile motion
  • Demonstrate gravity on Jupiter, Earth and the moon (e.g. How far does a golf ball travel on the moon)
  • Experiment with pool table physics (momentum, angles and distance)

There many ways to construct a scientific inquiry using Tynker’s Physics Engine. After all, that’s what computer programming is all about – approaching a challenge with a questioning mindset and experimenting, exploring ideas, questioning assumptions, learning from mistakes and drawing conclusions. So let’s give kids a hands on opportunity to experiment with code, and tackle a unique and fun science fair project – that others will enjoy experimenting with, too!


Have you or your students already created a science fair project using Tynker?  Let us know and we’ll showcase the projects!

 

 

Tynker enables children to learn computer programming in a fun and imaginative way. More than 60 million kids worldwide have started learning to code using Tynker.