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15 Awesome Science Projects from the "Physics and Sports" Competition

Updated: Apr 10

Searching for fresh experimental ideas to explore physics in the classroom? Draw inspiration from these 15 groundbreaking projects undertaken by middle and high school students for the "Physics and Sports" competition, hosted by the Société Française de Physique. Leveraging the complimentary FizziQ app, which integrates sensors (including GPS, accelerometers, gyroscopes), video motion analysis, and an experimental notebook, students have transformed various sports activities into thrilling physics lessons (

Football Strategic Analysis

A class at High School Charles Gounod in Saint-Cloud embarked on an innovative journey with their football peers by utilizing the GPS capabilities of smartphones to analyze players' positions and movements on the field during a match, all recorded through FizziQ. This approach allowed for a detailed visualization of player movements, highlighting the critical importance of strategic positioning and fostering an understanding of teamwork and strategy in football. As a result of this insightful study, the students have garnered valuable insights and strategic advice that could even benefit our national coach!

The Dynamics of the Shot Put

Students from Junior High School Mallarmé in Sens collaborated with Franck Elemba, an Olympic athlete, to explore the physics behind the shot put. Acceleration sensors, attached to the arm of the athlete, and the video analysis of the ball trajectory using FizziQ revealed the crucial impact of angle and force on throw range. The experiments transformed a sports session into a physics session where so much was learned. Many thanks to Franck Elemba, perhaps did he discovered certain aspects of the physics of throwing that he did not know about?

Optimization of Swimming Performance

Students from Middle School Victor Hugo in Carmaux, the impact of drag on swimming performance was meticulously analyzed underwater. Utilizing the kinematic module of FizziQ, the students were able to measure the speed of swimmers in various postures during horizontal glides. Their findings illuminated how the alignment of the body and the positioning of the arms can significantly influence an athlete's efficiency in the water. This research not only sheds light on the nuances of aquatic dynamics but also offers invaluable insights for Olympic-level training and performance optimization.

Paralympic Javelin Throw

Scamaroni High School in Charleville-Mézières showcased the exceptional talents of para-athletes. Through a detailed comparison of throwing techniques between able-bodied athletes and para-athletes, employing FizziQ's advanced kinematic analysis, this project not only deepened the appreciation for the distinct challenges encountered by para-athletes but also championed an inclusive perspective towards athletics. This commendable effort was recognized with a special jury prize, underscoring the project's significant contribution to promoting inclusivity in sports.

It’s climbing!

Students at Winston Churchill High School embarked on an insightful study to understand the impact of weight, height, and muscle mass on bouldering performance. Through a comparative analysis of two students with differing physical traits, they discovered that a lighter frame and smaller stature significantly enhance speed and precision during climbs. This investigation shed light on the crucial interplay between physical characteristics and climbing efficiency, offering students profound insights into the role of physics and biomechanics in sports. Indeed, these students have proven that Spider-Man might just have a thing or two to learn from them!

The Horse Hits the Bars

Does a horse adapt the angle of its jump to the type of obstacle encountered? This is the question that final year students addressed by carrying out kinematic analyzes of two types of jumps: the oxer (jump of two bars apart), and the vertical (jump of a single bar). This analysis allowed them to verify the impact of trajectory and angle on jumping performance, providing a window into the physics behind the equestrian sport. An analysis which also showed them the difficulty of making measurements on living beings which are less docile than a basketball... Bravo for your perseverance!

Leaps and Rebounds

A class from the Pasteur High School in Paris studied the main characteristics of the different types of balls used in sport. Through FizziQ video analysis, they measured the effect of different factors influencing the rebound, such as the internal pressure of the ball, the type of surface, or the characteristics of the ball, making it possible to predict the height of the rebound that the can be expected from a type of ball. An exciting quantitative study that requires little equipment and allows students to ask questions about the type of equipment suitable for each sport. Are your basketballs properly inflated?

Aerodynamic Badminton

Do all shuttlecocks perform equally in the game of badminton? This intriguing question led a K9 class at the Lille Academy to investigate how the design and materials of badminton shuttlecocks influence their descent speed. The study pondered whether certain shuttlecocks surpass others in quality or serve distinct purposes. Utilizing the kinematic analysis tool from FizziQ, the students were able to conduct a detailed comparison, unveiling how aerodynamic forces affect shuttlecock performance. This enlightening research has forever changed our perspective on badminton shuttlecocks.

The Mechanics of Triple Jump Success

Two students from the Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves high school analyzed the effect of the position of the knee and foot on the first leap of the triple jump. Thanks to FizziQ, they demonstrated that certain positions can significantly increase jump distance, applying the principles of physics to optimize athletic performance. A very useful analysis before the Olympic Games!

Improve your Rugby game

Sophomore students at St Pierre High School in Fourmies delved into the physics underlying rugby, examining the game's various phases, including passing, throwing, tackling, and scrummaging. By employing smartphone accelerometers and gyroscopes, they meticulously analyzed the ball's rotation, conclusively showing that rotation enhances the stability of passes. Additionally, video capture allowed for the detailed examination of gameplay movements, illustrating the influence of angle and speed on the efficacy of a hit. This comprehensive study highlighted the critical role of the gyroscopic effect in passing, the significance of a parabolic trajectory for throw-ins and jumps, and the practical application of Newton's laws in tackles and scrums. Similar analysis could be conducted in American Football !

Pedometers under the Magnifier

Secondary school students from Berthollet high school tested the reliability of pedometers in various activities. By testing all situations, including walking with crutches, the students were able to verify the reliability of the instruments present in our smartphones.

This exploration encouraged students to analyze everyday technology through the lens of physics. Bravo for this experimental verification of the reliability of these instruments.

Gymnastics and Physics: The “Sun” Challenge

Students from the High School Honoré d'Estienne d'Orves in Carquefou dissected the "sun" movement in gymnastics. Using FizziQ's cinematic analysis, they highlighted the importance of speed and kinetic and potential energies, applying physics to perfect this artistic movement. An opportunity to admire the performance of the gymnasts who achieve these feats.

Photography of the Movement

K7 middle school pupils, passionate about chronophotography, used the app Motion Shot to create chronophotographs of movements and the kinematics module to analyze the dynamics of the body in action. By visualizing movement sequences, they deepened their understanding of the mechanics of sport, demonstrating the interconnection between physique and physical activity. A beautiful work that is both scientific and aesthetic!

Kayaking: A Question of Weight and Buoyancy

Students from La Nacelle college asked themselves the question of whether weight distribution had an impact on a kayaker's performance and affected the stability and speed of the kayak. By measuring performance at different positions, they explored the physics of buoyancy and fluid dynamics, illuminating strategies to improve navigation. Make sure your smartphone is water resistant before getting started!

Sailing with Angles in Sailing

A final year high school student, passionate about sailing since childhood, investigated the optimal angle of the sail to maximize speed with a crosswind. By meticulously adjusting the angle of the sail and carrying out numerous measurements on the water of speed variations, she was able to verify certain aerodynamic concepts and put the theory to the service of her understanding of her favorite sport.

And all those we haven't mentioned...

These 15 examples represent only a small part of the many projects that were submitted to the Physics and Sports competition. We have not presented the project of this first grade student who used the FizziQ kinematics module to study karate, the students from the Lycée Saint Erembert who studied handball shooting, the students from the Villaroy high school who studied high jump or the Louise Weiss College Science Club which studied how hand size influenced speed in swimming., and many others... All these projects show the creativity of students and their teachers, and the desire of everyone to better understand the world around them through science. Congratulations to all !

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