Physical Science Projects with Soccer Balls

Written by kay tang
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Physical Science Projects with Soccer Balls
The kick of a soccer ball reveals the relationship between potential and kinetic energy. (soccer ball image by Rich Johnson from

Physical science projects with soccer balls enable you to investigate numerous concepts in physics, such as gravitational force, kinetic and potential energy, friction and air pressure. You can also practice various science skills, including the formulation of hypotheses, data collection, the presentation of data, and the evaluation of independent and dependent variables.

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Changes in Air Pressure

Probe the relationship between air pressure and friction in this experiment. Gather a soccer ball, tape measure, inflation needle, pump and pressure gauge, glycerine oil, marker and tape. Mark a path along the gym floor. Choose low, medium and high air pressures for the ball. Use the gauge to check the pressure every time you change it. Kick the ball with the same force three times for each pressure. Record the distance of the kicks in a chart. Graph your data in a line chart, with the x-axis as distance kicked and the y-axis as the pressure differentials.

Soccer Ball Physics

Gather a soccer ball and measuring tape. Ask another student to assist as you, then visit three fields with different types of turf, such as artificial turf, Kentucky bluegrass and Bermuda grass. Hold the ball two meters above the ground, drop it, and count the number of bounces. Repeat this process 10 times at each field, then chart the results in a table. While the ball's bounce is the variable, the constants are the type of ball, the field's moisture, and the height at which you dropped the ball. If you raise the height of the ball, you boost its potential energy. As the ball drops, the potential energy is transformed into motion. Once the ball connects with the turf, the kinetic energy is turned back into potential energy. The soccer ball bounces up because the decompression of air inside the ball converts potential energy into motion again.

Air Pressure and Bounciness

Investigate the relationship between air pressure and a soccer ball's bounciness in this project. Gather a soccer ball, air pump, pressure gauge, video camera with tripod, stepladder, paint, tape measure and a large roll of paper. Paint a series of lines on paper to create a 5-foot-tall tape measure. Draw a series of smaller lines marking every five centimetres on tape. Hang the tape on an outside wall with a cement floor. Set the ladder beside the tape. Record the ball's air pressure in a table. Drop the ball from the top of the ladder and film it. Release air from the ball, record the new pressure, drop the ball from the exact same place, and film it. Repeat this process until the ball stops bouncing. Watch the video to record the height of the first bounce for each drop. Create a line graph of your data, and explain the slope of the line.


A basic electronics project can be done with a soccer ball. Build a robotic kicker either from a kit or from scratch. Form your hypothesis on a particular dimension of the kicking. If the robot's settings, such as the position of the foot and the force of the kick, remain the same, then the ball should plunk down in the same place. If this is not the case, explain the reasons for the discrepancy.

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