Volleyball Science Project Ideas

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

Whether played competitively or just for fun, volleyball is a popular team sport with a surprising number of scientific concepts behind it. This resource provides ideas for science projects with volleyball themes.

Volleyball Science

Athletic students will love the opportunity to learn about science through the game of volleyball. The following projects offer interesting ways to engage students with hands-on science exploration related to volleyball.

Optimum Inflation

Grade level: 3-5

Time: 1-2 days

Guiding Question

  • What is the ideal pressure for an inflated volleyball?

Materials:

  • air pump
  • butcher paper
  • camera
  • computer/internet
  • meter stick
  • pressure gauge
  • volleyballs

Procedure:

  • To prepare for this experiment, students will need to use a meter stick to create an extended measuring device on butcher paper that is 7-8 meters tall. The measuring device will need to be taped against a wall.
  • An air pump and pressure gauge will be used to inflate 5 different volleyballs to 3.5 psi, 4.0 psi, 4.5 psi, 5.0 psi, and 5.5 psi. Volleyballs must be numbered for differentiation. The psi for each ball should be recorded.
  • Students will practice hitting each of the volleyballs with an overhand serve. Based on their experience, students will hypothesize which of the volleyballs is inflated to the regulation standards.
  • From a fixed height, such as the top of bleachers or an adult standing at the top of a ladder, each ball will be dropped 3 times. A camera in a fixed position will record the height of the rebound against the measuring device. Students will review the photographs to create a chart indicating the rebound heights of each ball.
  • Data will be transferred to a bar chart so that students can visually see the relationship between psi and rebound height. Students will have an opportunity to change their hypothesis about which ball meets regulation standards.
  • Using internet research, students will find the regulation standard for volleyball inflation and write a paragraph explaining why they think this standard was chosen based on their data.

Velocity

Grade level: 6-8

Time: 2-3 days

Guiding Question

  • What is the velocity of a volleyball during an overhand serve?

Materials:

  • computer/internet
  • floor marking tape
  • meter stick
  • volleyball
  • volleyball net
  • timer

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