Video Game Science Fair Projects

Instructor: Leah Salyer
Designing science fair projects around video games can be a fun way to incorporate your gaming interests into your school life. Read on to learn about some easy ideas that you can use for your next science fair project and get links to related video resources.

Video Game or Training Method?

This project will help you determine whether or not video games are just games or if they can be used as methods for sports training. These days, video games often include sports activities that are scored by a motion sensor. For this science project, you will need a Wii game system, access to a tennis court, an area to golf or a bowling alley. You will also need a handful of friends to participate in your project.

First, you will take your friends golfing, to a tennis court or a bowling alley to test their skills. Once you have taken initial assessments of your friends' sports abilities, you will want to have them practice the same sport you chose (tennis, golf or bowling) on the Wii up to 2 hours a day for the next week. After their practice time on the Wii is up, have them return to show off their golf, bowling and tennis skills to see if they have improved.

Look over this lesson on The Benefits of Participating in Sports to find out the positive impact that sports can have on you and your friends.

Video Games and Blood Pressure

This project determines whether or not video games have an effect on blood pressure. You will need a handful of participants, a blood pressure machine with a cuff and a variety of video games. Begin by giving your first participant some time to relax. Once you feel like your participant has had adequate time to sit still, check the person's blood pressure and record the reading. Next, allow the person to play a video game without having their blood pressure checked. This will give your participant a chance to get a good feel and understanding of the game. Then, let them play again and check their blood pressure level afterward. Record your findings and repeat this process with the rest of your participants.

You could take this project one step further and have your participants compete against each other or play video games that are known to be challenging to see if competition or an extra challenge affects blood pressure.

Check out this lesson on Video Games and Behavior for more background on how video games may affect the player.

Gaming and Academic Performance

For this project, you will choose a video or computer game that incorporates educational material. For example, you could choose a game that exercises math or science skills. Many of these games are available for free on the Internet and can be found through a quick search. First, choose the game you wish to use. Next, create a test from the information taught in the game. You will then need to make sure that you have at least 4-5 participants for your project. Test each participant one by one, having them take the prepared test both before and after they play the game. Comparing their before and after test scores will help you determine whether or not they learned anything from playing the game.

For more information to back up your project, check out this lesson on How Video Games Support Learning.

Video Games Preferred by Gender

This project is a relatively simple science project that will attempt to determine whether or not males and females like the same types of video games. To start, you will need to design a survey that will ask the students questions like name, age, gender, and a few questions about video games. When designing your survey, you will want to make sure that your questions about video games are questions with set answers, meaning that the survey taker will have to choose from a list of answers you provide. Record all of your results and make sure to survey at least 15 males and 15 females for more accurate results.

Have a look at this lesson on The History of Video and Computer Games to gain some background knowledge on this popular option for entertainment and learning. You can use this lesson to go a step further with your questioning and ask participants how long they've been playing video games. You can also survey participants that are around the age of your parents and compare the results of both groups to not only see game preference by gender but also by age.

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