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Diving by Jaq and Niki

We're Jaq and Niki, and we always make a splash with our favorite sport: diving! Actually, just the opposite is true; we try NOT to make waves. Since competitive divers are judged on form and entry into the water, less splash is better. So let's dive into our DragonflyTV question: How should we dive to reduce splash and achieve higher scores?

What did we do?
We used a high-speed movie camera, one that makes slow-motion video, to examine our best and worst dives. We each did a favorite dive several times, and captured them in slow-motion. We played back the video, and compared dives with splash to those without. Because the camera shot at 500 frames per second, we could see even the tiniest detail about our dive entries.

What did we find out?
Sometimes we made a splash on our entry, even when we thought we did the dive well. The slow-motion video let us see things we couldn't see in "real time", and taught us how to make our dives picture perfect. For example, we learned that sometimes a poor hand position caused more splash than any other part of the body, even our legs.

What can you do?
  • Explore ways to observe things that happen slowly, such as the growth of a plant. Place a few bean seeds on a moist paper towel, and lay the towel in a plastic zipper bag. Line the inside of a clear cup with the bag, so you can see the seeds; a second cup placed inside the first helps hold the bag. Make drawings of the seeds each day as they begin to sprout. How can you use the drawings to make a movie of the seeds sprouting and growing?
  • Use a home video camera to take an extraordinary look at ordinary events. Record the splash of a water balloon hitting the sidewalk, or of a baseball falling into a bucket of water. Play the video back one frame at a time to notice things about the event that you couldn't see in "real time". Use this technique to study other events, such as a model earthquake. Build a small village on a cardboard platform, then shake the platform back and forth to create an earthquake. Play back the video to look for details about how damage occurred.
  • Use this sports investigation as a science fair project idea for your elementary or middle school science fair! Then tell us about it!
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Go to the DFTV Boards, and tell us about your science investigation.
whiz quiz
Which of the following sports was never part of the Olympic games?

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