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Isotonic drinks and long-distance runnersFeatured science projectScience project video


The materials required for this science fair project:

-    30 long-distance runners between ages 16 to 20
-    A 5 km cross country path
-    A stopwatch
-    15 bottles of Gatorade
-    45 bottles of water
-    15 blue T-shirts
-    15 red T-shirts


1.    For this science fair project, the independent variable is the consumption of an isotonic drink (i.e.Gatorade) at the watering point, during the second race. The dependent variable is the time taken by the runners to complete the 5 km run. The time taken to complete the 5 km run is recorded with a stopwatch. The constants (control variables) are the age of the participants and the distance of the cross country route.

2.    On the first day of the experiment, the 30 athletes are made to run the 5 km cross country route. A watering station is placed midway along the route to supply the water bottles to the runners. The time taken by each of the athlete to complete the 5 km run is noted. The athletes are then divided into 2 groups of 15 persons each so that the average time of the runners in each group is almost the same. The average time is calculated by totaling the time taken by all the runners in the group and dividing by 15.

3.    The second stage of the experiment is held 2 weeks later. All of the 30 athletes are required to run the same cross county route. The runners are separated into their groups. The first group is given the red T-shirts to wear. The second group is given the blue T-shirts to wear.

4.    When the race is underway and the runners reach the watering station, the runners with the red T-shirts are given Gatorade, while the runners in the blue T-shirts are given bottles of water.

5.    The time each athlete takes to complete the 5 km run is recorded. The new average time taken for each of the 2 groups is calculated and is recorded in the table given below.

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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 2 weeks for science fair project
Material availability:
Easily found
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