Left Out or Right On?

Elementary Sports Science Fair Project
Photo © 2008 Evonne, Flickr

Fifth grade student, Dimitra, wondered if one's handedness (i.e. preference shown to either the left or right hand when performing tasks like writing, swinging a baseball bat, etc.) had any bearing on foot, eye, and ear preference. With 10 left handed volunteers and 10 right handed volunteers she set out to find out!

Project Procedure

Dimitra designed several simple tests to determine preference (two for each part being tested):

  • Foot Preference. 1) Dimitra placed a soccer ball in front of the participant and asked them to kick it toward the goal. She recorded which foot was used to kick the ball. 2) Dimitra had participants walk up a flight of stairs, recording which foot they started climbing with.
  • Eye Preference. 1) When provided with a cardboard tube and asked to look through it, Dimitra recorded which eye was preferred. 2) Given a bow and arrow and asked to shoot at the target across the room, Dimitra recorded which eye was used to take aim.
  • Ear Preference. 1) Dimitra asked the participant to place their ear against the wall in an attempt to hear what was going on in the next room. She recorded which ear the participant placed against the wall. 2) Given a box of an unknown product (macaroni noodles were used in the experiment), Dimitra recorded which ear participants held the box up to when trying to figure out the product.

Project Conclusion

Dimitra hypothesized that most participant's preference would be directly influenced by their handedness (i.e. left handed people show preference to their left foot, left eye, and left ear, and vice versa). For project data, conclusions, and summary, be sure to visit Dimitra's project page! And if you decide to recreate this science fair project, remember that there are many simple tests that can be designed to determine preference. Use Dimitra's as a starting point and get those creative juices flowing!

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