# Math SL IA NEED HELP- Optimization of a Volleyball Serve using Projectile Motion

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I have my first rough draft of my math IA due in one month, and I am having trouble understanding if my topic is too simple, difficult, or vague for a Math IA, I would appreciate some advice.

NOTE; I DO NOT TAKE PHYSICS, NOR WILL I BE TAKING IT. I realise many people say I should take on a topic that involves physics if I don't take it or completely understand the concepts I am using from Physics, but I have no choice. My math teacher told me I can't change my topic, so I'm stuck with it!

My idea was to maximize the success of a volleyball serve using the concepts of projectile motion. I wanted to find the math behind the sport I've played since I was a child, and improve the actual serve. There is a direct correlation between the height of a serve and the distance it travels. The math I am planning to use is parabolas, differential calculus, and maybe showing the spread of distance data collected in an experiment.

My math teacher told me it would be best to start with collecting data, as it would help to structure my IA better. My tutor mentioned I could use an online simulation to simulate results of a volleyball serve and the distance it would travel under the specifications given (which would not account for air resistance or other resistance factors). Or, I may have access to a machine we use during practices which launches volleyballs to mimic a serve, for passing repetition purposes. I could set the angle to release the volleyball at, which I would change (Independent variable), which would result in a change in distance (dependent). The speed would stay constant. I would measure the total distance the ball reaches based on the angle I release the ball at. My tutor said I could use a differential calculus equation to calculate the height at which my ball reached before its downfall.

However, upon speaking with an IB physics teacher at my school, he believes that this would not work well in terms of relating back to projectile motion because projectile motion that we learn at school uses one-dimensional and two-dimensional scenarios. It does not take into account all resistances against the volleyball serve. My math teacher said this was fine, as long as I explain these limitations in my investigations, and suggested I could try another ball with a different mass/density to do the same experiment to show how the density of the volleyball affects the way it performs in my sport.

Am I on the right track? I am confused and stumped as to what my next steps should be. All help and criticism are appreciated.

Edited by Rishona Vemulapalli

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You don't really need to take physics, but if you are doing projectile motion, it would be super helpful to learn about projectile motion on your own. You can readily find resources on YouTube. For example you can get the problem set / homework from the physics teacher and try to work through them; when you have questions, just go ask him. This is generally one of the first topics taught in a physics class so it will not require heavy physics background. Consider proving what you need using algebra first, because collecting data from a simulator.

You should define "success". For example, a ball that goes too high or far might not be ideal, as it could be easily spiked or just out of bounds. I don't think air resistance is essential in the data collection.

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i really interested on your IA title and objective. Can i know for your this project for more details like what references that you refer

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