Browse Lessons

Head-on Collision versus Crashing Into a Wall

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 02/24/2018 - 03:56


Let’s imagine two scenarios:

1.       Two identical vehicles, each of whose speedometers reads 50 mph, travel toward each other and experience a head-on collision.

2.       Another identical vehicle, traveling at 50 mph, hits an unmovable, unbreakable and impenetrable rock wall.

Which collision is more severe from the viewpoint of one of these vehicles?

PocketLab HotRod

Submitted by PocketLab on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 22:48


The PocketLab HotRod is a fun and creative take on the classic “physics cart”, except it’s not boring and it doesn’t look like a brick on wheels. 

A Lesson in Radioactivity and Half-Life: Voyager/Scratch Geiger Counter Simulation

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 21:10

This lesson makes it possible for your students to study radioactive decay and half-life concepts without the need to purchase expensive radiation monitors and actual radioactive isotopes.  Scratch and Voyager work together to accomplish this via a simulation that matches that of true radioactive decay.  ScratchX is not required, but may be used.  The Scratch program provides the decay process.  With each decay of a simulated atom, the Scratch screen quickly flashes white and emits a beep sound similar to that of a typical Geiger counter.  Voyager’s light sensor records each of the decays a

Really Good Random Numbers with a Lava lamp, Scratch, and PocketLab Voyager

Submitted by DaveBakker on Fri, 02/16/2018 - 01:06

We can build a very good random number generator in Scratch using the PocketLab Voyager's light sensor and a lava lamp. Sounds crazy? Not really, there is actually a US patent for such a system! It turns out that on their own, computers are not good at generating true random numbers, therefore to make true random numbers using a computer you need an external source of randomness.

A Lesson in Probability and Statistics: Voyager/Scratch Coin Tossing Simulation

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 02/14/2018 - 19:25

This lesson introduces students to a variety of probability and statistics concepts using PocketLab Voyager and Scratch—ScratchX is not required.  The Scratch program simulates tossing any number of coins any number of times, displaying the number of heads in each toss with a square having varying shades of grey—black for zero heads and white for the maximum possible number of heads in each toss.  The simulated coins are tossed once each second with Voyager’s light sensor recording the results for each toss.

Color and temperature of objects

Submitted by PocketLab on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:39

On a hot, sunny day, would you rather wear dark or light-colored clothes? Have you ever walked across dark pavement barefoot on a hot day? How did that feel? Would you rather walk on the dark pavement or a lighter colored sidewalk along green grass? In this experiment you will investigate how the color of objects can affect it’s temperature. 

Temperature changes in sand versus water.

Submitted by PocketLab on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:36


Objective: The objective of today’s lab is to determine if water or sand heats up more quickly and “keeps” its heat longer. You will then use your collected data to answer the following question: How does a hot, sunny day at the beach affect a fish in the water differently from a crab on the sand? Explain.

Energy Conservation – Transferring Kinetic Energy to Thermal Energy

Submitted by PocketLab on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:33


The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains the same. Over time, all energy is conserved. Energy is neither created nor destroyed – instead it transfers from one form to another. Objects in motion have kinetic energy. Thermal energy is energy in a system due to its temperature.

Hot Wheels Racing with PocketLab

Submitted by PocketLab on Wed, 01/31/2018 - 18:45

Engage your students in engineering practices and classic force and motion and energy concepts in a fun and unique way. With a PocketLab attached to a Hot Wheels car and a track full of magnets, you'll be able to collect data on position, velocity, acceleration, and energy as your car zips up an over hills and around loops. Turn your students into theme park engineers and have them design "roller coaster" tracks, iterate on car designs for races, or teach basic concepts on position and velocity. This activity is sure to help engage your students in a meaningful way.