Browse Lessons

Programming Exercise: Voyager Light Sensor Drives a Scratch Program of the Eye

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 12/10/2017 - 22:01

The eye is one of the many marvels of the human body.  The colored iris of the eye, surrounding the pupil, acts as a diaphragm to keep the amount of light entering the eye fairly constant.  If you walk out the door of your house to a sunny yard, the iris opening gets smaller letting less light into your eye.  If you enter a dark room after watching your favorite television program, the iris gets larger to allow more light to enter your eye.  This is a protective reflex, as too much light could damage the retina, which is where the image forms in the eye, similar to the film of a traditional

Programming Exercise: Voyager Gyro Controlled Scratch Christmas Tree

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 19:27

Here is a fun Holiday project that that will challenge your students’ skills in both the physics of a gyroscope and Scratch computer programming. With reference to Figure 1, all of the sprites shown are either from the sprite library or are created from the Paint new sprite option in Scratch. The challenge is to program the tree’s star to blink on and off by control of the x gyro, blink the blue light by control of the y gyro, and blink the big red light by control of the z gyro. All three lights should be on when the Scratch program starts running.

A Respiration Study with Voyager and Scratch Programming

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 12/06/2017 - 20:13

This lesson is motivated by a respiration study using a FLIR ONE™ thermal camera in conjunction with the Vernier Thermal Analysis Plus app. Using Voyager and the PocketLab Temperature Probe, however, allows students to investigate respiration at a fraction of the cost of a thermal camera. The response time for the Temperature Probe is rapid enough to observe temperature differences in the air inhaled and exhaled through the mouth during the process of respiration.

An Intensive Energy Conservation Experiment Comparing the PocketLab Teacher Geek® Cart with a ZéCar Flywheel Powered Car

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:21

In addition to being a fascinating toy, the ZéCar flywheel powered car can be utilized in physics curricula to study conservation of energy.  It is available from a variety of sources, including teachersource.com for under $14.  In this lesson students study energy conservation, including gravitational potential energy, translational kinetic energy, rotational kinetic energy, and work done against non-conservative frictional forces, with emphasis on comparing ZéCar with the PocketLab Teacher Geek

PocketLab Voyager Quantitative Experiment: Standing Waves on a Suspended Slinky

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 11/02/2017 - 21:00

In addition to being a fun toy, the “Slinky” is commonly used in physics classes to qualitatively investigate a variety of wave properties: longitudinal versus transverse traveling waves, superposition of waves, wave reflection from a solid barrier or a free end, and standing waves and resonance.  Many of these investigations work well when the Slinky is stretched out on the surface of a floor.  However, to do a quantitative study of standing waves and resonance, suspending the stretched Slinky from the ceiling offers the advantages of less fricti

PocketLab Voyager: A Flywheel Experiment

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:55

With the current growth in interest in flywheels, stemming from concern for the environmental impact of fossil fuel use, flywheels provide a convenient way for storing energy.  Because of this, the study of flywheels in the physics curriculum is well worth consideration by teachers.  Such a study allows for a careful examination of the principles of conservation of energy, as well as both linear and rotational kinematics.  PocketLab Voyager’s ability to collect angular velocity data makes data collection much easier than was required in similar past experiments wit

VelocityLab/Voyager: Using VelocityLab with LEGO® Carts

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 10/21/2017 - 02:43

Carts constructed with the LEGO® Simple & Powered Machines Set are great for studying motion kinematics, as the resultant motion is fairly smooth, resulting in less noisy data.  While you can use the range finder and PocketLab app, it has been found by the author that using Voyager and the VelocityLab app is less noisy as well.  The problem that one immediately confronts when considering this approach, however, is that both the small wheels and the large wheels in the LEGO® set are too small for attaching Voyager.

VelocityLab/Voyager: An Experiment in Energy and Momentum Conservation

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:13

A pendulum is held vertically and is  then released, impacting a cart that is initially at rest.  This experiment provides students with a lesson for comparing theory with actual experimental results and explaining any differences.  A variety of physics principles, including conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and impulse, are incorporated into the experiment.  VelocityLab is used to determine the actual speed of the cart after the impact, and the students compare this to speed predictions based upon theory.  In addition, students use impulse concepts to calc