Skip to main content

Lessons

3D Printed Pendulum for Simple Harmonic Motion

Submitted by clifton on Mon, 07/09/2018 - 19:37

This 3D printed model demonstrates the physics of a simple pendulum that consists of a mass, m, hanging from an arm of length, L, and fixed at a pivot point, P. You can move the mass along the length of the arm to change the center of mass of the pendulum. If you displace the pendulum from equilibrium to an initial angle, θ, and release, the motion will be regular and repeat. This is an example of periodic motion also called simple harmonic motion.

PocketLab/Ozobot LIDAR Demonstration

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 07/06/2018 - 23:05

Introduction

LIDAR—an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging—is a method for remote sensing to measure distances.  While LIDAR commonly uses reflected laser light to accomplish this, students can investigate LIDAR principles by using Voyager’s IR rangefinder in conjunction with Ozobot Evo.  Ozobot is a tiny programmable robot that can follow lines.  In this activity, PocketLab Voyager is mounted on top of Ozobot.  While Ozobot t

Relative Velocity Lab: PocketLab/Ozobot/LEGO

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 06/30/2018 - 19:32

Introduction to Relative Velocity

Airplanes can experience head winds or tail winds that affect their flight time.  Similarly, motorboats on a river experience ground velocities that are dependent on whether they are traveling upstream or downstream.  Both of these phenomena are associated with a physics concept known as relative velocity--the main topic of this lab.

PocketLab/Phyphox Damped Lissajous Figures

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 06/11/2018 - 20:33

Lissajous Introduction

Lissajous patterns have fascinated physics students for decades.  They are commonly observed on oscilloscopes by applying simple harmonic functions with different frequencies to the vertical and horizontal inputs.  Three examples are shown in Figure 1.  From left to right, the frequency ratios are 1:2, 2:3, and 3:4.  These Lissajous patterns were created by use of the parametric equation section of The Grapher software written by the author of this lesson.  You are welcome to use this softwa

PocketLab/Phyphox Tracer Lab

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 06/07/2018 - 18:08

Introduction to this Lab

This is a quick and fun lab for makers!  In this lab, a pair of PocketLabs and Phyphox software are used to make a tracer.  As shown in Figure 1, the pair of PocketLab Voyagers are mounted to a small movable rectangular piece of plastic, perpendicular to one another and parallel to two edges of the plastic.  A small black circle is taped to the plastic to serve as the point for following the item to be traced.  In our example, a five-pointed star is traced.  One of the Voyagers is labeled X, and it

What causes the seasons?

Submitted by PocketLab on Tue, 05/22/2018 - 17:41

What causes the seasons on Earth? 

Weather is always changing. Humans have been dividing up the year based on these changes in weather for thousands of years. A division of a year based on weather is called a season. Different regions of the Earth have different names for seasons and different types of seasons. The most common seasonal names used are Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Science Lab: Helmholtz Coils Magnetic Field

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 05/19/2018 - 18:43

Helmholtz Coils

These coils come in pairs with the same number of turns of wire on each of the two coils. In "true Helmholtz" configuration: (1) the coils are wired in series with identical currents in the same direction in each coil, and (2) the coils are placed a distance apart that is equal to the radius of each coil. When in this configuration, they produce a very uniform magnetic field that is directed along their common central axis.

The Magnetic Field Around a Long Current Carrying Wire

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 05/14/2018 - 15:36

Magnetic Fields from Electric Currents

One of the classes of problems dealing with magnetic fields concerns the production of a magnetic field by a current-carrying conductor or by moving charges.  It was Oersted who discovered back in the early 1800's that currents produce magnetic effects. The quantitative relationship between the magnetic field strength and the current was later embodied in Ampere's Law, an extension of which made by Maxwell is one of the four basic equations of electromagnetism.

Periodic Motion of a Pair of Physics Carts: Experiment and Theory

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 05/10/2018 - 01:54

A Physics Challenge

In this lesson, AP and college students are challenged to derive equations for the periods of two fundamental modes of oscillation of a pair of coupled physics carts.  Derivation will involve Hooke's law, Newton's Second Law of Motion, and principles of simple harmonic motion.  Theory is then compared to experimental results obtained from PocketLab Voyager rangefinder data using Phyphox software.