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AP/College

Heel Pressure: Running versus Walking

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 08/10/2018 - 18:28

Heel Pressure

Do you really know how to walk or run?  PocketLab's tactile pressure sensor provides for an opportunity for your students to investigate foot pressure during these activities.  Improper form can ultimately lead to unwanted visits to a podiatrist.  Whenever you take a step, your body places pressure on muscles, joints and tendons in your legs, knees, ankles, feet and toes.   Controlling heel pressure is a key factor to prevent injuries in this regard.

Subject

Hysteresis of a Tactile Sensor

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 07/30/2018 - 15:38

What is hysteresis?

Hysteresis can be defined as a lag time in the response of a system to forces placed on the system.  A common way used in physics classes to observe hysteresis is by loading and then unloading weights from a suspended rubber band, while observing the extension of the rubber band.  Students find that the rubber band does not Obey Hooke's law.  They also observe that amount of stretch of the rubber band is different when unloading than when loading.

Subject
Grade Level

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.

Grade Level

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

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Grade Level

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.

Subject
Grade Level

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.

Subject
Grade Level

Magnetic Field on a Current Loop's Axis

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 05/02/2018 - 17:13

Introduction

In this lesson students will find that a current-carrying loop can be regarded as a dipole, as it generates a magnetic field for points on its axis.  Students use PocketLab Voyager and Phyphox software to compare experiment and theory for the magnetic field on the axis of a current loop.  A similar experiment not making use of Phyphox can be found by clicking this link.  An experiment making use of a magnet, instead of a

Subject
Grade Level

Isaac Newton and the 3rd Law of Motion

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:37

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is well-known for the apple that hit his head and the discovery of gravity.  His three Laws of Motion, however, are among the most famous laws of physics.  In this lesson, we are especially interested in Newton’s Third Law of Motion—all forces between two objects are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.  We will be studying collisions between two identical carts that are bouncing back-and-forth, much like a Newton’s cradle with just two steel balls.  Repelling magnets attached to the front bumpers of each of the carts al

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Grade Level

Magnetic Dipole Experiment: Inverse Cube Law

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 04/22/2018 - 15:28

Introduction

Magnets, from the traditional alnico bar magnets to the modern neodymium magnets, have been of interest to most everyone for decades. The attraction or repulsion of two such magnets when brought close together is particularly interesting. This can be expressed by making quantitative measurements relating magnetic field strength to distance from the magnet.

Subject
Grade Level

How does an Accelerometer Work - Physics of Probeware

Submitted by clifton on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:39

What does an accelerometer measure? The obvious answer is acceleration, but that's not really true. An accelerometer actually measures normal force or restoring force which we equate to acceleration using the formula, F=ma. This article will explain the fundamental operating principles of accelerometers and investigate the capabilities and drawbacks of accelerometers in certain applications.

Grade Level