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Maker activities to do at home or in school

Hysteresis with Rubber Bands

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Submitted by Rich on Wed, 02/06/2019 - 17:49

Introduction to Hysteresis

Hysteresis can be defined as a lag time in the response of a system to forces placed on the system.  The response of the system depends not only on the present magnitude of the force but also on the previous history of the system.  From the point of view of mathematics, the response to the force is a double-valued function.  This means that one value applies when the force is increasing, while another value applies when the force is decreasing.  A graphical plot of force and re

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Physics from a Croquet Mallet and Ball

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Submitted by Rich on Sat, 01/19/2019 - 20:23

Introduction

Various forms of the sport now known as croquet have been around for centuries.  Plastic or wooden balls are struck with a mallet through hoops, called wickets in the United States.  The components of a typical croquet set are shown in Figure 1.  Very popular in the UK, there is even a World Croquet Federation for those who take the sport seriously.  In the United States, it is common to set up croquet as a garden game at graduation and birthday parties.  But who would have thought that a croquet ball and mallet equipped with PocketLab Voyager and the PocketL

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Grade Level

Tactile Sensor as an ON/OFF ScratchX Switch

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Submitted by Rich on Sun, 08/26/2018 - 01:04

A Tactile Sensor ON/OFF ScratchX Switch

This lesson provides an example of how to ScratchX program PocketLab Voyager's tactile sensor as an ON/OFF switch.  If you have a device such as a light bulb, motor, or robot that is under control of ScratchX, then the code in this lesson may be a starting point for you.  The ScratchX program assumes that the device can be in any one of two possible states, which we will call ON and OFF.

PocketLab/Ozobot LIDAR Demonstration

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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

Grade Level

Relative Velocity Lab: PocketLab/Ozobot/LEGO

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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.

Grade Level

Voyager Rides an RC Car for Summertime Fun

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Submitted by Rich on Wed, 06/20/2018 - 18:18

RC Car Fun!!!

Here is a fun summertime activity!  Race an RC car with PocketLab Voyager. Challenge your friends to see who can negotiate a series of cones in the shortest amount of time without hitting any of the cones.  Start and end times are obtained by Voyager's magnetometer as the RC car passes by magnets.  

PocketLab/Phyphox Damped Lissajous Figures

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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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PocketLab/Phyphox Tracer Lab

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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

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Science Lab: Helmholtz Coils Magnetic Field

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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.

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