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Maker activities to do at home or in school

PocketLab/Ozobot LIDAR Demonstration

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


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

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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.

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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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


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.

Grade Level

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. 

Maker Project: Voyager and littleBits™ Music Visualizer

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 01/21/2018 - 19:49

It’s not always enough to just hear music.  Many of us enjoy visualizing it while listening.  4th of July fireworks are commonly synced to Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever.   Concert goers see spotlights flashing to their favorite pop songs.  Modern home owners play their sound systems synchronized with Phillips Hue lighting and nanoleaf® light panels with a Rhythm module.  For many years, classic visualizers have di

Grade Level

Maker Project: Voyager and littleBits™ Pet Monitor

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 22:31

Have you ever wondered what your dog does all day long while you are at work?  Is resting the major “activity” or is there some occasional wandering?  Is there silence or periodic barking, such as when the mailman comes or a squirrel is seen through a window?  The author of this lesson has a couple of schnauzers, known for their predisposition for barking.  “Welcome to the Bark Side” is a frequent phrase voiced to passersby while I am taking the schnauzers for a walk.  But how much do they bark when cooped up in the house and I am out someplace?   And do they move around a lot or mostly nap

A Lesson on Calibration: Interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 12/26/2017 - 18:40

Sensor-based inquiry is a dominant force in today’s science education, with the calibration of sensors being essential for high-quality measurement.  Wikipedia® defines calibration as “the comparison of measurement values delivered by a device under test with those of a calibration standard of known accuracy.”  In this lesson students will study the process of calibration:

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