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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


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

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.

Linear Motion - Match the Graph Activity

Submitted by PocketLab on Mon, 05/07/2018 - 21:52

Lab Activity: Understanding Linear Motion - Match the Graph Activity


In the PocketLab activity Modeling Linear Motion - Position, Velocity versus Time, we learned how graphs can be used to model an object’s motion. In that activity, a cart was pushed up a ramp and PocketLab’s rangefinder measured its change in position and velocity vs. time as it traveled up the ramp, changed direction and came down the ramp. The graphs modeled the cart’s direction of movement and speed. In this activity, we will take the concept further.

Magnetic Field on a Current Loop's Axis

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


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