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PocketLab Voyager/Wonder Gears: An Experiment on Gear Ratios and Angular Velocity

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 03:10

Gears date back many centuries and are extremely useful since they can change the direction imposed by a source of power, as well as torque and speed.  This lesson describes an experimental study of the relationship between gear ratio and angular velocity by using PocketLab Voyager and Wonder Gears.    Wonder Gears is listed for ages 3+, with this lesson heavily emphasizing the “+” part of the description—since this lesson is perfect for junior high students aged 12 through 14.  This is one of the many advantages of Po

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Head-on Collision versus Crashing Into a Wall

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 02/24/2018 - 03:56


Let’s imagine two scenarios:

1.       Two identical vehicles, each of whose speedometers reads 50 mph, travel toward each other and experience a head-on collision.

2.       Another identical vehicle, traveling at 50 mph, hits an unmovable, unbreakable and impenetrable rock wall.

Which collision is more severe from the viewpoint of one of these vehicles?

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Voyager and Speedway Wonder™: Learning Angular Velocity in a Fun Way

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 02/21/2018 - 19:54

Have your students attach Voyager to a Speedway Wonder™ car, set up a Speedway track of their own design, and they will be ready to challenge one another in a unique way.  The main idea is to collect angular velocity data while Voyager circuits the track.  Then by carefully studying the angular velocity graphs produced, determine posible layouts of the track.  A magnet at one location along the track, coupled with simultaneously measuring magneti

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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. 

No Ice Skates, No Rink, No Talent: NO PROBLEM!

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 01/27/2018 - 21:55

Almost everyone enjoys watching the figure skating events in the Winter Olympic Games!  But only a select few worldwide with the required skills and God given talent have the opportunity to compete.  What about the rest of us?  We can’t even imagine how the Olympians manage to perform all of those fancy quad jumps and camel, layback, upright, and sit spins.  But we can sit in a chair, and with the right chair, we too can do a sit spin of sorts!  Add PocketLab and we can also learn some physics about conservation of angular momentum.

CloudLab Curve Fit Feature Preview: Inverse Square Law of Light

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 01/12/2018 - 22:15

The ability to quickly match empirical data to well-known mathematical models is an essential feature in the analysis of experiments.  This technique is generally referred to as curve-fitting.  The up-and-coming, but not yet leased, CloudLab software from PocketLab provides an easy way to fit data to models including linear, quadratic, power, exponential, and logarithmic.  This curve-fitting can be done for any selected region of PocketLab data.  This lesson provides a sneak preview of this CloudLab featu

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CloudLab Statistics Feature Preview: Determining Curve Radius

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 01/11/2018 - 20:35

Collection of angular velocity and acceleration sensor data is prone to seemingly random “noisy” variations, even when the associated motion appears to be smooth to the observer.  The easiest way to compensate for this variation is to compute the mean value for the duration of such a random variation.  The up-and-coming, but not yet leased, CloudLab software from PocketLab provides an easy way to compute means, standard deviations, and other statistics for a selected region of PocketLab data.

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PocketLab Voyager Rides Anki OVERDRIVE Supercar

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 21:07

People of all ages have enjoyed playing with toy race cars for many decades.  Anki OVERDRIVE is currently one of the most popular and technologically advanced race car sets available in the marketplace.  Why not attach Voyager to an Anki supercar and give your students a fun way to study angular velocity?!  Each student group can design there own racetrack and obtain a Voyager snapshot of angular velocity vs.

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LED Flame Lamp: Random or Cyclical Illumination?

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:00

Late in 2017 a handful of companies began selling LED flame lamps that do a great job of simulating an actual burning fire. The illumination is bright, has a color temperature of a warm orange flame, and the light produces negligible heat while running at under 5 watts of electric power. This light seems to be a great replacement for traditional gas lanterns, hurricane lamps, and oil lamps.  The simulated flame is unbelievably realistic in the flame light purchased by the author. No obvious pattern could be detected in the flickering LED flame by observing the light with the eye.

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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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