Prepare your students for real-world problem solving and open-ended lab experiments. Experienced educators and curriculum specialists have developed each of these lessons, and we have tested them in real classrooms. PocketLab physics lessons cover introductory and advanced topics from one-dimensional motion to electricity and magnetism to simple harmonic motion. Browse all the high school and AP-level physics lessons below or use the filters to search for specific content.
High School Physics
Introduction to Crash Cushioning
In addition to automobile features that promote road safety, there has been and continues to be a great deal of work on highway features that save lives. An earlier lab entitled Crash Cushion Investigation, submitted by PocketLab, makes use of the PocketLab HotRod to investigate crash cushioning similar to that shown in Figure 1.
Terminal Velocity Introduction
The effect of mass on the terminal velocity of an object falling in air is commonly done using basket coffee filters. But how could we study the effect of area on the terminal velocity of a falling object? One way to do this is to use PocketLab Voyager and its range finder along with a single piece of cardstock as the object to be dropped.
What can you do with a PocketLab Mini HotRod, Voyager, five pieces of HotWheels track, and a half-dozen wood blocks about the size of Jenga blocks? How about an experiment in energy conservation! Add CloudLab and you have an environment for your students/lab groups to perform, analyze, document and save their PocketLab lab reports.
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 the amount of stretch of the rubber band is different when unloading than when loading.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.