Explore our collection of hands-on Powered by PocketLab projects.
Buildings and structures all around us absorb and re-emit the sun’s heat. In urban areas, this phenomenon - also known as the urban thermal effect - creates “heat islands” where daytime temperatures can reach 7°F higher in locations surrounded by concrete buildings and structures compared to green spaces.* This phenomenon can also be found in non-urban areas with a high concentration of concrete structures.
A community of educators and student scientists in Atlanta, Georgia are using PocketLab sensors to measure urban heat islands in their communities and study the effects of this climate difference across the city. This study can be replicated on a smaller scale on your school campus as demonstrated by Thomas County High School in Georgia. Students learned about urban heat islands by measuring the temperature differences between the areas around the school building and the surrounding green spaces.
Use the “Investigate Heat Islands” lesson in PocketLab Notebook with these tools:
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Get started with your class right away! Request a hands-on sensor pilot to study heat islands with your students using PocketLab Voyager 2.
Project-based learning engages students in learning with hands-on, personally-meaningful, long-term projects that deepen their understanding of scientific concepts. Students gain 21st-century skills by solving real-world problems or answering complex questions.
Students at Santa Monica High School in California used PocketLab G-Force to explore how changing variables impacts the kinetic energy of a hill on a roller coaster track. The data collected by G-Force and visualized in PocketLab Notebook gives students a first-hand, personal experience that brings the concept of kinetic energy to life.
Place-based education (PBE) helps students connect classroom learning to their local environment and real-world challenges by studying locally relevant phenomena and addressing real community issues. Because it leans on the power of location to enhance and personalize learning, PBE can happen anywhere at any time. In our example, educator students at the Morpho Institute’s Educator Academy in the Amazon Rainforest apply key elements of inquiry, STEM, and place-based learning. Learning through PBE principals empowers these educators to make critical local to global connections in their classrooms.
Even if you are unable to travel to the Amazon to experience place-based education with the Morpho Institute, you can employ the principles of PBE with your students by using lessons and tools that take them outside of the classroom to explore local phenomena that is relevant to their lives and local community. The same PocketLab Air used by the Morpho Institute to study phenomena in the Amazon can be used to study microclimates, air quality and wildfire science just outside the doors of your classroom.
Have you ever considered the air quality outside your school during pick-up and drop-off time? An idling line of vehicles with engines running collectively and within a small time frame can change the air quality and affect everyone in the area.
Using PocketLab Air sensors and PocketLab Notebook digital lab software, students can measure and analyze the effect of this in their own school. Read more about student scientists in Florida who measured the air outside their school, collected data and shared their findings.
Every summer and fall, wildfires sweep across many countries, including the United States and Canada. As the fires sweep across landscapes, they release hazardous smoke into the air that can reach as far as from California to New York.
What if you could measure just how much the effect of wildfires impacts the air where you live? Using pre-built lessons in PocketLab Notebook, students can follow procedures, collect their own data, observe the results and come to understand the effect wildfire smoke has on the air in their own community.