Isaac Newton and the 3rd Law of Motion

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 04/30/2018 - 14:37

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton is well-known for the apple that hit his head and the discovery of gravity.  His three Laws of Motion, however, are among the most famous laws of physics.  In this lesson, we are especially interested in Newton’s Third Law of Motion—all forces between two objects are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction.  We will be studying collisions between two identical carts that are bouncing back-and-forth, much like a Newton’s cradle with just two steel balls.  Repelling magnets attached to the front bumpers of each of the carts al

PocketLab 3D Printed Kits for Teaching NGSS

Submitted by PocketLab on Wed, 04/25/2018 - 16:32

PocketLab science kits that you can 3D print

The PocketLab team has put together four PocketLab science kits that you can 3D print for free at home or in your classroom. These kits have been specifically engineered to work with your PocketLab to collect interesting data while having a whole lot of fun. If you're a teacher, these kits are great tools to use alongside your PocketLab to help teach NGSS aligned activities.  



Magnetic Dipole Experiment: Inverse Cube Law

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 04/22/2018 - 15:28


Magnets, from the traditional alnico bar magnets to the modern neodymium magnets, have been of interest to most everyone for decades. The attraction or repulsion of two such magnets when brought close together is particularly interesting. This can be expressed by making quantitative measurements relating magnetic field strength to distance from the magnet.

Physics, Science and Math Days

Submitted by DaveBakker on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 23:40

Amusement parks provide an authentic opportunity to conduct real science and apply physics and math concepts in real-world situations.  While visiting an amusement park, not only will you have a fun-filled day of riding rides, but you will get to apply what you have learned about estimation, measurement, motion, forces, gravity, energy, and systems.

How does an Accelerometer Work - Physics of Probeware

Submitted by clifton on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:39

What does an accelerometer measure? The obvious answer is acceleration, but that's not really true. An accelerometer actually measures normal force or restoring force which we equate to acceleration using the formula, F=ma. This article will explain the fundamental operating principles of accelerometers and investigate the capabilities and drawbacks of accelerometers in certain applications.

Two Voyagers Connected to a Single Device via Phyphox: A Conservation of Momentum Experiment

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 21:15

In the study of collisions between two carts, it is desirable to collect position data for both carts.  This can be done with a pair of Voyagers, each connected to separate devices running the PocketLab app. Starting data collection on both Voyagers by simultaneously clicking data recording on both PocketLab apps is difficult.  One cannot view the data on a single device in real time, and analysis of data requires combining data from two separate devices.

Two Voyagers Connected to a Single Device via Phyphox: An Experiment to Determine a Cart’s Wheel Radius

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 04/12/2018 - 22:02

It would be nice if one could connect two (or more!) Voyagers to the same device—say to an Android device or an iOS device running an app that could display concurrent data collection from both Voyagers.  Such a capability is possible by the use of Phyphox (physical phone experiments), an app developed at the 2nd Institute of Physics of the RWTH Aachen University in Germany.  The author of this lesson has been working with a pre-release Android version of this app that supports BLE (Bluet

A Wireless Controller for a Scratch Game

Submitted by DaveBakker on Tue, 04/10/2018 - 02:36

Let's create a game in Scratch that is controlled by a wireless controller using the PocketLab accelerometer. PocketLab can connect directly and wirelessly to Scratch, and can send sensor data in real time. This game uses the PocketLab accelerometer to move sprites around the screen.

This program is for intermediate or advanced Scratch users, and if you would like a simpler starting point to get started with connecting Scratch to the outside world through PocketLab, you can start here:

Internet of Things at Stanford University

Submitted by DaveBakker on Mon, 04/09/2018 - 17:47

What Internet of Things projects are Stanford students developing? Stanford ME220 "Introduction to Sensors" is an introduction to the variety of sensors that are used in engineering practice. Students in this class get a comprehensive overview of common practices with sensors and learn the direction in which sensor technologies are heading. 

Programming with Sensors in Scratch

Submitted by DaveBakker on Sun, 04/08/2018 - 05:18

This lesson will show you programming in Scratch with external sensors. We can read sensor data directly into Scratch and use it to write programs that make decisions based on what the sensors are measuring. If you need a quick primer on Scratch programming, go to this link. There are plenty of resources to get you started.