Browse Lessons

What causes the seasons?

Submitted by PocketLab on Tue, 05/22/2018 - 17:41

What causes the seasons on Earth? 

Weather is always changing. Humans have been dividing up the year based on these changes in weather for thousands of years. A division of a year based on weather is called a season. Different regions of the Earth have different names for seasons and different types of seasons. The most common seasonal names used are Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

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

Introduction

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

Introduction

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

Modeling Position, Velocity vs. Time

Submitted by PocketLab on Tue, 05/01/2018 - 19:16

Lab Activity: Modeling Linear Motion with Position and Velocity vs. Time Graphs

Introduction:

This lab activity helps in understanding how measurements of an object's motion can be modeled in position and velocity vs. time graphs. Velocity is a vector measurement that gives an object’s speed and direction of movement. If a cart is pushed up a ramp, it will experience many changes in velocity that can be observed and measured.

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

Magnetic Dipole Experiment: Inverse Cube Law

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

Introduction

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.