Interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets Maker Space

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 20:39

The maker revolution has grown by leaps and bounds during the past four years. With dozens of robotic toys for learning and discovery now in the marketplace, it makes sense to give students opportunities for interfacing these robots with the investigative powers of PocketLab Voyager. This lesson describes an example project by which students interface Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets—robot blocks that magnetically connect to form an endless variety of robots. There are seventeen different blocks in three categories—sense, think, and act.

PocketLab Voyager Study of LIDAR Basics

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:09

LIDAR—an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging—is a method for remote sensing to measure distances.  While LIDAR commonly uses reflected laser light to accomplish this, students can investigate LIDAR principles by using Voyager’s Gyroscope and IR Range Finder in conjunction with the PocketLab-Scratch integration.  PocketLab support has described a project in which Voyager was mounted to an RC BB-8 Star Wars toy to map a two dimensional image of a “room”.  In this lesson, the aut

An Intensive Energy Conservation Experiment Comparing the PocketLab Teacher Geek® Cart with a ZéCar Flywheel Powered Car

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:21

In addition to being a fascinating toy, the ZéCar flywheel powered car can be utilized in physics curricula to study conservation of energy.  It is available from a variety of sources, including teachersource.com for under $14.  In this lesson students study energy conservation, including gravitational potential energy, translational kinetic energy, rotational kinetic energy, and work done against non-conservative frictional forces, with emphasis on comparing ZéCar with the PocketLab Teacher Geek

PocketLab Voyager Quantitative Experiment: Standing Waves on a Suspended Slinky

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 11/02/2017 - 21:00

In addition to being a fun toy, the “Slinky” is commonly used in physics classes to qualitatively investigate a variety of wave properties: longitudinal versus transverse traveling waves, superposition of waves, wave reflection from a solid barrier or a free end, and standing waves and resonance.  Many of these investigations work well when the Slinky is stretched out on the surface of a floor.  However, to do a quantitative study of standing waves and resonance, suspending the stretched Slinky from the ceiling offers the advantages of less fricti

PocketLab Voyager: A Flywheel Experiment

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:55

With the current growth in interest in flywheels, stemming from concern for the environmental impact of fossil fuel use, flywheels provide a convenient way for storing energy.  Because of this, the study of flywheels in the physics curriculum is well worth consideration by teachers.  Such a study allows for a careful examination of the principles of conservation of energy, as well as both linear and rotational kinematics.  PocketLab Voyager’s ability to collect angular velocity data makes data collection much easier than was required in similar past experiments wit

VelocityLab/Voyager: An Experiment in Energy and Momentum Conservation

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 10/19/2017 - 18:13

A pendulum is held vertically and is  then released, impacting a cart that is initially at rest.  This experiment provides students with a lesson for comparing theory with actual experimental results and explaining any differences.  A variety of physics principles, including conservation of energy, conservation of momentum, and impulse, are incorporated into the experiment.  VelocityLab is used to determine the actual speed of the cart after the impact, and the students compare this to speed predictions based upon theory.  In addition, students use impulse concepts to calc

PocketLab Voyager/LEGO®: A Study of the Atwood Machine

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 10/09/2017 - 17:57

Students study the Atwood machine to verify Newton’s Second Law of Motion.  In this machine, two hanging masses are tied to the end of a string that loops around a pulley.  The larger mass then moves downward with a constant acceleration, while the smaller mass accelerates upward.  The magnitude of this acceleration is a quantity of great interest as it relates to the values of the two masses.  In this lesson, an Atwood machine is constructed using parts from LEGO®’s Simple & Powered Machines Set<

Flame in Freefall

Submitted by SteveMaier_ on Fri, 10/06/2017 - 21:40

A novel activity that demonstrates one of the effects of a microgravity environment. In this exercise, the structure of a flame is filmed while simultaneously plotting the acceleration of the system as it is released and experiences freefall. The apparatus is low-cost, possibly using only scrap materials found in the classroom. A PocketLab One is paired with a smartphone and used to collect the data.  Conceptually, the exercise is straightforward, though considering noise in the data, limits of the system, and chemistry applications could easily enrich the content.