PocketLab Voyager: A Study of Coupled Pendulums

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 08/22/2017 - 20:26

This lesson deals with what are commonly referred to as coupled pendulums, in which energy is transferred back-and-forth between the pendulums via the coupling.  Pendulums coupled by springs are commonly studied in college physics classes during studies of simple harmonic motion.  However, our lesson makes use of string-coupled pendulums, as they are easier and less expensive to construct.

PocketLab Voyager: Beat Phenomena with LED's and #50 Lamps

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 20:29

It is quite well known that when two frequencies of sound are close together, beats are produced and heard.  Demonstrations of this phenomenon are common in acoustical studies in physics classes.  In this lesson we investigate three laboratory techniques for seeing beats instead of hearing them.  These visual beats can be recorded and studied by the use of the PocketLab app and Voyager’s light sensor.  The first technique uses two #50 lamps that are driven at slightly different AC sine wave frequenc

PocketLab Voyager: Light Intensity of a #50 Lamp vs. a Slow Sine Wave Current

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 08/14/2017 - 18:32

In this investigation we study a slowly varying sine wave signal produced by a function generator and amplified by a power amplifier to light a small #50 lamp.  We are specifically interested in seeing the relationship between the light intensity of the lamp and the current it is carrying at any given instant of time.  PocketLab Voyager is a perfect laboratory for performing this investigation even though Voyager does not have a current sensor.

PocketLab Voyager: Moment of Inertia and Conservation of Angular Momentum

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 08/11/2017 - 21:32

As shown in the image accompanying this lesson, conservation of angular momentum can be investigated using a Lazy Susan (LS), PocketLab, and a compact weight.   Voyager is mounted to the LS.  The LS is given a spin and gradually slows down from friction.   The compact weight is dropped just above the edge of the LS.  The resultant sudden decrease in angular velocity is recorded by Voyager.  The accompanying video shows all of this action.  Taking into account the moment of inertia of the LS, and

Voyager & Ozobot: NGSS Science and Engineering Practices Challenge

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:02

This lesson provides a challenge that incorporates all eight of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering practices.  Although this lesson makes use of both Ozobot and Voyager, neither of these is required, as all data have been collected and are supplied.  Students match several geometric shapes with their corresponding angular velocity vs. time data obtained as Voyager/Ozobot travel around the shapes.  Students are also provided with angular momentum data from an unknown geometric shape and asked to sketch the shape from their analysis. 

PocketLab Voyager: Double Slit Diffraction Interference & The Wavelength of Light

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 07/28/2017 - 02:52

A classic way to demonstrate the wave nature of light is to pass a coherent beam of light from a laser through a double slit.  In this lesson, students study the intensity of light in the resultant interference pattern using the light intensity sensor of PocketLab Voyager.  Students also compare intensity to theoretical predictions.  In addition, the wavelength of the light can be calculated from knowledge of slit separation, distances between bright fringes in the interference pattern, and distance from the double slit to the pattern. 

Voyager & Ozobot: A STEM Team to Study Circular Motion

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 07/26/2017 - 15:44

Ozobot “Evo” (ozobot.com) is a tiny one-inch diameter robot that can be quickly programmed to follow lines using a Google Blockly dialect known as OzoBlockly (ozoblockly.com).  This lesson combines the ability to program Ozobot to follow a circle at constant speed with Voyager’s ability to sense the resulting motion through its angular velocity sensor.  The purpose of this project is to show that if speed is kept constant and the same fo

PocketLab Voyager: A Study of Rolling Resistance

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 07/21/2017 - 17:19

In this experiment a coasting cart on a flat surface gradually slows down and stops due to rolling resistance.  Two very different surfaces are compared—a carpeted floor and a wood floor.  The purpose of this experiment is three-fold:  (1) to determine the force of rolling resistance, (2) to determine the coefficient of rolling resistance between the cart the surface on which it rolls, and (3) to gain a practical understanding of the meaning of this coefficient.  Voyager's range finder is used to collect data.

PocketLab Voyager: The Effect of Area on Terminal Velocity of a Falling Object

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 07/18/2017 - 18:10

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.  In this lesson, students discover a relationship between area and terminal velocity and compare their results to a common model of air resistance (aka drag).  

PocketLab Voyager: Polarization and Malus's Law

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 07/16/2017 - 16:14

One of the most well-known physical laws related to polarization is Malus’s Law.  This law states that the intensity of plane-polarized light passing through a rotatable polarizer analyzer varies as the square of the cosine of the angle through which the analyzer is rotated from the position giving maximum intensity.  The lesson described here allows you to verify Malus’s Law using PocketLab Voyager and one of the light polarizers contained in the PocketLab Scientist Kit.