We can create a way to make true random numbers in Scratch using the PocketLab Voyager's light sensor and a lava lamp. Sounds crazy? Not really, there is actually a US patent for such a system! It turns out that on their own, computers are not good at generating true random numbers, therefore to make true random numbers using a computer you need an external source of randomness.
This lesson introduces students to a variety of probability and statistics concepts using PocketLab Voyager and Scratch—ScratchX is not required. The Scratch program simulates tossing any number of coins any number of times, displaying the number of heads in each toss with a square having varying shades of grey—black for zero heads and white for the maximum possible number of heads in each toss. The simulated coins are tossed once each second with Voyager’s light sensor recording the results for each toss.
This is a programming project that capitalizes on PocketLab-Scratch Integration. This project makes use of the Scratch random number block to simulate rolling an ordinary six-sided die. The six random but equally likely outcomes are mapped to sprites of six different shades of gray. Voyager’s light sensor is then used to determine the value of the die’s roll, mapping light sensor values to the corresponding sprite from six images of the face up side of the die. A short action video of the author’s solution accompanies this lesson.
The ability to quickly match empirical data to well-known mathematical models is an essential feature in the analysis of experiments. This technique is generally referred to as curve-fitting. The up-and-coming, but not yet leased, CloudLab software from PocketLab provides an easy way to fit data to models including linear, quadratic, power, exponential, and logarithmic. This curve-fitting can be done for any selected region of PocketLab data. This lesson provides a sneak preview of this CloudLab featu
Collection of angular velocity and acceleration sensor data is prone to seemingly random “noisy” variations, even when the associated motion appears to be smooth to the observer. The easiest way to compensate for this variation is to compute the mean value for the duration of such a random variation. The up-and-coming, but not yet leased, CloudLab software from PocketLab provides an easy way to compute means, standard deviations, and other statistics for a selected region of PocketLab data.
Late in 2017 a handful of companies began selling LED flame lamps that do a great job of simulating an actual burning fire. The illumination is bright, has a color temperature of a warm orange flame, and the light produces negligible heat while running at under 5 watts of electric power. This light seems to be a great replacement for traditional gas lanterns, hurricane lamps, and oil lamps. The simulated flame is unbelievably realistic in the flame light purchased by the author. No obvious pattern could be detected in the flickering LED flame by observing the light with the eye.
Here is a project that will challenge your students’ skill in interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Scratch Programming. The challenge is to program the five bubbles to start bubbling upwards in the teapot—one bubble at 90ᵒC, two at 92ᵒC, three at 94ᵒC, four at 96ᵒC, and five bubbles at 98ᵒC. When the temperature of the teapot has reached 100ᵒC, the phrase Full Boil should appear. See the movie accompanying this lesson for clarification of the intended result. When the burner under the real teapot is turned off and cooling begins, bubbling should go away in revers
Sensor-based inquiry is a dominant force in today’s science education, with the calibration of sensors being essential for high-quality measurement. Wikipedia® defines calibration as “the comparison of measurement values delivered by a device under test with those of a calibration standard of known accuracy.” In this lesson students will study the process of calibration:
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.
The eye is one of the many marvels of the human body. The colored iris of the eye, surrounding the pupil, acts as a diaphragm to keep the amount of light entering the eye fairly constant. If you walk out the door of your house to a sunny yard, the iris opening gets smaller letting less light into your eye. If you enter a dark room after watching your favorite television program, the iris gets larger to allow more light to enter your eye. This is a protective reflex, as too much light could damage the retina, which is where the image forms in the eye, similar to the film of a traditional