Middle School

A Lesson in Radioactivity and Half-Life: Voyager/Scratch Geiger Counter Simulation

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 02/20/2018 - 21:10

This lesson makes it possible for your students to study radioactive decay and half-life concepts without the need to purchase expensive radiation monitors and actual radioactive isotopes.  Scratch and Voyager work together to accomplish this via a simulation that matches that of true radioactive decay.  ScratchX is not required, but may be used.  The Scratch program provides the decay process.  With each decay of a simulated atom, the Scratch screen quickly flashes white and emits a beep sound similar to that of a typical Geiger counter.  Voyager’s light sensor records each of the decays a

Color and temperature of objects

Submitted by PocketLab on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:39

Introduction:
On a hot, sunny day, would you rather wear dark or light-colored clothes? Have you ever walked across dark pavement barefoot on a hot day? How did that feel? Would you rather walk on the dark pavement or a lighter colored sidewalk along green grass? In this experiment you will investigate how the color of objects can affect it’s temperature. 

Temperature changes in sand versus water.

Submitted by PocketLab on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:36

Introduction:

Objective: The objective of today’s lab is to determine if water or sand heats up more quickly and “keeps” its heat longer. You will then use your collected data to answer the following question: How does a hot, sunny day at the beach affect a fish in the water differently from a crab on the sand? Explain.

Energy Conservation – Transferring Kinetic Energy to Thermal Energy

Submitted by PocketLab on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 20:33

Introduction:

The law of conservation of energy states that the total energy of an isolated system remains the same. Over time, all energy is conserved. Energy is neither created nor destroyed – instead it transfers from one form to another. Objects in motion have kinetic energy. Thermal energy is energy in a system due to its temperature.

Hot Wheels Racing with PocketLab

Submitted by PocketLab on Wed, 01/31/2018 - 18:45

Engage your students in engineering practices and classic force and motion and energy concepts in a fun and unique way. With a PocketLab attached to a Hot Wheels car and a track full of magnets, you'll be able to collect data on position, velocity, acceleration, and energy as your car zips up an over hills and around loops. Turn your students into theme park engineers and have them design "roller coaster" tracks, iterate on car designs for races, or teach basic concepts on position and velocity. This activity is sure to help engage your students in a meaningful way. 

No Ice Skates, No Rink, No Talent: NO PROBLEM!

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 01/27/2018 - 21:55

Almost everyone enjoys watching the figure skating events in the Winter Olympic Games!  But only a select few worldwide with the required skills and God given talent have the opportunity to compete.  What about the rest of us?  We can’t even imagine how the Olympians manage to perform all of those fancy quad jumps and camel, layback, upright, and sit spins.  But we can sit in a chair, and with the right chair, we too can do a sit spin of sorts!  Add PocketLab and we can also learn some physics about conservation of angular momentum.

Maker Project: Voyager and littleBits™ Music Visualizer

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 01/21/2018 - 19:49

It’s not always enough to just hear music.  Many of us enjoy visualizing it while listening.  4th of July fireworks are commonly synced to Sousa’s The Stars and Stripes Forever.   Concert goers see spotlights flashing to their favorite pop songs.  Modern home owners play their sound systems synchronized with Phillips Hue lighting and nanoleaf® light panels with a Rhythm module.  For many years, classic visualizers have di

Maker Project: Voyager and littleBits™ Pet Monitor

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 22:31

Have you ever wondered what your dog does all day long while you are at work?  Is resting the major “activity” or is there some occasional wandering?  Is there silence or periodic barking, such as when the mailman comes or a squirrel is seen through a window?  The author of this lesson has a couple of schnauzers, known for their predisposition for barking.  “Welcome to the Bark Side” is a frequent phrase voiced to passersby while I am taking the schnauzers for a walk.  But how much do they bark when cooped up in the house and I am out someplace?   And do they move around a lot or mostly nap

Six Shades (not fifty!) of Grey: PocketLab Voyager/Scratch Dice

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 01/16/2018 - 22:20

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.