In these two design challenges, students will design and construct their own thermos/storage device using craft materials and measure its effectiveness to insulate a liquid with a PocketLab temperature probe. These activities are aligned with two middle school NGSS standards and are a great open-ended, hands-on project for students to engage their critical thinking and engineering skills.
Properties of Matter
PocketLab University is an initiative to develop college-level labs that students can conduct at home, in their dorm room, or in any other setting without the need for laboratory equipment. Lab 1 uses PocketLab Voyager to understand the physical principles that enable temperature sensors to convert the physical property of temperature to an electrical property that we can measure with simple circuitry. The student assignment is below.
Brownian motion can be defined as the random motion of particles in a liquid or gas caused by the bombardment from molecules in the containing medium. Have you ever looked at dust particles in the sunlight shining through a window? They appear to move about randomly, even defying gravity. This is an example of Brownian motion in which the dust particles are bombarded on all sides by gas molecules in the air. Other examples of Brownian motion include the motion of grains of pollen on the surface of still water, the dif
Introduction to the Ideal Gas Law
The ideal gas law is commonly seen in the form PV = nRT, where P is the pressure, V is the volume, T is the absolute temperature, n is the amount of the gas in moles, and R is the ideal gas constant. It is a composite form of Boyle's, Charles's, Avogadro's, and Gay Lussac's laws. This law helps to explain how many things work, including bicycle pumps, hot air balloons, pressure cookers, and steam engines, just to mention a few.
Introduction to Moment of Inertia
There are numerous analogies when comparing linear and rotational motion. At the heart of these comparisons lie the concepts of mass on one hand and moment of inertia on the other. In addition to being a property of any physical object, mass is a measure of the resistance of an object to acceleration when a net force has been applied to the object. Newton's Second Law of Motion expresses this in the familiar equation F = ma. By analogy, the moment of inertia of any rigid obj
How does adding thermal energy affect the particle motion of a gas?
NGSS Alignment: MS-PS3-4
The disciplinary core idea behind this standard is PS3.A: Definitions of Energy and PS3.B: Conservation fo Energy and Energy Transfer. In PS3 the standard specifically looks at how temperature is a measure of the average kinetic energy of the particles of matter. This leads to the conclusion that the temperature and the total energy of a system depend on the type, states, and the amounts of matter present.
Introduction to Hysteresis
Hysteresis can be defined as a lag time in the response of a system to forces placed on the system. The response of the system depends not only on the present magnitude of the force but also on the previous history of the system. From the point of view of mathematics, the response to the force is a double-valued function. This means that one value applies when the force is increasing, while another value applies when the force is decreasing. A graphical plot of force and re
Newton's Law of Cooling
In this experiment students will use PocketLab Voyager to collect data related to the cooling of a container of hot water as time goes on. Sir Isaac Newton modeled this process under the assumption that the rate at which heat moves from one object to another is proportional to the difference in temperature between the two objects, i.e., the cooling rate = -k*TempDiff. In the case of this experiment, the two objects are water and air.
In a PockeLab lesson entitled "Hydrostatic Pressure Lab", posted by kwarnke in October 2017, students investigate the relationship between the height of a column of water and hydrostatic pressure. The lab results worked very well in this regard, but the apparatus uses a 5-gallon jug with modifications, a bicycle pump, and 5 meters of vinyl tubing. We should be able to come up with a much simpler and less expensive fluid pressure apparatus to achieve the same result, as the
What is hysteresis?
Hysteresis can be defined as a lag time in the response of a system to forces placed on the system. A common way used in physics classes to observe hysteresis is by loading and then unloading weights from a suspended rubber band, while observing the extension of the rubber band. Students find that the rubber band does not Obey Hooke's law. They also observe that the amount of stretch of the rubber band is different when unloading than when loading.