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.
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.
PocketLab Voyager Total Lunar Eclipse Light Intensity Data
I was fortunate enough to have a perfectly clear sky in DeKalb, Illinois to capture light intensity data for the January 20-21, 2019 total lunar eclipse. This opportunity to collect light intensity data of the eclipse using PocketLab Voyager was a must do! See Figure 1.
A common experiment for studying the reflectivity of different colored surfaces makes use of colored construction paper, aluminum foil, a light source, and a light sensor. Voyager’s light sensor and the little flashlight included with the Explorer Kit are perfect tools for performing this experiment. Empty graphs and data tables suitable for copying for student use are included with this lesson.
A bungee jumper leaps from a tall structure and falls toward the ground. The bungee cord begins to stretch and transfers the kinetic energy of the fall into elastic potential energy, slowing the jumper to a stop.The cord then pulls him/her back up as the elastic potential energy turns back into kinetic energy. The jumper then oscillates up and down until their energy is completely dissipated.
NGSS Alignment: MS-PS4-1
The disciplinary core idea behind this standard is PS4.A: Wave Properties. It specifically looks at how a simple wave has a repeating pattern with a specific wavelength, frequency, and amplitude. The Crosscutting Concept, Patterns, looks at how graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. By creating graphs of mechanical waves, using a PocketLab Voyager or PocketLab One with a simple pendulum or a mass on a spring, students can examine how the graphs created are modeling by the movement and energy of the pendulum or mass-spring system.
In the Magnetic Minesweeper Lab, you will recreate the classic computer game Minesweeper in real life! Using PocketLab’s magnetometer, you will try to discover hidden mines and mark their locations on a grid. You can do this lab with two people to create a Minesweeper competition. One partner hides mines in different grid locations while the other partner tries to locate the mines to not get blown up!
NGSS Alignment: MS-PS2-3
The disciplinary core idea behind this standard is PS2.B: Types of Interactions. It specifically looks at electric and magnetic forces and how they can be attractive or repulsive, and how the size of the force can depend on the magnitudes of the charges, currents, or magnetic strengths involved. The strength can also depend on the distances between the interacting forces.
Until the late 1800’s, electricity and magnetism were regarded as separate forces. A number of scientists, including Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell, made important discoveries which led to our current understanding of electricity and magnetism. The interaction between positive and negative charges is, in fact, one force, the electromagnetic force, which results in both electrical currents and magnetic fields.
When an object is in free fall, the only force acting on the object is gravity. In general terms, an object moving upward is not considered “falling,” however, if gravity is the only force acting on the object (air resistance being negligible) then the object is in fact in a state of free fall. The projectile motion of an object is the trajectory of an object in free fall near Earth’s surface after being thrown or launched in the air. The curved path of the projectile is under the effect of gravity only after being launched.