Physical Science

PocketLab HotRod Ramp: A Study in Rotational and Translational Motion

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 03/26/2018 - 01:31

This project will get your physical science/physics students involved in a number of Next Generation Science Standards, particularly in the NGSS science and engineering practices.  This investigation provides a nice opportunity for the students to (1) suggest hypotheses, (2) design an experiment to test their hypotheses, (3) analyze and interpret their data, and (4) use principles of physics to explain their observations quantitatively.

PocketLab Voyager/Wonder Gears: An Experiment on Gear Ratios and Angular Velocity

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 03:10

Gears date back many centuries and are extremely useful since they can change the direction imposed by a source of power, as well as torque and speed.  This lesson describes an experimental study of the relationship between gear ratio and angular velocity by using PocketLab Voyager and Wonder Gears.    Wonder Gears is listed for ages 3+, with this lesson heavily emphasizing the “+” part of the description—since this lesson is perfect for junior high students aged 12 through 14.  This is one of the many advantages of Po

Head-on Collision versus Crashing Into a Wall

Submitted by Rich on Sat, 02/24/2018 - 03:56


Let’s imagine two scenarios:

1.       Two identical vehicles, each of whose speedometers reads 50 mph, travel toward each other and experience a head-on collision.

2.       Another identical vehicle, traveling at 50 mph, hits an unmovable, unbreakable and impenetrable rock wall.

Which collision is more severe from the viewpoint of one of these vehicles?

Color and temperature of objects

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

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


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


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™ 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