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. 

CloudLab Curve Fit Feature Preview: Inverse Square Law of Light

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 01/12/2018 - 22:15

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

CloudLab Statistics Feature Preview: Determining Curve Radius

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 01/11/2018 - 20:35

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.

PocketLab Voyager Rides Anki OVERDRIVE Supercar

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 01/08/2018 - 21:07

People of all ages have enjoyed playing with toy race cars for many decades.  Anki OVERDRIVE is currently one of the most popular and technologically advanced race car sets available in the marketplace.  Why not attach Voyager to an Anki supercar and give your students a fun way to study angular velocity?!  Each student group can design there own racetrack and obtain a Voyager snapshot of angular velocity vs.

Interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets Maker Space

Submitted by Rich on Mon, 12/18/2017 - 20:39

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.

PocketLab Voyager Study of LIDAR Basics

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 19:09

LIDAR—an acronym for Light Detection and Ranging—is a method for remote sensing to measure distances.  While LIDAR commonly uses reflected laser light to accomplish this, students can investigate LIDAR principles by using Voyager’s Gyroscope and IR Range Finder in conjunction with the PocketLab-Scratch integration.  PocketLab support has described a project in which Voyager was mounted to an RC BB-8 Star Wars toy to map a two dimensional image of a “room”.  In this lesson, the aut

An Intensive Energy Conservation Experiment Comparing the PocketLab Teacher Geek® Cart with a ZéCar Flywheel Powered Car

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 11/09/2017 - 19:21

In addition to being a fascinating toy, the ZéCar flywheel powered car can be utilized in physics curricula to study conservation of energy.  It is available from a variety of sources, including teachersource.com for under $14.  In this lesson students study energy conservation, including gravitational potential energy, translational kinetic energy, rotational kinetic energy, and work done against non-conservative frictional forces, with emphasis on comparing ZéCar with the PocketLab Teacher Geek

PocketLab Voyager Quantitative Experiment: Standing Waves on a Suspended Slinky

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 11/02/2017 - 21:00

In addition to being a fun toy, the “Slinky” is commonly used in physics classes to qualitatively investigate a variety of wave properties: longitudinal versus transverse traveling waves, superposition of waves, wave reflection from a solid barrier or a free end, and standing waves and resonance.  Many of these investigations work well when the Slinky is stretched out on the surface of a floor.  However, to do a quantitative study of standing waves and resonance, suspending the stretched Slinky from the ceiling offers the advantages of less fricti

PocketLab Voyager: A Flywheel Experiment

Submitted by Rich on Thu, 10/26/2017 - 22:55

With the current growth in interest in flywheels, stemming from concern for the environmental impact of fossil fuel use, flywheels provide a convenient way for storing energy.  Because of this, the study of flywheels in the physics curriculum is well worth consideration by teachers.  Such a study allows for a careful examination of the principles of conservation of energy, as well as both linear and rotational kinematics.  PocketLab Voyager’s ability to collect angular velocity data makes data collection much easier than was required in similar past experiments wit