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.

LED Flame Lamp: Random or Cyclical Illumination?

Submitted by Rich on Wed, 01/03/2018 - 19:00

Late in 2017 a handful of companies began selling LED flame lamps that do a great job of simulating an actual burning fire. The illumination is bright, has a color temperature of a warm orange flame, and the light produces negligible heat while running at under 5 watts of electric power. This light seems to be a great replacement for traditional gas lanterns, hurricane lamps, and oil lamps.  The simulated flame is unbelievably realistic in the flame light purchased by the author. No obvious pattern could be detected in the flickering LED flame by observing the light with the eye.

Programming Exercise:Voyager Temperature Probe Controlled Scratch Teapot

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 12/29/2017 - 01:16

Here is a project that will challenge your students’ skill in interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Scratch Programming.  The challenge is to program the five bubbles to start bubbling upwards in the teapot—one bubble at 90ᵒC, two at 92ᵒC, three at 94ᵒC, four at 96ᵒC, and five bubbles at 98ᵒC.  When the temperature of the teapot has reached 100ᵒC, the phrase Full Boil should appear.  See the movie accompanying this lesson for clarification of the intended result.  When the burner under the real teapot is turned off and cooling begins, bubbling should go away in revers

A Lesson on Calibration: Interfacing PocketLab Voyager with Modular Robotics Cubelets

Submitted by Rich on Tue, 12/26/2017 - 18:40

Sensor-based inquiry is a dominant force in today’s science education, with the calibration of sensors being essential for high-quality measurement.  Wikipedia® defines calibration as “the comparison of measurement values delivered by a device under test with those of a calibration standard of known accuracy.”  In this lesson students will study the process of calibration:

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.

Programming Exercise: Voyager Light Sensor Drives a Scratch Program of the Eye

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 12/10/2017 - 22:01

The eye is one of the many marvels of the human body.  The colored iris of the eye, surrounding the pupil, acts as a diaphragm to keep the amount of light entering the eye fairly constant.  If you walk out the door of your house to a sunny yard, the iris opening gets smaller letting less light into your eye.  If you enter a dark room after watching your favorite television program, the iris gets larger to allow more light to enter your eye.  This is a protective reflex, as too much light could damage the retina, which is where the image forms in the eye, similar to the film of a traditional

Voyager & Ozobot: NGSS Science and Engineering Practices Challenge

Submitted by Rich on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 21:02

This lesson provides a challenge that incorporates all eight of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) science and engineering practices.  Although this lesson makes use of both Ozobot and Voyager, neither of these is required, as all data have been collected and are supplied.  Students match several geometric shapes with their corresponding angular velocity vs. time data obtained as Voyager/Ozobot travel around the shapes.  Students are also provided with angular momentum data from an unknown geometric shape and asked to sketch the shape from their analysis. 

Voyager & Ozobot: A STEM Team to Study Linear Motion

Submitted by Rich on Sun, 07/30/2017 - 16:45

Ozobot “Evo” ( is a tiny one-inch diameter robot that can be quickly programmed using a Google Blockly dialect known as OzoBlockly (  This lesson combines the ability to program Ozobot to move freely in a straight line with Voyager’s ability to sense the resulting motion through its range finder.  Students compute the slope of the resulting position versus time graph to determine Ozobot’s velocity.