PocketLab is flexible enough that once kids know how to use the app, they can design investigations that matter to them. If a student is interested in gymnastics, they could tuck the sensor into their waistband and gather data while flipping. Kick your rocket lab up a notch by attaching the PocketLab sensor to your water rocket and collecting the live data.
Pairing the sensor with a device can be tricky for kids. Try having one student press the lever with the back of a pencil while another student holds the device next to the sensor. Head to the Educators page to find curricula and lesson plans.Continue reading Show less
PocketLab is the latest in a series of efforts to make sensors affordable for classroom use. It is a small, wireless sensor that pairs with smartphones or tablets to gather data such as acceleration, pressure, magnetic field, and temperature. Then, the data can be analyzed using tools such as Excel and Google Docs and even through the Scratch programming site.
One sensor works for all the different types of measurements. Want students to learn about momentum and force through collision carts? Instead of purchasing an expensive air track you can strap two PocketLab sensors to a pair of carts, collecting data on two smartphones. The same sensors can be used to measure the magnetic field of a slinky and to build your own seismograph. Because PocketLab is lightweight and durable, it can be used almost anywhere.
Other apps like Science Journal and Lab4Physics are free, but all data is gathered directly from students' smartphones. PocketLab stands out because the sensor is separate and can be placed anywhere, from inside a soccer ball to the top of a ceiling fan while it spins. While the sensor is in play, students are holding their tablet or smartphone and watching the data in real time. The sensors are expensive, around $100 apiece, but still cheaper than outfitting an entire lab with traditional equipment.
PocketLab has created a series of experiments with clear step-by-step directions to help students do things like build a barometer that measures weight. This activity promotes learning by helping students see how pressure is affected when weight is added to the bag. These labs do most of the planning for the students, but teachers could modify the activities to allow for more student-led investigation.
Key Standards Supported
(+) Use inverse functions to solve trigonometric equations that arise in modeling contexts; evaluate the solutions using technology, and interpret them in terms of the context.
Key Standards Supported
Matter and Its Interactions
Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.
Develop a model that predicts and describes changes in particle motion, temperature, and state of a pure substance when thermal energy is added or removed.
Undertake a design project to construct, test, and modify a device that either releases or absorbs thermal energy by chemical processes.
Apply scientific principles and evidence to provide an explanation about the effects of changing the temperature or concentration of the reacting particles on the rate at which a reaction occurs.
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions
Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.
Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.
Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.
Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects.
Conduct an investigation and evaluate the experimental design to provide evidence that fields exist between objects exerting forces on each other even though the objects are not in contact.
Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.
Apply scientific and engineering ideas to design, evaluate, and refine a device that minimizes the force on a macroscopic object during a collision.
Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.
Plan and conduct an investigation to provide evidence that an electric current can produce a magnetic field and that a changing magnetic field can produce an electric current.