PocketLab News Feed

Did you ever wonder what happens to your packages during shipping?

Have you ever wondered what happens to your package after you put it in the mail? Does the package ever get hot, cold, wet, turned upside down, dropped off the back of a truck, or bitten by a dog while waiting on your doorstep? 

The PocketLab Team has been brainstorming citizen science experiments that users around the world can investigate with us. Join us in the first ever citizen science project that examines the mysteries of what happens to your package when it goes into the mail!

How are we going to do this massive experiment? We will use two new sensors,  PocketLab Voyager and PocketLab Weather currently on sale on Kickstarter, to measure temperature, humidity, altitude, and orientation. PocketLab Voyager and Weather can autonomously record data for months using the on-board memory.

Second, we will conduct this experiment while shipping the PocketLab sensors to Kickstarter customers around the globe. Finally, we will set up a Citizen Science website, where PocketLab users can upload data once they receive their package. Data will be anonymous and participation is of course optional.

Welcome Educators!

PocketLab Curriculum

Use the navigation bar at the top of the page to browse over 40 PocketLab lessons. The lessons are divided by subject and cover many grade levels. 

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User Generated Lesson Plans

Our User Lesson Plans page is a great place to share and download curriculum and ideas generated by our users. Here is a direct link. 


Are you or your students learning to code? We've integrated PocketLab with Scratch so you can create programs and even control LEGO robotics. 

To learn more check out our Scratch forumOur Scratch Getting Started Guide can be found here and a video tutorial can be found here.

Middle School Physical Science - Force and Motion

Next Generation Science Standards covered in this unit: 

MS.PS2.1: Apply Newton’s Third Law to design a solution to a problem involving the motion of two colliding objects.

MS.PS.2: 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.

MS.PS4.1: Use mathematical representations to describe a simple model for waves that includes how the amplitude of a wave is related to the energy in a wave.

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Middle School Physical Science - Pressure and Reactions

Next Generation Science Standards covered in unit: 

MS-PS1-3: Analyze and interpret data on the properties of substances before and after the substances interact to determine if a chemical reaction has occurred.

MS-PS1-4: 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.

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Middle School Physical Science - Energy and Velocity

Next Generation Science Standards covered in unit: 

MS.PS.2: 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.

MS.PS3.1: Construct and interpret graphical displays of data to describe the relationships of kinetic energy to the mass of an object and to the speed of an object.

MS.PS3.5: Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

ETS1.A: Defining and Delimiting an Engineering Problem

ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

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Middle School Physical Science - Electromagnetism

Next Generation Science Standards covered in unit: 

MS.PS2.3: Ask questions about data to determine the factors that affect the strength of electric and magnetic forces.

MS.PS2.5: 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.

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How to add your own lesson plan

-If you want to share your PocketLab lesson plan, select "Post" and then "Blog Post"in the drop down menu.

-You can then write your lesson plan in the blog post itself, attach it as a file to download, or include a link to it. To add pictures or videos attach them to the post and then select "Insert into body" in the options below the attachment of the image/video. 

-When you are finished and ready to post, make sure only "User Lesson Plans" is selected under the "Collections" menu. Then select "Publish" at the bottom of the page.

-If you have any questions about posting a lesson plan, email contact@thepocketlab.com

Investigating the "Spinning Coin" (Euler Disk) Problem

Most everyone has spun a coin on its edge on a table top, and many find the result quite fascinating.  The coin gradually begins to fall on its side while spinning, makes a whirring sound with increasing frequency the longer it spins, and then abruptly stops.  The Swiss physicist, Leonhard Euler, studied this back in the 1700's.  An educational toy, referred to as Euler's disk can now be purchased on-line and in hobby shops specializing in science.  Such disks have been carefully engineered to spin for a much longer time than a coin.
While the physics of a spinning coin is similar to that of a gyroscope, the physics can get very complicated.  Complex mathematical theories have been deducted, under a variety of simplifying assumptions, to explain the fascinating behavior of a spinning coin.  Never-the-less, the spinning coin provides for interesting student discussion at all grade levels.
As the coin spins, its center-of-mass lowers.  This results in a loss of gravitational potential energy, which is converted into kinetic energy of rotation.  There are also dissipative forces including (1) rolling friction that affects the precession rate and (2) air resistance that becomes especially important just before the coin stops spinning.
OK, we can't very well attach PocketLab to a coin, but we can attach it to other larger disks that behave much like a coin.  The wood disk shown in the figure below was found to work very well with PocketLab.  It is about 5" in diameter and 3/4" thick, and was purchased at a local hobby store.  PocketLab was attached to the center of the disk using some Scotch Removable Poster Tape. The Z-axis is perpendicular to the face of the wood disk, while the X-axis and Y-axis lie on a plane parallel to the face of the wood disk.
Wood Disk on Edge
PocketLab was set to provide angular velocity measurements at the highest rate permitted by the device running the PocketLab app.  The magnetic field was zeroed, and the wood disk was given a spin on a level surface.  The video below was obtained from the PocketLab app and shows the X, Y, and Z angular velocity vs. time graphs superimposed on a movie of the spinning disk.
Another movie, taken with an iPhone in SLO-MO mode, makes it much easier to study the motion of the spinning disk.  The movie appears below.
A graph of X, Y, and Z angular velocity from one run of the experiment is shown in the figure below.  The graph was created in Excel from data provided by the PocketLab app.
Graph of Spinning Wood Disk
The green curve shows how the rate of precession slows down as time progresses.  The red and blue curves show the speed-up of the wobbling that occurs as time progresses.  The horizontal portion of the red curve at the bottom left of the graph is created when the Y angular velocity exceeds the 2000 degrees/sec limit of the PocketLab.  The spinning stops abruptly at approximately 11.2 seconds into the movie.
What a great exercise for students to perform with PocketLab!  Set up, data collection, and entry-level discussion can easily be accomplished in one class period.