PocketLab Maker Kit Guidelines

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Here you will find guidelines for the investigations you can do with the PocketLab Maker Kit.

Currently we have in-depth, step-by-step instructions for two activities, the PocketLab Maker Cart, and the Magnetic Minesweeper Lab. More in-depth instructions for the other activities are coming soon, but for now, see the guidelines below and stay tuned for updates. 



PocketLab Maker Cart

See the full step-by-step guide here



PocketLab Smart Rubber Band and Dynamics Cart



Magnetometer Minesweeper

See the full step-by-step guide here 



Newton's Second Law: Cart and Pulley

Follow the curriculum guide here 

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit:

  1. Build the PocketLab cart shown in the PocketLab Maker Cart instructions.
  2. Clip the binder clip to the edge of a table. Don’t fold the metal pieces of the binder clip back, leave them hanging off the edge of the table.
  3. Feed the string through the metal pieces of the binder clip. Attach one end of the string to the PocketLab cart. Place the cart on the table. Attach the other end of the string to a small weight. Let the small weight hang off the edge of the table.
  4. The binder clip will act as a pulley to guide the string as it pulls the cart.



How do you Measure Weight with just a Plastic Bag

Follow the curriculum guide here



Ratios and Proportions with a Plastic Bag?

Follow the curriculum guide here


Take a hike in Altitude

Follow the curriculum guide here 



Simple Pendulum Motion

Follow the curriculum guide here

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit:

  1. Unfold the folding ruler to its full length.
  2. Lay the ruler flat and velcro or tape the PocketLab so it is flush with the end of the ruler opposite the end with the hole. The PocketLab should take up about three of the folding panels on the ruler.
  3. Hold the panel of the ruler opposite the PocketLab. The “hinge” on the 1 inch mark will give you your longest pendulum. Swing the PocketLab like a pendulum about the 1 inch “hinge.”
  4. You can change the length of the pendulum by folding the ruler to different “hinges” closer and closer to the PocketLab at the bottom.
  5. Using the acceleration graph, investigate how changing the length of the pendulum affects the period of the pendulum.
  6. For a better pendulum, use the two magnets as a counter balance to the PocketLab. Tape them to the opposite side of the ruler.


What is temperature?

Follow the curriculum guide here



Saving Energy with Curtains

Follow the curriculum guide here



The Great Soup Can Race!

Follow the curriculum guide here



Bungee Jumping

Follow the curriculum guide here

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit:

  1. Daisy chain the three colorful rubber bands together. This will be your “bungee cord.”
  2. Loop one end of the rubber band bungee cord through one of the attachments on the PocketLab’s protective silicone case, if you have one.

    If you don’t have a protective case, there are two attachments on either side of the PocketLab directly underneath the screws to the backplate. Attach the bungee cord to the PocketLab in one of two ways: 
    i) Loop a paperclip through one of the attachments and then loop the rubber band bungee cord to the paper clip.
    ii) Loop the rubber band bungee cord directly to the attachment. To do this, first remove the backplate with a small screwdriver. Next, loop the rubber band through the attachment when the backplate is removed. Finally, screw the backplate back on the PocketLab.

  3. Tape a doll or action figure to the PocketLab. This will be your “jumper.” A heavy doll or action figure is best. To add weight, tape pennies to the jumper. (For an extra challenge, design and build your own jumper out of cardboard and other household materials).
  4. Attach the bungee cord to the edge of a table, dresser, shelf, etc. Measure the acceleration of the jumper as it takes the plunge!
  5. Make adjustments to your setup by changing the weight of the jumper, the number of rubber bands, the height of the jump, the location of the jump, etc., to make the jump both safe and fun for your jumper.



What is a magnetometer?

Follow the curriculum guide



Trigonometry and the Angle of an Incline Plane

Follow the curriculum guide here 

For a video demonstration, click here



Ceiling Fan in Winter

Follow the curriculum guide here



The Angular Rotation Game

Follow the curriculum guide here



A Spinning Figure Skater and Angular Momentum

Follow the curriculum guide here



Moments of Inertia and the Physics of a Rotating Book

Follow the curriculum guide here

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit

  1. Use the cardboard box that the PocketLab Maker Kit was shipped in as your “book.”
  2. Tape the PocketLab to the inside center of the box. Orient the PocketLab as shown in the curriculum diagram.
  3. Rotate the “book” about each axis of the book as shown in the curriculum.
  4. Observe the differences in the moment of inertia as the “book” rotates about each axis by measuring the changes in the angular velocity.



The Angular Velocity of Rolling Object at Different Inclines

Follow the curriculum guide here



Measuring Speed and Graphing Position versus Time

Follow the curriculum guide here (Lessons 1 and 3)

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit

  1. Build the PocketLab cart shown in the PocketLab Maker Cart instructions. 
  2. Using the three magnets and a ruler or measuring tape, design a procedure to measure the speed of the cart over a short distance.
  3. Test your procedure for measuring speed in two ways:

    i) Push the cart at a constant speed with as little acceleration as possible. 
    ii)Power the cart with a rubber band, as shown in the PocketLab Maker Cart instructions.

  4. Did you notice a difference in the data you collected between Test A and Test B?
  5. Explain how your procedure is related to the definition of speed and why you were able to estimate the speed of the cart with your procedure in Test A and Test B.
  6. See if you can answer the other “Analysis” questions from the two lessons in the PocketLab Curriculum.



Crash Cushion Investigation:

Follow the curriculum guide here 

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit:

  1. Build the PocketLab Maker cart. See instructions here: http://support.thepocketlab.co...uilding-instructions
  2. Read through the procedures in the curriculum.
  3. Conduct the Balloon Crash Cushion investigation described below:

Balloon Crash Cushion
Before designing a custom crash cushion, use the balloon in the kit as a cushion to get some ideas for your design.

  1. Collect data from a control crash as described in the procedures of the curriculum.
  2. Blow up the balloon all the way, but don’t tie it off. Close the balloon by clipping the end with the binder clip.
  3. Crash your cart into the fully inflated balloon and record the acceleration data at impact. Conduct at least five trials.
  4. Deflate the balloon so it is about halfway inflated by releasing some air with the binder clip.
  5. Crash your cart into the balloon again and record the acceleration data at impact. Conduct at least five trials.
  6. Deflate the balloon so it is about one-quarter inflated by releasing more air with the binder clip.
  7. Crash your cart into the balloon again and record the acceleration data at impact. Conduct at least five trials.
  8. Which version of the balloon was the best crash cushion? Why? Was it different than what you expected?

Design your own Crash Cushion
Thinking about what you learned after testing the different balloon crash cushions, design and build your own crash cushion by following the procedures in the curriculum.



PocketLab Earthquake Machine

Curriculum guide is coming soon, but read about the activity on our blog by clicking here

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit:

  1. Attach the PocketLab to the top of an empty box (the PocketLab box will work if you haven’t already used it for the PocketLab Maker Cart) and lay it flat on a table.
  2. Attach one of the colorful rubber bands to one end of the box.
  3. Attach the other end of the rubber band to the string.
  4. Loop the other end of the string around a pencil/straw or some type of spool.
  5. As you rotate the pencil/straw/spool, the string will pull on the rubber band. The friction between the table and the box will hold the box in place. The rubber band will stretch and build up elastic potential energy while trying to move the box. Eventually the box will shift suddenly and the elastic potential energy in the rubber band will transfer to the kinetic energy of the moving box.
  6. Measure this change in movement with the acceleration graph.
  7. How does this procedure model an Earthquake?
  8. Change the surface that the box has to move across. This will change the amount of friction holding the box in place. Use the sandpaper in the maker kit to model greater friction.
  9. How does the change in friction affect the model? How is the acceleration of the moving box affected? What does this tell you about how the change in friction affects the elastic potential energy in the rubber band and the kinetic energy of the moving box? What does this tell you about different types of Earthquakes and fault lines?



How to build a Seismometer

Follow the curriculum guide here

Make it with the PocketLab Maker Kit:

To make a simpler version of the seismograph from the curriculum link, follow the procedures below:

  1. Attach one of the magnets to the string.
  2. Hang the string from the edge of a table to create a pendulum.
  3. Place the PocketLab directly underneath the magnet.
  4. Observe the period of the pendulum/seismograph with the magnetic field graph. Allow the pendulum/seismograph to settle.
  5. Try different things to get a significant reading from the seismograph. Try jumping next to the seismograph, banging the table, walking by it, etc.
  6. Can you tell the difference between a dog/cat walking by the seismograph and a person walking by? What about a person walking normally versus tip-toeing?
  7. How can you use the seismograph to tell if your little sibling snuck into your room?



ScratchX Visual Programming and PocketLab on Windows 10

For instructions using PocketLab with Scratch follow this link to our Scratch forum



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Robert Douthitt
Director of Curriculum and Community Engagement
thepocketlab.com

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