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Middle School Science Balloon Powered Car

Phenomena or Driving Question: Make a vehicle that travels one meter powered only by two balloons

Lesson description:  In this unit of study, Newton’s Laws will be used to explain the forces and motions of objects on Earth and in Space.  This Lesson is the Engineering design project at the end of the unit.

PE’s addressed: MS-PS2-1, MS-PS-2-2, MS-ETS1-1, MS-ETS1-4

This lesson is courtesy of Heather Wygant and Susan Paulsen, Santa Clara, CA

You can find an overview of the lesson here: http://bit.ly/2oeSMvL

And a template for the activity here: http://bit.ly/2p6Oynb

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 - 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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