PocketLab Maker Kit

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



PocketLab Maker Kit: Cart Building Instructions

PMK Cart 1

The PocketLab Maker Cart

1. You will reuse one of the PocketLab boxes to build the PocketLab Maker Cart. Empty the contents of one of the boxes included in the kit. 

PMK Cart 2

2. Flatten out the folds of the box so the box is flat. 

PMK Cart 3

3. Fold up two of the box flaps so that the box looks like the picture below. Using scissors, cut along the black markings in each of the four corners. Keep the side flap folded over so that you cut through two layers of the box.

PMK Cart 4

4. Cut out the square shown in the picture below. 

PMK Cart 5

5. Cut one of the straws to 4.5 inches in length. Unfold the box flaps. Slide the straw through the seams that you created by cutting the box. 

PMK Cart 6

6. Cut two pieces of the straw to 1.5 inches in length. Slide one piece of straw under each seam on the opposite side of the box. 

PMK Cart 7

7. Slide the wooden dowels through the straws. The straws will serve as the bearings for the cart and the dowels will be the cart axles. 

PMK Cart 8

8. Fold up the front and back of the box. Fold the small flaps so that they are 90 degrees to the front and back walls. Fold the side flaps over the top of the small flaps and then tuck it into the bottom of the box. 

PMK Cart 9PMK Cart 10

9. After you have folded the side flaps, the bottom of the box with the axles should look like the picture below. 

PMK Cart 11

10. Close the top lid. Tape the top lid shut so it does not pop open. 

PMK Cart 12

11. Tape the straw bearings in place. Make sure the straws extend past the outside of the box, so that the wheels do not rub against the box. Slide the red wheels onto the dowel axles as shown. 

PMK Cart 13

12. Your PocketLab Maker Cart should look like the picture below. You can use the PocketLab Maker Cart in this version for many experiments. If you want to turn the PocketLab Maker Cart into a rubber band cart, follow the additional instructions below. 

PMK Cart 14

The PocketLab Rubber Band Cart

13. Cut the loop of one of the colored rubber bands. Tape one end of the rubber band to the top and side of the Maker Cart as shown. 

PMK Cart 15

14. Turn the cart over and lay the rubber band along the bottom of the cart. Make sure that the rubber band comes across to the axle with the cut out underneath it. Cut the rubber band so that you have about 1 inch of length that extends past the wooden dowel. 

PMK Cart 16

15. Use the beige colored rubber bands to add tire treads to the red wheels. Add the rubber bands to the wheels that you will wind with the rubber band. This will help the cart get traction and move faster when the rubber band is released. PMK Cart 17PMK Cart 18

16. You can attach PocketLab to the top of the Maker Cart with tape or to the wheels with the adhesive Velcro strips. 

PMK Cart 19PMK Cart 20PMK Cart 21

17. To propel the cart, wind the rubber band around the rear axle. Hold the wheels until you're ready to release the cart. 

PMK Cart 22

PocketLab Maker Kit: Magnetic Minesweeper Building Instructions

PMK Minesweeper 01

In the Magnetic Minesweeper Lab, you will recreate the classic computer game Minesweeper in real life! Using PocketLab's magnetometer, you will try to discover hidden mines and mark their locations on a grid. You can do this lab with two people to create a Minesweeper competition. One partner hides mines in different grid locations while the other partner tries to locate the mines to not get blown up! 

Magnetic Minesweeper Setup Instructions

1. Print off two copies of the minesweeper grid. Make sure that your printer settings are set to "Actual Size" so that the grid is not scaled. (At the bottom of this post click, next to "attachments," click "show" and download the file titled "Pocketlab_minesweeper.pdf")

2. Using scissors, cut the first grid around the outside of the image. Cut the second grid on the perimeter of the 12 squares. This will cut off part of the graphics so that the second grid will fit inside the Maker Kit box. 

PMK Minesweeper 02PMK Minesweeper 03PMK Minesweeper 04

3. Tape the smaller grid to the inside bottom of the Maker Kit box. 

PMK Minesweeper 05

4. Tape the larger grid to the top cover of the Maker Kit box. You're now ready to investigate the Magnetic Minesweeper Lab! 

Magnetic Minesweeper Lab Instructions

1. Connect the PocketLab sensor and app. Select the Magnetic Field Magnitude from the graph list. 

2. Place a magnet on the top grid of the box in one of the center squares. 

3. Place the PocketLab sensor on the lower left square. 

PMK Minesweeper 06

4. On the PocketLab app screen, press the zero button to calibrate the Magnetic Field Magnitude graph. 

5. Move the PocketLab sensor to different squares and observe how the graph changes. What happens when the sensor gets closer to the magnet? What happens when the sensor moves from the left to the right of the magnet? 

6. Now that you are familiar with the Magnetic Field graph, put the magnet inside the box in the center of one of the squares. Close the lid of the box and then scan over the top grid with the PocketLab sensor. Slowly move the sensor left and right or up and down across the grids. What happens when the PocketLab sensor is on the grid directly on top of the magnet? What happens when you move the PocketLab to the left of squares to the left of the magnet?

PMK Minesweeper 07

7. Have your lab partner, friend, or parent place the magnet to a different grid in the box without you seeing where the magnet is placed. Cover your eyes or turn your head, so that you do not know where the magnet is located. Have your lab partner close the lid.

8. Scan up and down and left to right over the top grid with the PocketLab sensor. Using your observations from earlier, predict where you think the magnet is located. When you have a good prediction, mark an X on the grid where you think the magnet is located.

PMK Minesweeper 08

9. Open up the box and see if your prediction is correct. 

10. Switch roles so that you hide the magnet and your lab partner tries to predict the location. 

11. For a more difficult challenge, place two magnets inside the box and try to find both locations. 

PMK Minesweeper 09PMK Minesweeper 10

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