Day 38: Holy **** Vernier Data Sharing Rocks

Advanced Physics:

As I explained yesterday, we are working our way through an activity with the phan cart.  The two main objectives are to master making the (kinematic) stack-o-graphs for accelerated motion and to learn to solve constant acceleration problems graphically.   Yesterday when I asked the class to graphically determine the acceleration  from one of the phan cart trials, one (maybe two) group(s) of students realized data was needed from the velocity-time graph. They asked me to provide two points so they could calculate the slope.

The next problem I was planning to ask them to solve was to use the velocity-time graph to determine the change in position during the time interval the cart was out of my hand. (I let it go and then caught it a bit later.)

Last night, after I wrote my post,  I decided to play a bit with a LabQuest 2 and motion detector I brought home.   I knew the LQ2 could share data and set up it’s own wifi, but I had never bothered to really try it in class.  As I was reading some help files from the Vernier site, I learned that the new version of Logger Pro (I’m running has a Data Share feature (found under the File menu).  So I decided to give it a try in my classes.

All that I needed to do was to have each group login and open a browser window. I displayed the URL established under the Data Share option on my Smart board, the students enter it and voila… my data shows up on their screen!  (It could also show up on an iPad, or iPhone…)

At first I was a bit bummed that the graphs were not displayed in Logger Pro, even though that was what I was running, the Data Share analysis tools are not as good as the Logger Pro analysis tools.  BUT, then it occurred to me that this was actually a blessing for this activity, because the students actually had to decide what information was needed and grab the important times and velocities from the v-t graph (I told them they could check it using the x-t graph but they still had to show the work from the v-t) …not just use the Integral feature.

Here is what it looks like on the student screen:



and now a close up:

Screen Shot 2014-10-23 at 10.28.43 AM

It was so easy to set up and the students really liked having the graphs right in front of them.  I loved that they had to determine what data to gather rather than one group asking for the data and then the others just using it.

I definitely need to play with all these features more.

So yeah, the Data Sharing ROCKS, thanks Vernier! And yeah,   I WANT MORE LABQUEST 2’S.

General Physics:

We WB’ed the mirror experiment and the students now see that the Thin Lens equation is actually he Thin Lens/Mirror Equation.  It was pretty cool to see that they could make use of another experiment from their journal to complete this activity.  Tomorrow we WB a few curved mirror problem.



Day 37: The Phan Cart of Physics and Logger Pro saves the day

Advanced Physics:

Yesterday the students took a formative assessment on kinematic graphs.  I used that to put together some teams that the students worked in as we checked the predictions for the 7 different situations involving the motion of a phan cart (OK… a dynamics cart with a fan assembly). Here are this handout with the situations.Physics Phan Cart Phun.


The fan assembly I use is from Pasco and I have the pulse assembly. This allows  the length of time the fan is on or a delay before it starts to be used.

There are two main objectives for this activity.  The obvious one is to gain more practice thinking about a situation involving accelerated motion and to accurately predict the kinematic graphs.  The second one (and REALLY IMPORTANT) is to use it as an introduction to solving constant acceleration problems using a v-t graph.  This is a truly powerful problem solving approach that I want my students to master.  So, after we check the graphs, I ask an extra question or two… “Use the v-t graph to determine the acceleration”, ” Use the v-t graph to determine the change in position during this time interval”.


General Physics:

We are almost finished with our optics unit.  All we have to determine a mathematical method (equation) that can be used to predict image characteristics.  We saw the types of images formed by converging lenses is the same  converging mirrors, and likewise for diverging lenses and mirrors.


The transition was great for this because one student asked “Does this mean the Thin Lens equation is really the Thin Lens/Mirror Equation?”.  Well, let’s find out.

The plan for today was to use the Thin Lens Applet to gather data for a converging or diverging mirror and test to see if the thin lens equation hold true for mirrors also.  BUT the computers I have would not run the Java so… Logger Pro to the rescue.  I quickly generated six different data sets (object distance and a calculated column for image distance).  Each student worked independently and tomorrow will team up to compare how they made it linear (by trying/making the same modification we did with the thin lens) and whiteboarding.