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Free Download for Climate Change Investigations

To help science and STEM educators teach students about the importance of climate change, we are offering four free inquiry investigations focused on climate change.

The investigations available in the zip file include:

Inquiry investigations include a preliminary student activity, extensive teacher information, suggested researchable questions, and sample data.

In addition, we offer a full range of experiments for all grade levels in our renewable energy lab books, including Renewable Energy with Vernier, Investigating Wind Energy, and Investigating Solar Energy. As part of our brainstorming process, we grouped several activities from these and other Vernier lab books into a shared google doc.

If you would like more information about probeware-related climate science activities, sign up to receive updates.

How to Collect Data from a Fidget Spinner and a Photogate

Animated GIF of fidget spinner spinning

By Dave Vernier

Like most people, I have heard the buzz about “fidget spinners”, so I could not resist buying one and taking some data with it. Here is a graph of data collected using Logger Pro, LabQuest Mini, and a Photogate.

Graph of a fidget spinner slowing down
A fidget spinner slowing down

To set up the experiment, I placed the fidget spinner on a LabQuest Mini so that the spokes trigger the photogate as the spinner spins.

Experiment setup with Photogate, LabQuest Mini, and fidget spinner

I opened the Pendulum Timer.cmbl file found in Experiment Files > Probes & Sensors > Photogates, which is included with every copy of Logger Pro. I chose the pendulum experiment file because I wanted to measure the time from the leading edge of one of the three spokes to the leading edge of the next spoke and wanted to skip the hole on each spoke.

The graph shows the period, which in this case is proportional to the inverse of the angular speed of the spinner.

Other things you could graph:

  • The angular speed of the spinner as a function of time—use that to determine the angular acceleration of the spinner to estimate how long it will spin from any starting speed.
  • Peak speeds as you start the spinner with different techniques—what technique gives the highest angular velocity?

There are lots of good discussion of the science of fidget spinners on the internet. Here are two articles by Rhett Allain, author of Geek Physics, and a 3D-printed photogate mount Steve Dickie designed for collecting data from fidget spinners.

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