Introduction: Physics Car Track With Makey Makey
This guide is to discover how the Makey Makey can be used as a timing gate for the classic physics cart on a ramp activity.
Makey Makey Classic, track (or cardboard), alligator clips, conductive tape, car, long wire
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Step 1: Ramp
Find a ramp material. I used cardboard - maker's best friend. (this will allow multiple sizes of cars on the ramp) Could also use a car race track.
Want to try to have long single pieces so that students don't have to spend time making the ramp.
Step 2: Add Timing Steps
This step is to add the strips across the ramp and connect the alligator clips to them. Using multiple strips allows for a start and multiple distances and a stop option - could use the front side and the back side connectors for more timing function. Measure out the distance each strip is from the first strip - this will be used in your program and also in the analysis of your data.
If you suggest mounting the Makey Makey in the middle of the ramp you only need a few longer clips - using multiple alligator clips.
Step 3: Connect Them All Together
Clip the other ends of the alligator clips to the Makey Makey - might need to tape or clip in place on the edge.
In this example, I have a timing connection at start (at the green tape) and 10 cm, 30 cm, 50 cm and 70 cm.
Step 4: Ground on the Car
Adding a long wire from the ground on the Makey Makey to the car and touching the ramp for each of the circuits to be complete.
With multiple options for cars - mounting will be a little challenge for the students to discover the best way. This will be a trial and error for the students.
Step 5: Programming
Now to program the data collection. Since the distance is step up from the beginning that can be coded into the project before completion - into a list. The time is based on a timer and key pressed - also collected in a list. Below is an example code - feely free to remix for your projects.
A familiarity with lists might help.
Step 6: Analysis
Using the data - Distance and Time - students can now graph this and use it to look at velocity and acceleration of the car on the ramp.