Curricular Unit: Android Acceleration Application

Contributed by: IMPART RET Program, College of Information Science & Technology, University of Nebraska

Photo shows the tall Freefall amusement park ride at Six Flags Over Georgia where riders are rapidly accelerated due to the forces of gravity. The ride has since been closed and removed.
Many engineering designs rely on the understanding of acceleration due to gravity.
copyright
Copyright © 2006 WillMcC, Wikipedia {PD} http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Freefall_at_SFOG.jpg

Summary

In the first of two sequential lessons, students create mobile apps that collect data from an Android device's accelerometer and then store that data to a database. This lesson provides practice with MIT's App Inventor software and culminates with students writing their own apps for measuring acceleration. In the second lesson, students are given an app for an Android device, which measures acceleration. They investigate acceleration by collecting acceleration vs. time data using the accelerometer of a sliding Android device. Then they use the data to create velocity vs. time graphs and approximate the maximum velocity of the device.
This engineering curriculum meets Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

Engineering Connection

Lessons and activities in this unit support the teaching of basic engineering education, especially engineering mechanics and program/system design. The computer science-based first lesson engages students to design pseudo-code and real code to address a given problem. Computer software engineers at companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Google have used their programming knowledge to design applications for mobile devices, similar to the work students do in this unit. The second lesson, in which students design an experiment to gather and analyze data related to acceleration, fits into the engineering mechanics realm, which serves to bridge the gap between theory and application. Through engineering mechanics, especially the concepts used by mechanical engineers, students can analyze and predict the acceleration and deformation of an object due to forces, also known as stresses. Engineering mechanics is based largely on Newton's laws of motion.

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Educational Standards

Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.

All 100,000+ K-12 STEM standards covered in TeachEngineering are collected, maintained and packaged by the Achievement Standards Network (ASN), a project of D2L (www.achievementstandards.org).

In the ASN, standards are hierarchically structured: first by source; e.g., by state; within source by type; e.g., science or mathematics; within type by subtype, then by grade, etc.

  • Use a model to describe that animals' receive different types of information through their senses, process the information in their brain, and respond to the information in different ways. (Grade 4) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Graph exponential and logarithmic functions, showing intercepts and end behavior, and trigonometric functions, showing period, midline, and amplitude. (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • The design process includes defining a problem, brainstorming, researching and generating ideas, identifying criteria and specifying constraints, exploring possibilities, selecting an approach, developing a design proposal, making a model or prototype, testing and evaluating the design using specifications, refining the design, creating or making it, and communicating processes and results. (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Established design principles are used to evaluate existing designs, to collect data, and to guide the design process. (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data and collect, organize, and display relevant data to answer them (Grades Pre-K - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Select and use appropriate statistical methods to analyze data (Grades Pre-K - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Develop and evaluate inferences and predictions that are based on data (Grades Pre-K - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications. A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators, should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results. (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Make inferences and justify conclusions from sample surveys, experiments, and observational studies. (Grade 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
  • Recognize creativity, imagination, and a good knowledge base are all needed to advance the work of science and engineering (Grades 9 - 12) Details... View more aligned curriculum... Do you agree with this alignment?
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Unit Schedule

Contributors

Scott Burns, Brian Sandall

Copyright

© 2013 by Regents of the University of Colorado; original © 2012 University of Nebraska-Omaha

Supporting Program

IMPART RET Program, College of Information Science & Technology, University of Nebraska

Acknowledgements

The contents of this digital library curriculum were developed as a part of the RET in Engineering and Computer Science Site on Infusing Mobile Platform Applied Research into Teaching (IMPART) Program at the University of Nebraska-Omaha under National Science Foundation RET grant number CNS 1201136. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policies of the National Science Foundation, and you should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Last modified: March 23, 2017

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