10 Simple Projects That Harness the Power of Google Science Journal

Education Science
“I’m not playing around — this is for science!”

Google released their Science Journal app at Maker Faire Bay Area this year, allowing you to harness your smartphone’s built-in sensors to conduct, graph, and document science experiments. And today, we’re excited to unveil 10 new projects with Google for Maker Camp that walk you through Science Journal’s many possibilities.

Measure the motion required to churn homemade ice cream…

There are incredible things that happen around us everyday — sound waves coming from a song, momentum as you push on a swing, the changing light of a sunset. With an Android phone, and some simple supplies, you can start tapping into the data that those actions produce. Start measuring the world around you and check out Maker Camp’s entire Science Journal collection:

Dancing Oobleck


Oobleck is a non-Newtonian fluid that has both liquid and solid properties. When subject to loud sounds at certain frequencies, it even moves! In this project you will make your own Oobleck, and then measure how many decibels it takes to make it move around and appear to come to life.

Door Monitor


Build a holder and accessories for your phone to turn it into a system capable of tracking how many times people enter and exit a door.

“Egg” Drop


This is a new take on the classic egg drop. Instead of an egg, you will drop your phone, and graph the forces it experiences through various falls. How will different phone-cradling techniques affect the perceived impact?

Fluid Translucency


How much light does different fluid absorb? Does more light pass through soda than through orange juice? Find a variety of liquids, test them out, and then record your measurements.

Maker Camp Flag


Using the app and the sound of your voice, you and your friends can make a flag that is as unique to your group as your fingerprints.

Maker Cards


Make trading cards based on the abilities of each of your friends.

Plastic Bag Ice Cream


If you shake cream and ice long enough, it turns into ice cream. But just how much shaking, and for how long? Make your own ice cream and record how the amount of shaking affects the final product.

Playground Physics


Measure the forces created by playground equipment that makes them so much fun.

String Phone


Test to see how different variables can alter the performance of a string phone. Will the sound waves transmit better when the string is tighter or looser?

Tracking the Sun


The length of daylight and brightness of the sky varies throughout the year. In this experiment, you’ll measure and record how the light from the sun varies over time.

Additionally, Google recently partnered with the Exploratorium to release a new activity for the Science Journal called Light Instruments, which emits sound based on light intensity. The feature was developed as an accessibility tool that translates a visual graph to an auditory one based on variable frequency. “By implementing a simple sonification that generated tones with frequencies that changed depending on the value of the current data point within the graph’s minimum and maximum, we allowed users to listen to live data and then ‘play back’ graph sonifications of already-recorded data (source code). In short, we translated points on the graph to musical notes!” explains Katie Dektar, Software Engineer on Google’s Making & Science team.

Yes, musical notes! Besides being incredibly helpful for people who cannot use visual graphs, you can also use it as a fun way to design your own light-sensitive musical instruments:

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Sophia is the managing editor of the Make: blog. When she’s not greasing editorial gears, she likes to run, ride, climb, and lift things, and make lo-tech goods like zines, desserts, and altered clothing. @sophiuhcamille

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