This paper provides a first example of experiments in this column using smartphones as experimental tools. More examples concerning this special tool will follow in the next issues. The differences between a smartphone and a “regular” cell phone are that smartphones offer more advanced computing ability and connectivity. Smartphones combine the functions of personal digital assistants (PDAs) and cell phones.

1.
Corresponding ideas were previously published in
P.
Vogt
,
J.
Kuhn
, and
S.
Gareis
, “
Beschleunigungssensoren von Smart-phones: Möglichkeiten und Beispielexperimente zum Einsatz im Physikunterricht
” (translated as “Acceleration sensors of smartphones: Possibilities and examples of experiments with smartphones in physics lessons”)
Praxis der Naturwissenschaften — Physik in der Schule
(translated as Practices of Sciences — Physics in Schools)
7
/
60
,
15
23
(
Oct. 2011
).
4.
M.
Glück
,
MEMS in der Mikrosystemtechnik: Aufbau, Wirkprinzipien, Herstellung und Praxiseinsatz Mikroelektromechanischer Schaltungen und Sensorsysteme
(translated as MEMS in Microsystem Technology: Structure, Principles of Effects, Production and Practical Insert of Micro-Electromechanical Circuits and Sensor Systems) (
Vieweg+Teubner
,
Wiesbaden
,
2005
).
5.
P.
Schnabel
, “
Elektronik-Kompendium
” (translated as “Electronic Compendium”) (Keyword: MEMS- Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems), www.elektronik-kompendium.de/sites/bau/1503041.htm (temporary web address).
6.

This is difficult to understand for pupils because they perceive the exact opposite: At first, the device suspends motionless from a string and then falls, accelerating to the floor. This is why they can only understand the measured acceleration process if they have previously been instructed on the way acceleration sensors function. In addition, the learners' previous experience of being pressed to the floor in a lift accelerating downwards, and the resulting conclusion that one is weightless in a free-falling lift, can also help them understand the process.

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