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Innovative Uses

Hands-On Labs Engage Museum’s Guests at Discovery place

Museum visitors simulate a shark’s ability to detect electric current through use of a Current Probe and Logger Pro.
Museum visitors simulate a shark’s ability to detect electric current through use of a Current Probe and Logger Pro.

For eight years, Tim Pula has created hands-on labs in science centers, including Discovery Place in Charlotte, NC. In 2005, with the support of Vernier consultant Walter Rohr, Tim began using Vernier sensors and Logger Pro software to engage visitors in the exploration of scientific principles. Through these exhibits, visitors can

  • Investigate the ampullae of Lorenzini using a Current Probe attached to a toy shark. Visitors get to “be the shark” by detecting the electric current produced by model fish in the water.
  • Explore the relationship between speed, distance, and time using a toy car, a track, and a Vernier Photogate. Participants learn to convert between m/s and mph.
  • Test the thrust of different propeller arrangements using a Dual-Range Force Sensor mounted behind a sled on bearings.
  • Explore the cost of electrical energy using Watts Up Pro and an array of household items.
  • Measure the speed of the air flowing through a race car carburetor. Explore how the restrictor plates and the level of throttle affect the flow.

“I have sought to incorporate this equipment into classes, demonstrations, and hands-on science activities accessible to all museum guests,” says Tim. “Vernier’s products have allowed us to create guest experiences that are both engaging and give immediate data as feedback. Many of our corporate sponsors have been impressed with the level at which we engage guests using live data collection.”

Tim has created over 20 hands-on activities using Vernier equipment, engaging visitors of ages 2 to 100 years. Learn more about Discovery Place at www.discoveryplace.org

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