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Back-to-School Experiments to Kick-Start Your School Year

As we gear up to welcome students back to the classroom, it’s the perfect time to strategically introduce (or reintroduce) the fundamental principles of data collection. No matter the subject, understanding how to collect, analyze, and interpret data is not only key to fostering good inquiry, it’s also a fun way to spark engagement in students as they come back to class from summer break.

We’re sharing our favorite back-to-school science experiments that use some of our most popular sensors, including the Go Direct® Temperature Probe, the Go Direct Conductivity Probe, and the Go Direct Motion Detector. Give these a try to get your students moving, mixing, measuring, and observing in the classroom this fall!


Energy in Food

We like starting the year with this experiment because it’s really easy for students to connect with the ideas. Thinking of food as energy may not be a totally new concept, but learning how to quantify it probably is. Plus, they get to light something on fire, which is always a sure-fire way to get students on board!

In this experiment, students use the Go Direct Temperature Probe to determine the energy content of food by burning a portion of it and capturing the heat released to a known amount of water. The energy content of the food is the amount of heat produced by the combustion of 1 gram of a substance.

This experiment includes the following objectives:

  • Measure temperature changes.
  • Monitor the energy given off by food as it burns.
  • Determine and compare the energy content of different foods.

Additional Back-to-School Biology Experiments


Electrolytes in Energy Drinks”

This is a great experiment to start off the year as it not only teaches students important principles of chemical bonding, but it also connects STEM learning to real-world contexts and applications. You can easily engage students with a discussion of athletics and hydration before moving into the particulars of chemical data. 

To conduct this experiment, students use the Go Direct Conductivity Probe to analyze the components of a popular sports drink used by athletes to replenish electrolytes and water lost during physical activity.

This experiment includes the following objectives:

  • Write equations for the dissociation of compounds in water.
  • Use a conductivity probe to measure the conductivity of solutions.
  • Determine which molecules or ions are responsible for the conductivity of solutions.

Additional Back-to-School Chemistry Experiments


Graph Matching

This beginning-of-the-year experiment gets students active and moving, doesn’t require a lot of extra equipment, and covers important fundamentals of kinematics. 

To conduct this experiment, students use the Go Direct Motion Detector to plot a real-time graph of their motion as they move around the classroom. 

This experiment includes the following objectives:

  • Analyze the motion of a student walking across the room.
  • Predict, sketch, and test position vs. time kinematics graphs.
  • Predict, sketch, and test velocity vs. time kinematics graphs.

Additional Back-to-School Physics Experiments

However you choose to start the new school year, Vernier wishes you a warm welcome back to your classrooms and labs. And whether you’re already familiar with our science data-collection tools or just getting started, we’re here to support you however we can.

Check out our Back-to-School Essentials webinar to get a quick but comprehensive overview of Vernier’s top six sensors, including best practices, tips, tricks, and teaching strategies.

Browse more than 1,000 experiments in biology, chemistry, engineering/robotics, and physics to discover new applications for your sensors or to get inspired for lesson planning. 

Questions? We’re happy to help! Reach out to our technical support team for training or troubleshooting at or 888-837-6437.

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