A place for insight, inspiration, and experiments.
Want to know the latest goings-on at Vernier? Check out the newest edition of The Caliper for a roundup of product announcements; academic journal and media mentions; upcoming conferences, webinars, and workshops; and other news.
Vernier offers more than 1,000 experiments in biology, chemistry, engineering/robotics, and physics that can help you inspire students and integrate data-collection technology into your STEM classes. We will be featuring at least one of our experiments in each edition of The Caliper.
Vernier offers more than 1,000 experiments in biology, chemistry, engineering/robotics, and physics that can help you inspire students and integrate data-collection technology into your science courses. We will be featuring at least one of our experiments in each edition of The Caliper.
Time waits for no one when it comes to workforce readiness. Put another way, it is critical to equip today’s students with the skills they will need for tomorrow’s careers, especially in STEM fields.
In 1984, mullet haircuts were the rage, Purple Rain topped the Billboard charts, and a loaf of bread cost less than 75 cents. In addition, “just 8 percent of households had a personal computer, the World Wide Web was still five years away, and cellphones were enormous,” according to The Washington Post.
The garden at the Paris Gibson Education Center, an alternative high school in Great Falls, Montana, is much more than a spot where plants grow.
Reliable and high-speed internet connectivity is a must-have for effective online learning. However, only about 65 percent of the population in rural tribal areas has broadband access, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, compared with 99 percent of the population in urban areas.
Note: Jacqueline Keeler is a Diné/Dakota writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has appeared in The Nation, NBC News, The New York Times, and many other publications. Keeler has been interviewed on PRI's The World, BBC, MSNBC, and Democracy Now.
What if there were a way to set students up for STEM success starting in kindergarten and going all the way through graduate school?
A lack of diversity persists in the higher education pipeline for STEM jobs, especially in fields like computing and engineering, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.
Teaching students about climate change can be challenging; it’s a broad, interdisciplinary topic, and it’s not always part of an established curriculum. However, teaching students about the impact of climate change can be relatively simple.
Climate change is a global problem that requires global solutions, but your students don’t have to travel far to learn about ways to fight climate change, such as energy conservation. In fact, students can learn about these topics from their very own homes.
Although climate change is a complex topic, many free videos and documentaries are available to help educators teach students about climate change and how it impacts their everyday lives.
Today’s college students are highly engaged, equipped with new digital technologies, and committed to tackling the world’s biggest challenges—including climate change. These digital natives, social media experts, tinkerers, creators, and activists are organizing student-led programs to encourage sustainable behaviors across college campuses. One such program is EcoReps at the Seattle campus of the University of Washington (UW).
In August, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (a body of the United Nations) released a report that the UN secretary-general described as “a code red for humanity.”
Boosting STEM exposure, opportunities, and engagement all go a long way in creating STEM-literate students and supporting the next generation of Latinx STEM leaders. But, outside of the classroom or lab, where can students go to receive STEM support? And where can they learn more about potential careers and research environments they could pursue in the field?
Supporting Educator Diversity in Today’s Classrooms: Three Teacher Preparation Programs to Check Out
With young Latinx learners representing a large percentage of the student population, more Latinx educators are needed in today’s classrooms. The Latinx student population is expected to continue to grow, and “research shows that schools and districts with teachers that reflect the cultural, racial, and/or linguistic backgrounds of Latinx students are better equipped to support them,” according to the education policy report Paving the Way for Latinx Teachers: Recruitment and Preparation to Promote Educator Diversity from New America.
National Hispanic Heritage Month offers a great opportunity for students to learn about the many Latinx contributions to STEM.
Latinx scientists have made a measurable impact in the scientific community. With September 15 marking the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, now is a great time to introduce students to notable Latinx scientists, while offering hands-on investigations
like thesethat connect to their areas of research.
Nicole Hernandez Hammer wears many hats—she is a sea level researcher, a climate change expert, and an environmental justice advocate. And, as part of this overarching work, she is focused on the important and timely issue of how climate change disproportionately impacts communities of color.
If nothing else, the last 18 months during this worldwide pandemic have demonstrated the fragility and limitations of our education system. We asked more of teachers as they addressed a broadening range of student needs during an exceedingly difficult time that was amplified by gross inequities in technology for teaching and learning.
The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) provides a powerful framework for strengthening science literacy and helping students think and act as real-world scientists. However, as OpenSciEd Executive Director Jim Ryan says, the new standards ask teachers and students to conduct themselves differently in the science classroom, which can pose challenges.
When the global pandemic forced the closure of college science departments across the nation, Dr. Kari van Zee, Dr. Ryan Mehl, Dr. Rick Cooley, and graduate student Phil Zhu—department faculty and research members at Oregon State University—had to think fast. They were faced with the unprecedented challenge of changing their hands-on senior-level research methods course so it could support remote and hybrid models of learning.
For over a year now it has been undoubtedly challenging to deliver the hands-on learning experiences that are so important to helping students make meaningful scientific connections. Even as next school year will likely begin under more normal circumstances, new challenges will need to be addressed.
What is three-dimensional learning? How do we develop and change how we teach as science educators? How do we get students to do the heavy lifting? And, how do we ensure that students become active—rather than passive—learners?
A Call to Action for Science Education, a comprehensive report published by the National Academies of Sciences, outlines the need for equitable access to quality science learning experiences that help enable students to develop the deep scientific literacy skills and understanding they need for personal and professional success.
This year marks 40 years of business for Vernier Software & Technology—a true milestone, to say the least. The company now serves a countless number of educators and students around the world, has more than 100 employees, and partners with leading organizations in education and science. But Dave and Christine Vernier never imagined the company would become what it is today when it all started back in the summer of 1981.
Educators are always looking for ways to incorporate new technology into their teaching. It’s precisely for this reason that in the late seventies our co-founder Dave Vernier started tinkering with programming using the new Apple II computer, which was released in 1977 and gave way to the widespread use of computers in homes, schools, and offices.
Based on the sheer amount of marketing emails and sales calls received on a weekly—or even daily—basis, district leaders can surely attest to the seemingly countless number of technologies on the market today. But just how big is the edtech industry?
It’s true that Dave and Christine Vernier started the company in 1981 to help share Dave’s educational software programs with other educators, but he was able to do that this particular summer because he struggled to find a second job in between school years.
As the Science and STEM Resource Teacher for the Kailua-Kalāheo Complex Area in Hawaii, Ryan Kagami was used to helping teachers find new ways to engage students with science and math. But helping with NGSS integration was a far bigger challenge.
The robotics program that Lee founded doesn’t just set students up for success in college. It gives them valuable experience applying what they know to solve real-world problems.
Ford won a 2020 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award for a project that challenged his pre-engineering students to work through the engineering design process to develop and build a class set of infrared photogates. Each student-designed photogate used a microcontroller coupled with an organic LED display as the interface, as well as an infrared source and detector circuits.
The Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) was founded nearly 14 years ago to help Asian-heritage professionals in the scientific and engineering fields achieve their full potential. Through its rich programming and events, it has continued to support these individuals in a number of ways, including helping members celebrate their Asian heritage, advocate for diversity on campus and in the workplace, and give back to the community.
For environmental engineer Camille Rivera, protecting the environment has always been a top priority. She is from Puerto Rico and growing up on an island taught her how big an impact events such as hurricanes can have on the environment.
The Teacher-Friendly Guide™ to Climate Change, a textbook released by the Paleontological Research Institution (PRI), was published with an ambitious goal: to get into the hands of every public high school science teacher in the country.
Climate change is the cause of a number of devastating consequences facing our planet. However, one often overlooked problem keeping the environmental science community busy right now is ocean acidification.
Introducing renewable energy concepts to students is essential when teaching them how to combat climate change. Learning about renewable energy helps students apply principles in engineering, technology, and science to cultivate sustainable energy resources for the world.
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing our world. Combating this crisis will require a truly collaborative effort at every level if our society is going to ensure a healthy and vibrant planet for generations to come.
Tyson Vrbas is always seeking out new and interesting ways to engage his middle school students in robotics, a subject he has now taught for 20 years at Manhattan Catholic Schools in Manhattan, Kansas. When he learned about the Vernier Engineering Award, he wanted his submission to demonstrate student collaboration on a robotics project that also connected to the real world.
Have you noticed more greenery such as grass and trees planted around—and even on top of—new buildings in urban areas? Engineers and architects are leading these efforts to help combat a scientific phenomenon called the heat island.
Last March, when the pandemic forced so many educators to pivot to remote teaching overnight, everything changed. There were myriad logistical issues to deal with, but one of the most important things that changed was the ability to gauge how well students were engaged with their studies.
Each year, we partner with NSTA to give out the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards to educators who are using data-collection technology in engaging, innovative ways in the classroom.
Assessments could be intimidating and didn’t take into account the ways students had practiced communicating their understanding in the preceding lessons. The way assessment was implemented often felt exclusionary for some students, especially those who struggled with historically limited modalities of teaching.
According to author and education expert Page Keeley, formative assessment is one of the most effective strategies for improving the opportunity for all students to learn. This teaching tool gives educators valuable information to design their lessons to meet their students’ needs. However, some teachers may struggle with how to use formative assessment as a vital part of their everyday instruction.
Formative assessment can provide a powerful way to help science educators drive their instruction and, in turn, help students succeed. But, what exactly does this look like in today’s educational environment? How can educators leverage technology and incorporate hands-on science as part of the assessment process?
We spoke with four students at Montgomery Blair High School—a STEM magnet school in Silver Spring, Maryland—about their studies, their STEM passions, and how they are working to change STEM for the better.
Sharon Delesbore started her career in coaching, then decided to step into the biology classroom in honor of the teacher that changed her life. As she worked her way into leadership roles, she noticed less and less diversity. She decided that she was going to change that.
Dr. Shamaria Engram made history by becoming the first Black woman to graduate from the University of South Florida’s Computer Science and Engineering doctoral program. Getting a PhD wasn’t her original plan; Dr. Engram had hoped she’d become an FBI agent.
We had the opportunity to chat with OABSE President Kevin Bacon, who believes that equity in education is so important because rooting out the systemic inequitable practices within public and private education is foundational to the survival of our democracy.
Dr. Calvin Mackie, the first Black tenured engineering professor at Tulane University, understands the opportunity education offers historically underserved youth.
“The more hands-on engineering experiences students receive at a younger age, the more they’ll understand that STEM careers are accessible to them,” said Bayonet. “I know I personally would have flourished if I had this type of learning opportunity and exposure to technology when I was in elementary or middle school.”