Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Outdoor Lighting


Street lamps, deck lights, path lighting, and other outdoor lighting make neighborhoods and residences more inviting and useful. But using outdoor lighting when it isn’t necessary is expensive and wasteful. ABC Home Resources makes a variety of home technologies, from outdoor light fixtures to bird feeders to gazebos. ABC is considering making more automated technologies as interest in “smart homes” grows.

As ABC’s newest electrical engineer, your job is to prototype an automated outdoor lighting system. The system should be automated in the sense that the lighting is triggered by actions defined by the user. For instance, the light system might trigger when a certain amount of time has elapsed or when it gets dark outside. You will need to do some research and put some thought into what you feel is the best trigger for the light system.

At your disposal are a variety of Vernier sensors, which you may use as the trigger for the light system, a generic light source (LED, light bulb) to represent the outdoor lighting, and some additional construction materials. Using Logger Pro software or a standalone LabQuest 2, you will connect the trigger sensor and the light source to form your prototype light system. Of course, you will need to show that your light system works as intended and be able to justify the why you chose the particular trigger.

Learning Objectives

  • Supplement classroom instruction of the body’s electrical activity and its effects with a hands-on engineering application.
  • Control devices (e.g., LED or buzzers) based on input from measured physical quantities (e.g., EKG trace).

Reference Experiments

Vernier Lab Book Experiment
Physics with Vernier 29 Light, Brightness, and Distance
Physical Science with Vernier 25 How Bright is the Light
Middle School Science with Vernier 7 Reflectivity of Light

Sensors and Equipment

Additional Materials

  • light bulb/socket (with power supply switch)
  • DC/120 mA lamp
  • green LED (with resistor)
  • red LED (with resistor)

Construction Materials

  • duct tape
  • cardboard
  • felt sheets
  • colored markers

Download Extension

The download includes student instructions, DCU tips, teacher information, and examples in PDF and Microsoft® Word® formats.

Outdoor Lighting

About Engineering Extension Activities

Engineering Extension Activities provide a way to add an engineering component to a Vernier science experiment. Use sensor data and Logger Pro software (or LabQuest 2) to help solve an engineering problem.

See All Engineering Extension Activities »

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