Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

2014 Vernier Engineering Contest Winners

Vernier Software & Technology sponsors a contest for high school and college teachers to showcase creative uses of Vernier sensors to introduce engineering concepts or engineering practices.

Winner – College

Developing a Biomechanics Course

Deborah Munro

University of Portland
Portland, Oregon

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Munro created a course that features a six-station lab designed to give students hands-on experience of how different laboratory equipment can be used for biomedical research. In addition, this course provides exposure to testing with human subjects, an introduction to anatomy, physiology, and the terminology used in the medical industry. The students use Vernier sensors to gather data to answer posed questions and create their own open-ended research questions. The data is analyzed using Logger Pro software. Logger Pro is also used to perform video analysis on the subjects.

Winner – High School

Rocket Testing

Gary Garber

Boston University Academy
Boston, Massachusetts

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Garber has his engineering students work together to design and build a system that allows them to calculate the height to which a rocket should fly. Using a Vernier Dual-Range Force Sensor, students measure the impulse of the engine. In addition, students apply STEM concepts to build a triangulation station, create algorithms for measuring the height, investigate electronic tracking and video methods, and design computer programs to estimate the height.

Winner – Middle School


Julianne King

Regina Caeli Academy
Spring, Texas

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King’s students participated in First Lego League, where this year’s theme was “Nature’s Fury: Prepare, Stay Safe, Rebuild”. The students took on the challenge of creating an innovative solution to a phenomenon called “Electric Shock Drowning”. This was something they learned about after speaking with survivors of massive flooding in Ningbo, China. The students integrated science and engineering to build a working prototype of a floating robot equipped with a LEGO NXT, two Vernier NXT Sensor Adaptors, and two Vernier Current Probes. The team programmed their robot to move and search for submerged electric fields in order to warn people of potential hidden danger in the water.

Notable Entry – College

Designing Alternative Energy Vehicles

Jennifer Love

Northeastern University
Boston, Massachusetts

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First year engineering students at Northeastern University are introduced to the problem faced by rural villagers in the Solomon Islands, who must walk 2-3 hours to gather and transport kerosene. The challenge for students is to use the engineering design process to design, build, test, and improve a prototype vehicle that must carry 1/2 cup of water up a 5 degree incline using alternative energy. The performance of their vehicles is tested on a test ramp that consists of two sets of Vernier photogates and laser pointers. This setup is also used in a Renewable Energy course in which first year students design, build, test, and improve prototype solar cars.

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