Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

2005 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award Winners

The award, co-sponsored by Vernier and NSTA, is part of the NSTA Teacher Award Program. Each year, educators are recognized for their planned or current innovative use of data-collection technology.

Elementary

Julia Green

The Drinking Fountain Dilemma

  • Julia Green
  • Teacher
  • Berry Elementary
  • Detroit, MI

Synopsis

Through the use of Vernier probes, Berry Elementary students in the Detroit Public School District use inquiry learning and a positive learning climate to foster active scientific investigations. With this mutual interdependence of science and technology, students have the opportunity to explore scientific understandings, reinforce mathematical thinking and concepts, and engage in dialogue. The use of probes in an elementary classroom also helps to translate difficult concepts into terms more easily understood, building a framework of knowledge. Popular investigations include the discussion and investigation of the coldest drinking fountain in the school, the pH of the soil around the school, and the real temperature of microwave popcorn.

Middle School

Diane Callahan

CSI: Creek Scene Investigation

  • Diane Callahan
  • Science Teacher
  • Fairfield Middle School
  • Fairfield, OH

Synopsis

This project exposes students to water quality/watersheds, data collection, and analysis. Curriculum was created on water quality and watersheds based on the CSI TV show. The students identified the “body” of water, “fingerprinted” it using topographic maps, used forensic entomology and toxicology, and presented their evidence to the community. Students learned about what makes up a safe and clean water supply by identifying the physical, chemical, and biological aspects of water while incorporating handheld technology, collecting data from various water sources in the area, and analyzing that data. Presentations were made to the city council and empowered the students to become change agents for their environment.

High School

Robert Schlichting

Glacier Energy Balance

  • Robert Schlichting
  • Physics Instructor
  • Cleveland High School
  • Portland, OR

Synopsis

This past summer a Vernier motion detector was successfully adapted for use on Eliot Glacier, Mt. Hood to measure the surface lowering of the glacier due to melting for extended periods. The motion detector was programmed to log distance to the glacier surface every 15 minutes for a period of 3 weeks, measuring up to 10 cm of surface lowering of the glacier per day. Temperature profiles within rocky debris layers covering portions of the glacier were also measured, quantifying the thermal effects of the debris on underlying glacier melting. Then with thermodynamics concepts and equations, an energy budget for the glacier will be developed.

Stan Wawrzyniak

ROVER: Remotely Operated Vehicle for Education and Research

  • Stan Wawrzyniak
  • High School Science/Engineering Teacher
  • Bow High School
  • Bow, NH

Synopsis

The underwater world is beyond direct observation of all but those who dive. Diving is a costly activity in terms of equipment, training, and preparation. Field activities are usually limited to surface observations, data collection, and sampling followed by testing. The class envisions an affordable remotely operated submersible with flexible capabilities including real-time observation, data collection, and basic manipulations. The submersible uses a Vernier LabPro interface and a variety of sensors to collect data underwater. A Vernier Digital Control Unit is used to control the submersible. An onboard video camera records and sends real-time video and data through the tether to the control laptop.

Gillian Winters

Planck’s Constant

  • Gillian Winters
  • Teacher
  • Sachem North High School
  • Lake Ronkonkoma, NY

Synopsis

In this lab, students determine Planck’s constant, h, a fundamental constant of modern physics. Students use current and voltage probes interfaced with Vernier LabPro to determine the current through, and potential difference (voltage) across various Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). The lab is suitable for a high school physics class, and is designed for the Modern Physics section of the course, a section that has only a few suitable labs.

College

James Vesenka

Modeling The Bernoulli Principle with the Vernier Barometer

  • James Vesenka
  • Associate Professor of Physics
  • University of New England
  • Department of Chemistry and Physics
  • Biddeford, ME

Synopsis

Fluid mechanics plays an important role in the life sciences curriculum. A counterintuitive model our students must confront is that increased velocity of fluid results in a decrease in fluid pressure. The key to the success of our laboratory activity was Vernier’s sensitive “barometer” pressure gauge and Vernier’s motion detector to extract wind speed. From this data Bernoulli’s principle can be modeled, with the density of air solved empirically to within 10% of the accepted value. The power of modeling in this way converts abstract mathematical concepts to a more clear sense of ownership by our students.

Vernier Technology Award

Seven awards are available: one elementary, two middle school, three high school, and one college level. The awards, each valued at $5,500, include $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier technology, and up to $1,500 in expenses for attending the NSTA convention.

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Past Winners

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