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.
Coyote Hills Elementary, Aurora, CO
STEM teacher Kathryn Eyolfson teaches her students about renewable and nonrenewable energy resources through inquiry and project-based learning. During one unit, fifth-grade students utilize Vernier technology as they apply science and engineering practices to construct wind turbines with the KidWind Advanced Wind Turbine Kit.
Metro East Montessori School, Granite City, IL
A collaborative land lease agreement with a nearby farm in southern Illinois allowed Carrie Herndon to create an outdoor science laboratory that allows her students to explore the 260-acre farm each week and engage in various hands-on data-collection investigations. In one investigation, students carefully observed a beehive on the farm, took pictures, and used Vernier sensors to collect and analyze data after they noticed the bees were behaving in an unusual manner.
Thomson Middle School, Centerville, GA
To help meet new state science standards, Terra McMillan creates lessons and units in which students collect, organize, and analyze data. Using her school’s solar array and the associated monitoring database, along with Vernier probeware, McMillan plans to implement even more inquiry-based data-collection experiments across all three of her school’s grade levels. For example, in seventh-grade Life Science, students will use CO2 Gas Sensors to learn how plants use energy from the sun during photosynthesis, acting almost like living solar panels.
Yuma High School, Yuma, CO
Physics students in Amy Melby’s class will participate in a study of the Greater Prairie-Chicken—a medium-sized bird that resides in sandhill prairies and congregates on special areas called leks during mating—to better understand whether the addition of wind turbines in the sandhills impacts the species. Students will visit a lek and record the various vocalizations produced by the birds using Vernier sensors and then visit a nearby wind turbine to record the sounds generated by the turbine. Recordings from the sites will be analyzed to determine if the sounds of a wind turbine could potentially interfere with communication among Greater Prairie-Chickens.
Boston Day and Evening Academy, Roxbury, MA
Hannah Erickson’s school is located in a neighborhood of Boston with an asthma rate six times higher than the state average. Using Vernier sensors, Erickson plans to have her students gather data about atmospheric CO2 levels both in the school’s neighborhood and in a variety of other neighborhoods throughout the city. Students will analyze the data and then write a formal lab report as well as a letter to a local official illustrating their data-collection and analysis methods. Students will then offer possible next steps and solutions to address the problem of disproportionate access to clean air.
Dr. René Corrales
STAR Academic Center, Tucson, AZ
In Dr. René Corrales’ physics class, students study electric and magnetic field lines to see how those fields interact. In the lab, students map out electric field lines and equipotential surfaces using a capacitor made of aluminum foil electrodes, water as a dielectric medium, and Vernier sensors. Students use an LED that is powered by an electric field effect and a compass to see how changing the angle of the LED affects the brightness. They then compare that data to the actual field lines that they mapped out with the probes.
Craven Community College, New Bern, NC
In Donald Carpenetti’s Organic Chemistry II class, students are put in small groups to take part in original research projects involving data collection, such as developing a guided inquiry-based gas laws experiment incorporating pressure sensing technology and evaluating a solid mixture. These original research projects build more problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, give students a more realistic laboratory experience, and better prepare them for more advanced lab work. The vast array of Vernier sensors available, and their compact size, makes it possible for several groups of Carpenetti’s students to work on very different projects side by side in the same room.
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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