Beaverton, OR – June 5, 2006 – Practical, hands-on biology lessons can spark enthusiasm and understanding in elementary students, and teachers now have a new source for inquiry-based activities that bring an advanced science tool to elementary students. Vernier Software & Technology has created free elementary-level lessons exclusively for users of its ProScope™, a digital USB microscope that works with Macintosh or PC computers.
The ProScope allows users to magnify and examine images of small objects on computer screens. The microscope comes with an easily detachable 50x lens, and lenses in different magnifications can be purchased and substituted for greater versatility. For even more power, the ProScope can be connected to existing microscopes or held in place by the ProScope stand. The accompanying USB Shot software allows for the capture of still images, time-lapse photography or QuickTime™ movies. Teachers can share lab work with an entire class by projecting those displayed images.
According to David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and former physics teacher, “These two lessons were created by an educator working in an ELL classroom. The activities provide elementary science classrooms with inquiry-based learning as well as cross-curricular ties to mathematics. There is nothing like seeing an elementary student get excited about science inquiry. Fostering that natural inquiry at a young age helps inspire these young scientists.”
For example, one lesson, titled “Crystal Clear Observations,” has students explore the shapes of different crystals, such as a variety of salts for cooking and eating, as well as Epsom salts, granulated sugar and alum. Students make observations, determine the characteristics of crystals and use geometry terms to describe crystals. In another lesson titled “Crystal Creatures of Habit,” students examine the crystals, determine the habit (the shape) of a common crystal, make a model of a crystal structure, identify geometric shapes and solids, and finally create a display of common household crystals.
Each lesson includes the activity’s objectives, a list of needed materials, step-by-step activity procedures, a space for documenting class observations and discussions, as well as questions to help students analyze the collected data. The lessons also come with teacher notes containing a brief explanation of the activity’s purpose, the objectives, possible answers for the data analysis component and, in some cases, ways to extend the inquiry-based learning.
About Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier Software & Technology has been an innovator of data-collection technology for 25 years. Creating easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and software, their products can be found in education from elementary school to college. Vernier helps teachers enhance their science curriculum, increase learning, and build students’ critical thinking skills.