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Laboratory Access for Blind or Low Vision (BLV) Students with the Talking LabQuest

Blind and Low Vision students can now participate independently alongside their peers in hands-on experiments as a result of the work being done through Vernier’s partnership with Independence Science.

Developed to encourage a greater interest in STEM fields of study, the Talking LabQuest breaks down the barriers of the typical science classroom for students who are Blind or Low Vision by allowing these students the opportunity for an interactive, hands-on laboratory experience.

The Department of Education’s Office of Human Rights, along with Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), require that, whenever available, individuals with disabilities are provided the same educational benefits and technology as those provided to individuals without disabilities. The Talking LabQuest now provides BLV students the same science laboratory learning opportunity, with the same substantially equivalent ease of use, as sighted students.

The Talking LabQuest can be ordered as a complete unit, or you can order the Sci-Voice Software separately to add speech to any original LabQuest units that you currently own.

To purchase, or for more information on the Talking LabQuest, contact Independence Science directly at 866-862-9665 or email

Talking LabQuest with Differential Voltage Probe
Talking LabQuest for water quality testing

The Talking LabQuest in action

Custom Calibrate Your Vernier Sensor

Most Vernier sensors come with a stored, factory calibration that works well for the majority of science classroom experiments, particularly those that look at relative changes. However, if you have an experimental application that requires an accurate, absolute value, you may want to perform a custom calibration. This custom calibration does not need to be repeated each time you use the sensor because you can store a calibration to an individual sensor. That means that every time you connect the sensor to any Vernier interface, the sensor will be ready to use the custom calibration.

For chemistry, biology, and water quality, some sensors that benefit from performing a custom calibration include

For physics, you may want to calibrate

To perform a custom calibration, you will need some kind of external references, such as known, good pH buffer solutions. For more information, follow the instructions at

To store the custom calibration on your sensor so it will be used every time, follow the instructions at

National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellows Use LabQuest 2 in the Arctic

Teacher Fellows and other travelers aboard the National GeographicExplorer observe a polar bear on the ice
Teacher Fellows and other travelers aboard the National Geographic Explorer observe a polar bear on the ice

National Geographic Education Programs and Lindblad Expeditions partnered to give several K–12 educators the opportunity to travel aboard the National Geographic Explorer to Norway and Arctic Svalbard this summer. While on the ship, Fellows were able to use LabQuest 2 and several sensors with vacationing students to monitor air and sea temperature, ocean salinity, wind speed, and more.

High school biology teacher and Grosvenor Fellow JoAnn Moore enjoyed using the Vernier equipment, stating, “The kids had great experiences as they discovered physical features that could be measured in the very cool habitat of the Arctic. Having used this equipment for many years in my classroom, it is great to see these tools used in this new learning environment.” Fellows also interacted with the other travelers on board and developed activities for their own classrooms. It was an ideal opportunity for bringing together science and geography while providing an amazing adventure for some outstanding teachers.

For more information, visit

Logger Pro Goes Microscopic

Did you know that Logger Pro software can capture images from many digital microscopes, including Ken-A-Vision®’s Digital Comprehensive Scope 2 Dual Purpose Microscope?

As demonstrated in the images below, this digital microscope works very well with Logger Pro’s Video Capture and Photo Analysis features, which allow the user to take still images, videos, and even time lapse video sequences. Just connect the USB cable from the digital microscope to any computer that has Logger Pro installed, and your students can view, capture, and analyze images from any live or prepared microscope slide.

Image of a glomerulus (400X)
Image of a glomerulus (400X)
Image of C. elegans (40X)
Image of C. elegans (40X)
Image of an onion root tip (100X)
Image of an onion root tip (100X)

Using Logger Pro with a Ken-A-Vision microscope, a ProScope HR, or another digital microscope provides one more opportunity for student learning in today’s modern biology classroom.

Use Logger Pro to Analyze Electrophoresis Gels

We are often surprised when teachers tell us they have never heard of the Gel Analysis feature in Logger Pro. This powerful feature is absolutely free if your school or college department owns Logger Pro.

Gel electrophoresis is a method of separating macromolecules by fragment length (e.g., DNA and RNA), by charge, or by size (e.g., proteins) using an electric field and a gel matrix. Specific dyes and/or stains are used to mark the molecules of interest. As shown in the data below, Logger Pro provides students with a fast, easy way to document and analyze gel electrophoresis images. After inserting a photo taken with a ProScope HR, a digital camera, or an existing photo from a file, Logger Pro can be used to create a standard curve and calculate the molecular weight or number of base pairs for each experimental band in just a few minutes.

Using Logger Pro to analyze SDS-PAGE gels
Using Logger Pro to analyze SDS-PAGE gels

The Gel Analysis feature is used in the “Introduction to Molecular Evolution” investigation found in our new Investigating Biology through Inquiry lab book. In this inquiry investigation, students extract proteins from muscle tissue, conduct electrophoresis of the resulting protein extracts, analyze the results using Logger Pro, and then use the results to construct a cladogram. This is an excellent inquiry activity that teaches core concepts in evolution. This activity is also correlated to AP* and IB** standards.

The “Forensic DNA Fingerprinting” experiment in our Advanced Biology with Vernier lab book also uses the Gel Analysis feature in Logger Pro. In this experiment, students use a forensic technique to analyze DNA samples from five “suspects.” The DNA is digested with a fixed set of restriction enzymes, separated by gel electrophoresis, and then analyzed for patterns of similarity with the crime scene sample. From these results, students then identify the perpetrator. Gel analysis is also used in the “Analysis of Precut Lambda DNA” experiment found in this book.

You can purchase everything you need to perform these experiments from Vernier and our partner, Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. In fact, through the end of 2012, Bio-Rad is offering a 10% discount off of all of their kits that are aligned with either Investigating Biology through Inquiry or Advanced Biology with Vernier. Learn more about Bio-Rad kits and this discount »

For information on gel analysis, consider attending one of our free webinars.

* AP and Advanced Placement Program are registered trademarks of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of and does not endorse this product.

** The IB Diploma Program is an official program of the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) which authorizes schools to offer it. The material available here has been developed independently of the IBO and is not endorsed by it.

Using LEGO NXT Robots with Vernier Sensors to Simulate a Mission on Mars

The Space Foundation (Colorado Springs, CO) uses Vernier’s NXT Sensor Adapter and sensors with LEGO NXT robots in their “Mars Yard.” The combined technologies permit middle school students to simulate robotic rover missions on the “Red Planet.” As you can see from the photo, the Mars Yard looks pretty realistic!
The “Mars Yard” at the Space Foundation (Photo: Elias Molen)

Vernier Brings STEM to 1:1 and Flipped Classrooms

Sarah Cargill posted a Q&A session about LabQuest 2 and the Connected Science System on the Getting Smart blog. Getting Smart blog screenshot

Motion Lessons with Vernier Video Physics

“This app is perfect for reluctant students that are not engaged in physics and allows them to use technology and see real life situations being transformed into quite complex graphical physics.”

Source: Smarter Learning Blog

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