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New Addition at Vernier Headquarters

We are getting close to being finished with a major expansion of our building, and we are very excited to have the extra space. We have done some fun things with the expansion, including a slide from the second floor to the first floor. We also have windows made of electrochromic glass that are electronically tintable to varying shades and controlled by a light sensor. If you make it to Portland, be sure to stop by for a visit.

Architectural renderings of Vernier’s new two-story expansion
Architectural renderings of Vernier’s new two-story expansion
Architectural renderings of Vernier’s new two-story expansion

Tech Tip: Windows RT and the Microsoft Surface RT

The low-price version of the Microsoft Surface tablet runs an operating system called Windows RT. This OS does not run standard Windows applications, so it does not support Logger Pro. However, it is still possible to collect data on the tablet. The next release of Vernier Data Share web app, which is included with LabQuest 2 and Logger Pro, will be compatible with Internet Explorer 10, the browser in Windows RT.

With Vernier Data Share and 1:1 devices such as the Microsoft Surface tablet, every student in a lab group can get their own copy of the data, perform analysis, and make annotations for lab reports and informal reports. Vernier Data Share even supports offline analysis, so students can finish their lab reports at home.

IBI Award Winner Uses Vernier

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) sponsors the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction, or IBI Award. The award is designed to “encourage innovation and excellence in education by recognizing outstanding, inquiry-based science and design-based engineering education modules.”

We were very excited to see Vernier products featured prominently in one of this year’s IBI award-winning projects. As described in the June 28th edition of Science (vol. 340, pgs.1537-38), the winning module consists of four guided inquiry-based experiments that investigate photosynthesis. Vernier Dissolved Oxygen Probes and pH Sensors were used to measure changes in dissolved oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations in real time using aquatic plants.

This project is similar to the “Investigating Primary Productivity” activity in our Investigating Biology through Inquiry lab book. Our new Optical DO Probe is ideal for use in this investigation. For more information about inquiry-based biology activities in our lab book, please contact our biology team at biology@vernier.com.

Vernier Adopts New Environmentally Friendly Packaging

New recycled-materials boxes for LabQuest 2, LabQuest Mini and sensor packaging.

In keeping with Vernier’s long-standing commitment to environmental quality, we’ve made some recent changes to our LabQuest 2, LabQuest Mini, and sensor packaging. The boxes are now made of brown recycled materials rather than the former white, laminated cardboard. The LabQuest 2 box is made from 60% recycled materials and the LabQuest Mini box is made from 80% recycled materials. Other boxes are made from 60-65% recycled materials. Our new boxes are locally sourced in nearby Tualatin, Oregon, from a company that follows green practices.

Vernier Named One of Oregon’s Top Workplaces

The Oregonian Top Workplaces 2013 - Small Companies Category

Vernier is pleased to have been named one of Oregon’s Top Workplaces for the second year in a row. The award, given by the Oregonian newspaper, ranked Vernier 11th among the 50 small employers. Over 1000 companies were invited to participate in confidential employee surveys, covering topics from pay and benefits to working conditions and corporate leadership.

See Oregonian’s Top Workplaces list »

Vernier Sensors and TI Simulations – A Great Combination for Learning Science

You probably already know that research on educational technology has found that using probeware is beneficial for student understanding of difficult concepts in science. You may not know that research also shows that educational simulations in science can have a positive impact, too. When you combine hands-on, sensor-based labs with interactive simulations, you are sure to catch student interest and help them understand abstract concepts.

Texas Instruments has free, teacher-developed lessons that incorporate data collection and interactive simulations. The lessons are designed for use with TI-Nspire software and handhelds, and include data collection labs, simulations, and built-in assessments. For example, in the chemistry lesson Changes of State, students explore a simulation that helps them visualize what is happening at the molecular level as a substance undergoes heating from a temperature below its melting point to above its boiling point. Additionally, the students use a temperature probe to investigate the heat of fusion of water. For this and other free lessons for biology, chemistry, physics, and earth science, visit www.sciencenspired.com

TI calculator software showing temperature data
Students use a temperature probe to investigate temperature changes as water undergoes a phase change.
TI calculator software showing temperature data
Students explore a simulation that visually shows the behavior of particles in a substance as the temperature changes

Updated Advanced Chemistry with Vernier Lab Book is Now Available

The 3rd edition of Advanced Chemistry with Vernier is now shipping. It contains changes we think chemistry teachers will really appreciate. First, we made important updates to several of the experiments; many of those revisions were a result of excellent suggestions from teachers.

For example, Experiment 10, “The Determination of an Equilibrium Constant,” has a new, streamlined procedure and a more comprehensive data analysis section. Second, we updated experiments to include the use of newer products, such as the SpectroVis® Plus spectrophotometer and the Constant Current System (for electrolysis labs). Finally, we updated the appendix to correlate the experiments with the new AP Chemistry curriculum, which begins with the 2013–14 school year.

If you already own a copy of Advanced Chemistry with Vernier and would like the updated files for the student pages, email us at bookupdates@vernier.com. We’ll send you a link to download the updated student files. If you’d rather have a printed copy that includes the updated student and teacher pages, appendices, and a CD, the book can be purchased for $48.

Tech Tip: Use Digital Filtering to Get Better EKGs

Graph of a smooth EKG trace
Using a digital filter to collect EKG data

EKG and EMG Traces Just Got Smoother

John Melville, our Biology Staff Scientist, has created a set of files for Logger Pro and LabQuest App that use digital filtering to improve EKG and EMG traces when using our EKG Sensor. Logger Pro 3.8.6 and LabQuest App 2.2 both offer calculated columns that can be used to filter sensor data. Digital filtering is also referred to as signal processing and is a common tool that many biomedical engineers use to improve signal quality of physiological data.

In Logger Pro, the new files that utilize digital filtering can be found in the EKG Sensor folder, which is located inside the Probes & Sensors folder. You will find a low-pass filter file for reducing distracting, rapid variations in signals, a high-pass filter file to reduce the effect of a varying baseline on signals, and a time-decay filter file that applies a simple adjustable time constant to the data, smoothing out rapid fluctuations while preserving long-term trends. The parameters of each filter can be adjusted using arrows in the parameter control, which is found just below the digital meter. These filter types can be used to improve the signal quality of EMGs and EKGs. An example EKG trace using the low-pass filter file is shown above. Similar files for use on LabQuest can be downloaded below.

Download similar files for use on LabQuest

For more information on how to apply or use digital filters in Logger Pro or LabQuest App, contact John Melville at physiology@vernier.com. You can also watch a video demonstration of how to use digital filtering.

Tech Tip: Pivot Your Data in Data Matrix Mode

Have you used Data Matrix mode on your LabQuest yet? It’s the best mode to use when conducting fieldwork such as water quality or ecology studies. Data Matrix mode addresses several key issues that used to limit fieldwork, including:

  • Collecting data at multiple locations and over multiple days, all in one file.
  • Collecting data from more sensors than there are ports available.
  • Collecting data from certain combinations of sensors that previously could not be used together due to electrical interference.

In addition to these features, Data Matrix mode has been improved, beginning in LabQuest 2.2, with the introduction of the Pivot Data feature. Here’s how it works: Imagine that your students are studying water quality at four different locations along a stream for the entire school year. They want to analyze the data at each site over the course of the year. For example, this graph shows temperature data collected from September to June at Site 1.

Original graph showing temperatures over time at one location
Original graph showing temperatures over time at one location
Pivoted graph showing temperatures at all four sites on one day
Pivoted graph showing temperatures at all four sites on one day

However, they might also like to compare temperatures along the stream on a particular day. To do this, they can use the new Pivot Data feature to swap the x-axis values with the data set values, in this case swapping months for sampling sites. This new view of the data reveals warmer water at sites 3 and 4 as the stream flows through an area of slow water movement with no shade trees.

Previously, students needed to decide whether to analyze their data over time or over location before they even began. Now, with the Pivot Data feature, they can switch between the two as often as they would like.

Detailed instructions for using Data Matrix mode and the Pivot Data feature »

Tech Tip: Student Instructions for the Vernier Optical DO Probe

Now that the Optical DO Probe is shipping, we have had questions about updated student instructions for our experiments and investigations. The easy answer is that you just use the same instructions as before but take out all the prep work! The serious answer is that yes, we are working on them. If you already own a Vernier lab book that uses the Dissolved Oxygen Probe and you need the Optical DO version, just send an email to odo@vernier.com. Include your name, your school’s name and address, the book title, the experiment name and number(s), and what version you need (e.g., LabQuest, computer, or TI calculator).

Graph showing oxgen consuming more yeast as the temperature rises
Using an Optical DO probe to measure oxygen consumption of yeast
at various temperatures
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