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Top 10 Lab Experiments for This School Year

By Gary Myers, Director of District Outreach

When it comes to bringing data collection to the classroom, knowing where to start can be tricky. The team at Vernier Software & Technology compiled a list of our favorite experiments from our lab books—from elementary school science to college-level experiments—to point you in the right direction.

  1. Conductivity of Solutions: The Effect of Concentration
    Grade Level: High school and college students

    In this experiment, students study the effect of increasing the concentration of an ionic compound on conductivity. During the experiment, students use a Conductivity Probe or Go Direct® Conductivity Probe to measure the conductivity of solutions, investigate the relationship between the conductivity and concentration of a solution, and investigate the conductivity of solutions resulting from compounds that dissociate to produce different numbers of ions. A video demonstrating how to conduct this experiment is available here.

  2. Acid-Base Titration
    Grade Level: High school and college students

    In this experiment, students titrate a hydrochloric acid solution with a sodium hydroxide solution using a Go Direct® Drop Counter in the process. They then use a pH sensor to monitor changes in pH as the sodium hydroxide solution is added to a hydrochloric acid solution and plot a graph of pH vs. volume. Students then use the graph to determine the equivalence point of the titration and use these results to calculate the concentration of the hydrochloric acid solution. A short video demonstrating how to conduct an acid base titration using Vernier technology is available here.

  3. Momentum, Energy and Collisions
    Grade Level: High school and college students

    Using the Dynamics Cart and Track System with Motion Encoder or Dynamics Cart and Track System with Go Direct® Sensor Cart, students observe collisions between two carts and test for the conservation of momentum. They also measure energy changes during different types of collisions and classify collisions as elastic, inelastic, or completely inelastic. Advanced versions of these experiments can be found in Advanced Physics with Vernier — Mechanics (experiment #1, #10 and #11). This video demonstrates how to use for physics investigations.

  4. Centripetal Accelerations on a Turntable
    Grade Level: High school and college students

    Using either a Low-g Accelerometer or Go Direct® Acceleration Sensor, students measure the centripetal acceleration on a record turntable. They also determine the relationship between centripetal acceleration, radius, and angular velocity, as well as determine the direction of centripetal acceleration.

    This is experiment #20 in Physics with Vernier, but if you are looking for an added component, check this out. A Pennsylvania educator used a 25-g Accelerometer and a K’NEX® rollercoaster to test crash dummies!

  5. Monitoring EKG
    Grade Level: High school and college students

    Using a EKG Sensor or Go Direct® EKG Sensor, this experiment enables students to graph their heart’s electrical activity, determine the time interval between EKG events, and calculate heart rate based on their EKG recording.

    This is experiment #28 in Biology with Vernier. Educators looking for other opportunities to use the Go Direct® EKG Sensor can refer to experiments #12, #13, and #15 in Human Physiology with Vernier. Watch how to use Go Direct® EKG Sensor to monitor both EKG and EMG.

  6. Get a Grip!
    Grade Level: Elementary school students

    Using a Gas Pressure Sensor, elementary students measure their grip strength, including which hand has the greater grip strength, as well as learning what happens to their grip strength as time passes. This video demonstrates how to test grip strength with a Go Direct® Gas Pressure Sensor.

  7. Exploring Wind Turbines
    Grade Level: High school students

    Students build their own functioning wind turbine with Vernier Energy Sensor and a KidWind by Vernier experiment kit. During the experiment, students explore how wind turbines turn, predict variables that affect how fast a wind turbine turns, and investigate the effect of fan speed on the power output of a wind turbine. This video provides an overview of the activity using a Go Direct® Energy Sensor.

  8. Enzyme Action: Testing Catalase Activity
    Grade Level: High school and college students

    Using a O2 Gas Sensor or Go Direct® O2 Gas Sensor , students measure the production of oxygen gas as hydrogen peroxide is destroyed by the enzyme catalase or peroxidase at various enzyme concentrations, temperatures, and pH values. Similar experiments are also featured in the Advanced Biology with Vernier and Investigating Biology through Inquiry lab books.

  9. Mapping a Magnetic Field
    Grade Level: Middle school students

    Using a Magnetic Field Sensor or Go Direct® 3-Axis Magnetic Field Sensor, students measure and graph magnetic field strength at points along a bar magnet and analyze the data to make conclusions about the magnetic field at various points on a bar magnet.

    A version of this experiment for elementary students can be found in Earth Science with Vernier (experiment #36) while a more advanced version of this experiment can be found in Physical Science with Vernier (experiment #27). Watch a video demonstration of how to use Go Direct® 3-Axis Magnetic Field Sensor here.

  10. Graphing Your Motion
    Grade Level: High school and K–8 students

    Using a Go Direct® Motion Detector or Motion Detector, students study their own motion, as well as measure position, velocity, and acceleration. Students then produce graphs of their motion and analyze and interpret the graphs. A video demonstrating how to use the Go Direct® Motion Detector is available here.

While these are some of our favorite experiments from our lab books, we love hearing about new, innovative lessons and projects using Vernier technology. If you are planning something cool for this school year, let us know at innovativeuses@vernier.com

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