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Vernier in the Physics Journals (Fall 2018)

Physics Meets Art in the General Education Core

Marta L. Dark and Derrick J. Hylton; Journal of College Science Teaching, 2018, (47) 3.

If you take the Physics and the Arts course at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, you will be exposed to many applications of a traditional physics class as they apply to various areas in the arts. Light, color, sound, gravity, equilibrium, and space time are some of the topics that are explored. Students explore the topics with a guided inquiry approach. At the end of the course, students create artwork that illustrates a physical concept. Students use a Go Direct® SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer and Logger Pro 3 software while they study aspects of color and light.

Enhancing a Scientific Inquiry Lesson Through Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning

Kathleen Koenig, Janet Mannheimer Zydney, Doug Behr, and Lei Bao; Science Scope, September, 2017.

In this guided inquiry activity, students learn about energy transformations as they apply to renewable energy. Students use the KidWind Basic Wind Experiment Kit to design windmill turbines that result in the highest energy output. The students research about how windmill blades work, and brainstorm which designs are most likely to produce the highest output. Students are expected to be able to identify controls, independent variables, and dependent variables. They also demonstrate how they control those variables in their designs. They develop prototypes that they test with a box fan. After initial tests, they modify their design to improve energy output. This project is closely linked to NGSS and CAST standards.

Where Does The Energy Go?

Marta R. Stoeckel (Tartan High School, Oakdale, MN); The Science Teacher, Vol. 85, No. 1, January, 2018.

This article explains how to use evidence-based reasoning to study the bounce of a ball. It is linked to NGSS standards and the authors use Logger Pro 3 video analysis to plot a ball’s position.

Burst Mode Composite Photography for Dynamic Physics Demonstrations

James Lincoln; The Physics Teacher, May, 2018.

Many digital cameras, and even camera phones, have “burst mode.” This allows the cameras to take a series of photos in rapid succession. The author explains how to take and composite these photos, which results in one image showing the photos overlaid. If a moving object is in the scene, you can use our photo analysis to get distance, velocity, and acceleration data of that image.

Vernier in the Physics Journals (Spring 2018)

  • Where Does The Energy Go?

    Marta R. Stoeckel (Tartan High School, Oakdale, MN); The Science Teacher, Vol. 85, No. 1, January, 2018.

    This article explains how to use evidence-based reasoning to study the bounce of a ball. It is linked to NGSS standards and the authors use Logger Pro 3 video analysis to plot a ball’s position.

  • Incorporating a Farm into Our Science Curriculum—An Innovative Twist

    Carrie Herndon; Science Scope, Summer 2017.

    Herndon’s classes monitor chicken growth using our Force Plate, use robots with the chickens, and monitor temperature inside a bee hive.

  • Letting Students Discover the Power, and the Limits, of Simple Models: Coulomb’s Law

    Peter Bohacek, Joseph Dill and Emma Boehm (Henry Sibley High School), and Matthew Vonk (University of Wisconson River Falls); The Physics Teacher, Vol. 55, No. 6, November, 2017.

    This article examines a Coulomb’s law experiment using Pivot Interactives. Students are confronted with explaining why unexpected results occur in some situations.

  • A New Take on Exploding Carts

    Darren Broder (Siena College), James Burleigh (Schuylerville High School) Matthew Christian (Berlin Central High School). Shawn Mowry (Bethlehem High School), George E. Hassel (Siena College); The Physics Teacher, Vol. 55, No. 8, November, 2017.

    The authors use our Dynamics Cart and Track System and Logger Pro 3 software, but they modify the standard “exploding carts” experiment by replacing one of the carts with a hanging mass. This allows a wider range of variation in the masses and a different type of analysis.

  • Math Machines: Using Actuators in Physics Classes

    Frederick J. Thomas (Learning with Math Machines, Inc.), Robery A. Chaney, Marta Gruesbeck (Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH); The Physics Teacher, Vol. 56, No. 1, January, 2018.

    We have worked with Math Machines for a long time; they use motors, LEDs, and other devices for interesting projects. You can use their software to enter mathematical functions to control the output, and the results are often then plotted with Logger Pro 3 software. It is a great way to connect physics, mathematical functions, and models.

Vernier in the Journals (Fall 2017)

  • Facile Method To Study Catalytic Oxygen Evolution Using a Dissolved Oxygen Optical Probe: An Undergraduate Chemistry Laboratory To Appreciate Artificial Photosynthesis

    Genesis Renderos, Tawanda Aquino, Kristian Gutierrez, and Yosra M. Badiei, J. Chem. Educ., 2017, 94 (7), pp. 922–927.

    The goal of this activity was to study aspects of artificial photosynthesis, where water would be split by sunlight to produce oxygen and hydrogen. The oxygen produced would replenish the global supply, and the hydrogen produced could be used as a source of clean energy. The authors have developed a protocol to use various transition metal oxygen-evolving complexes to increase the rate of production of oxygen gas from the decomposition of water molecules in the presence of a chemical oxidant. The rate of change in concentration of dissolved oxygen over time is plotted using a Vernier Optical DO Probe and LabQuest Mini on computers using Logger Pro software. Students study the kinetics of the decomposition reaction to determine the effectiveness of the oxygen evolution complexes.

    Featured Products: Vernier Optical DO Probe, LabQuest Mini, and Logger Pro software

  • A Glowing Recommendation: A Project-Based Cooperative Laboratory Activity to Promote Use of the Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Justin H. Carmel, Joseph S. Ward, and Melanie M. Cooper, J. Chem. Educ., 94 (5), 2017, pp. 626–631.

    This article discusses how to incorporate NGSS skills and processes into studies involving glow sticks. Students used the Vernier SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer and Logger Pro software to collect fluorescence spectra from glow stick reactions. This was done by placing the software in intensity mode and then monitoring the spectrum produced by the reaction in the cuvette. The authors proposed experiments to study the kinetics of the reaction involving catalysts, temperature, acids, and bases. One goal was to extend the period of emission from the glow sticks. In another experiment, students attempted to mix the dyes from the glow sticks to produce more intense emissions. Solvent-resistant plastic cuvettes were used to avoid damage to the SpectroVis Plus.

    Featured Products: SpectroVis Plus and Logger Pro software

  • Polymeric Medical Sutures: An Exploration of Polymers and Green Chemistry

    Cassandra M. Knutson, Deborah K. Schneiderman, Ming Yu, Cassidy H. Javner, Mark D. Distefano, and Jane E. Wissinger, J. Chem. Educ., Articles ASAP (As Soon As Publishable).

    The article describes an activity developed to support engineering and science integration in response to changes proposed by NGSS. In this activity, students synthesize their own medical sutures from various polymers and then use a Vernier Dual-Range Force Sensor and LabQuest 2 to measure the tensile strength of their fibers. Commercially available sutures are also tested and subjected to various degrees of degradation by exposure to phosphate buffer for different periods of time. The force required to break the sutures is measured and compared.

    Featured Products: LabQuest 2 and Dual-Range Force Sensor

  • Determining a Solubility Product Constant by Potentiometric Titration to Increase Students’ Conceptual Understanding of Potentiometry and Titrations

    Lauren E. Grabowski and Scott R. Goode, J. Chem. Educ., 94 (5), 2017, pp. 636–639.

    In this activity, students titrated a solution of copper(II) sulfate with sodium oxalate to produce a precipitate of copper(II) oxalate. A custom-built electrode was attached to a Vernier Electrode Amplifier and LabQuest 2. The electrode was comprised of a Ag/AgCl reference electrode from a modified pH electrode and a copper wire. The potential difference between the copper wire and reference electrode was measured and a titration curve of potential vs. volume was graphed as the titration progressed.

    Featured Products: LabQuest 2 and Electrode Amplifier

  • Measurement of Chlorophyll Loss Due to Phytoremediation of Ag Nanoparticles in the First-Year Laboratory

    Kurt Winkelmann, Leonard Bernas, Brendan Swiger, and Shannon Brown, J. Chem. Educ., 94 (6), pp. 751–757.

    In this activity, the effect of nanoparticles of silver on chlorophyll was studied. Students subjected samples of Egeria densa, a waterweed, to low concentrations of silver nanoparticles. The absorbance spectrum of the chlorophyll from the waterweed could then be collected using any one of Vernier’s visible spectrophotometers, such as SpectroVis Plus or the Vernier Spectrometer. Students were able to quantitatively show the depletion of the chlorophyll as the concentration of silver nanoparticles was increased.

    Featured Products: Vernier Spectrophotometer, LabQuest 2

  • Playing with the Bulb Lamp: RTL Measurements and Modelling

    G Torzo (Padova, Italy), M D’Anna (Locarno, Switzerland), and B Pecori (Bologna, Italy), Physics Education, 51 (5), September 2016.

    This article describes many aspects of the operation of an incandescent lamp, including how light level, current, and potential vary. With the 50 or 60 Hz AC applied to the filament, a lot of interesting things are going on.

    Featured Products: Go Direct Voltage Probe, Go Direct Light and Color Sensor

  • Using Flatbed Scanners in the Undergraduate Optics Laboratory—An Example of Frugal Science

    Thomas Koopman and Venkatesh Gopal (Elmhurst College, Illinois), American Journal of Physics, 85 (5), May 2017.

    This article describes using low-cost commercial flatbed scanners to scan and study interference and diffraction patterns. The authors used the Vernier Diffraction Apparatus to produce the diffraction patterns.

    Featured Products: Diffraction Apparatus

Vernier in the Journals (Spring 2017)

  • More than Meets the Eye – Infrared Cameras in Open-Ended University Thermodynamics Labs

    Emil Melander, Jesper Haglund, Matthias Weiszflog, and Staffan Andersson; Uppsala University, Sweden, The Physics Teacher, Vol. 54, No. 9, December 2016.

    This article shows the advantages of using IR cameras and explains five laboratory assignments to have your students investigate. While the authors used IR cameras costing between $500 and $1500, we think these topics can be investigated with our FLIR ONE camera for less than half the price. Also, our free iOS app, Thermal Analysis, would do a great job on the analysis.

  • Video Analysis on Tablet Computers to Investigate Effects of Air Resistance

    Sebastian Becker, Pascal Klein, and Jochen Kuhn; University of Kaiserslautern, Germany, The Physics Teacher, Vol. 54, No. 7, October 2016.

    The authors use video analysis and our Graphical Analysis for iOS to study falling coffee filters and terminal velocity. They demonstrate it is possible to show that the square of the terminal velocity is proportional to the mass of the falling object.

  • The Physics of Juggling a Spinning Ping-Pong Ball

    Ralf Widenhorn; Portland State University, American Journal of Physics, Volume 84, No 12, page 936, December 2016.

    Dr. Widenhorn does a thorough analysis of the act of juggling a ping-pong ball by using precise paddle angle and ball spin. He uses Logger Pro video analysis and our Dual-Range Force Sensor to measure the friction force between the ball and the paddle.

  • Titration and HPLC Characterization of Kombucha Fermentation: A Laboratory Experiment in Food Analysis

    Breanna Miranda, Nicole M. Lawton, Sean R. Tachibana, Natasja A. Swartz, and W. Paige Hall; J. Chem. Educ., 2016, 93, 1770–1775.

    The authors describe an experiment performed by their students to determine the fermentation kinetics of kombucha tea over a 21-day process. As the tea is fermenting, acetic acid is forming. Students took samples of fermenting kombucha every 2–4 days and titrated them with standardized 0.1 M sodium hydroxide solution using the Vernier pH Sensor and Logger Pro software. The class data were then shared in a Google Doc and a plot of total acid content as a function of fermentation time was produced.

  • Kinetic Explorations of the Candy-Cola Soda Geyser

    Trevor P. T. Sims and Thomas S. Kuntzleman; J. Chem. Educ., 2016, 93, 1809–1813.

    The physical and chemical concepts and processes involving change in CO2 concentration, mass, and pH as they apply to the NISD (nucleation-induced soda degassing) of carbonated soft drinks with Mentos® candy are studied. The author and his students carried out numerous experiments to set up and monitor these changes using a Vernier CO2 Gas Sensor, an OHAUS® balance using Logger Pro software, and a pH sensor. Arrhenius plots were also done to determine the activation energy, Ea, for the change.

  • Speed of Sound in Gases Measured by in Situ Generated White Noise

    Michael J. DeLomba, Michael D. Hernandez, and John J. Stankus; J. Chem. Educ., 2016, 93, 1961–1964.

    The authors present a student experiment to measure the speed of sound in various common gases as they generate white noise inside an acoustic tube. They mounted a Vernier Microphone to a sliding adapter on the side of their PVC tubular resonator. Then, data were collected using Vernier LabQuest 2. Fourier transform analysis was done using LabQuest 2 and after data were imported into Logger Pro software on computers. The results indicate a much lower percent error for the speed of sound than during experiments done in 2014 using a phase comparison technique that used a single frequency.

  • Measuring CO2: Students Learn Firsthand How Thawing Permafrost Adds to Global Warming

    Bruce Taterka and Rose M. Cory; The Science Teacher, 2016, 83(9), 29-35.

    The authors present an experiment for students to explore the phenomenon that thawing permafrost contributes to global warming due to carbon dioxide release. Students first measure the rate of cellular respiration of microbes in thawing permafrost or garden soil using a CO2 Gas Sensor. Students then go into the field to carry out their own investigation of carbon flux using the CO2 Gas Sensor in both terrestrial and aquatic environments.

  • The Microscopic World of Diatoms

    Molly Sultany and Rebecca Bixby; The Science Teacher, 2016, 83(8), 55–63.

    This article describes a class investigation exploring the link between diatom populations and fresh water quality. Students measure water quality data at a variety of locations while also collecting diatom samples. The diatoms are processed, visualized, and classified. Students then correlate the diatoms present with different levels of water quality at each site.

  • Measuring Metabolism: Examining the Effects of Temperature on the Metabolic Rates of Beetles

    Angela Chapman, Aaron Chila, Tracy McAllister, and Victor Aguilar; The Science Teacher, 2016, 83(7), 55–60.

    This article describes a laboratory activity in which students determine the effect of temperature on the metabolic rates of bess beetles. Using a CO2 Gas Sensor, students measure the production of CO2 from beetles at 4°C, 25°C, and 32°C. From this data, students then mathematically determine the metabolic rate of the beetles.

  • “Greening” a Familiar General Chemistry Experiment: Coffee Cup Calorimetry to Determine the Enthalpy of Neutralization of an Acid-Base Reaction and the Specific Heat Capacity of Metals

    A. M. R. P. Bopegedera and K. Nishanthi R. Perera; J. Chem. Educ., Articles ASAP (As Soon As Publishable).

    The authors investigate the use of paper cup calorimeters to replace polysteyrene foam and a measure to reduce the impact on landfills and the environment. Experiments tested were heat of neutralization of acids and bases and heat capacity of metals. They suggest that polysteyrene foam could also be replaced in experiments such as heat of sublimation of dry ice, heat of decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, heat of formation of magnesium oxide, and other chemical and physical changes traditionally involving constant pressure calorimeters that use polysteyrene foam cups. Data were collected with Vernier Stainless Steel Temperature Probes interfaced to a computer through LabQuest 2. Their results were comparable to those they tested side by side with polysteyrene foam and concluded that paper cups were a good alternative.

  • Naked-Eye Detection of Reversible Protein Folding and Unfolding in Aqueous Solution

    Tess M. Carlson, Kevin W. Lam, Carol W. Lam, Jimmy Z. He, James H. Maynard, and Silvia Cavagnero; J. Chem. Educ., 2017, 94, 350–355.

    The authors describe a demonstration to help students with the concept of folding and unfolding proteins. They varied the pH, temperature, and cosolutes to see how the fluorescence of bovine serum albumin (BSA) in the presence of 8-anilino-1-naphthalenesulfonate (ASA) changes. They used Vernier pH Sensors and Logger Pro software to monitor the effect of pH on the fluorescence, noting that at pH of 6.5 to 7.5 the solutions fluoresce brightly. Fluorescence dims considerably over pH of 10 and below pH of 3.5.

  • Improving Student Results in the Crystal Violet Chemical Kinetics Experiment

    Nathanael Kazmierczak and Douglas A. Vander Griend;J. Chem. Educ., 2017, 94, 61–66.

    Many high school chemistry teachers use this familiar reaction to help teach chemical kinetics. The authors of this article provide some insight and suggestions on how to minimize or avoid common errors students make as a result of chemical flooding, solution concentration errors, signal processing errors (which the authors noted was reduced if Logger Pro was used to process the data), spectrometer limitations, and interference from particulates formed by the reaction of OH and crystal violet. The authors did most of the experimental work for this article using a Vernier SpectroVis Plus Spectrophotometer and Logger Pro software. They said that for data analysis they preferred Logger Pro over Excel.

Vernier in the Journals

  • Transient-Absorption Spectroscopy of Cis–Trans Isomerization of N,N-Dimethyl-4,4′-azodianiline with 3D-Printed Temperature-Controlled Sample Holder

    Dmytro Kosenkov, James Shaw, Jennifer Zuczek, and Yana Kholod; J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 1299–1304.

    This article describes a laboratory unit demonstrating a project-based approach to teaching physical chemistry laboratory where upper-division undergraduates carry out a transient-absorption experiment investigating the kinetics of cis–trans isomerization of N,N-dimethyl-4,4′-azodianiline. Students modify a flash-photolysis spectrometer by adding a temperature-controlled sample holder. The sample holder design is open-source and can be reproduced with 3D printing technology. Students build the experimental setup, perform the transient spectroscopy experiment, and analyze the obtained kinetics data to estimate the activation energy, enthalpy, entropy, and Gibbs free energy of cis–trans isomerization of N,N-dimethyl-4,4′-azodianiline.

    Vernier offers a flash-photolysis spectrometer with a Xe-flash pump and LED probe light sources, suitable for transient-spectroscopy experiments.

  • Development and Implementation of a Simple, Engaging Acid Rain Neutralization Experiment and Corresponding Animated Instructional Video for Introductory Chemistry Students

    Danielle Rand, Craig J. Yennie, Patrick Lynch, Gregory Lowry, James Budarz, Wenlei Zhu, and Li-Qiong Wang; J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 722–728.

    The authors describe an acid rain neutralization laboratory experiment and its corresponding instructional video. This experiment provides a contextually relevant example to introduce beginner-level students with little or no acid-base chemistry background to the basic theories of solution chemistry. Using a Vernier Conductivity Probe in combination with LabQuest, students first measure the conductivities of various water samples. To simulate the neutralization reaction between acid rain and limestone as it occurs in nature, students pass a sulfuric acid solution through a column containing calcium carbonate and monitor the conductivity of the resulting solution. The supporting information provides an experimental procedure to distribute to students and includes an alternative method using a Vernier pH Sensor.

  • Evaluation of Existing and New Periodic Tables of the Elements for the Chemistry Education of Blind Students

    Dennis Fantin, Marc Sutton, Lena J. Daumann, and Kael F. Fischer; J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 1039–1048.

    This article evaluates the accessibility of the Periodic Table of Elements that appear in Braille and audio-formatted chemistry textbooks, in some commercially available products, and mainstream chemistry websites. The Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest is a blind-accessible interface device primarily used as a data-acquisition system and built according to the principles of Universal Design. The Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest Periodic Table of Elements is navigated by using four raised arrow keys and a center key that can scroll through a list of 20 element properties.

  • Visualization of Kinetics: Stimulating Higher-Order Thinking via Visualization

    Julie B. Ealy; J. Chem. Educ. 2016, 93, 394–396.

    The author presents a modified kinetics experiment to include real-time visualization. This experiment engages students at higher-order cognitive skills through the analysis of their graphical results. Using a SpectroVis Plus Spectrophotometer, monitoring the disappearance of blue food coloring in a sodium hypochlorite solution introduces the simultaneous ability to immediately observe both the visual and graphical representation of the kinetics. The supporting information includes a student handout and instructor notes.

  • Simple Battery Experiment Reveals the Surprising Cost of Portable Electric Energy

    John Lewis; The Physics Teacher. 2016, 54, 248.

    In this article about battery testing, students use Logger Pro to graph current and voltage vs. time as the batteries are used, and they integrate to determine the energy stored. One interesting investigation compares the energy stored in AAA, AA, C, and D cells. Students are also asked to calculate the cost of the energy the cells provide and to compare cost to household AC electrical energy costs. Even though we sometimes think of batteries as inexpensive, the electricity from the batteries costs nearly $100/kWh or more, compared to the pennies we pay per kWh for AC electricity.

  • Evaluation of Rodent Spaceflight in the NASA Animal Enclosure Module for an Extended Operational Period (Up to 35 Days)

    Eric L. Moyer, Paula M. Dumars, Gwo-Shing Sun, Kara J. Martin, David G. Heathcote, Richard D. Boyle, and Mike G. Skidmore; npj Microgravity. 2016, 1–7.

    Featured: Vernier Relative Humidity Sensor, Stainless Steel Temperature Probe

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted research on rodent habitats for shuttle flight missions using Vernier probeware. The project and findings are detailed in a recent article in npj Microgravity, a multidisciplinary research journal dedicated to publishing scientific advances in life sciences, physical sciences, and engineering fields that are facilitated by spaceflight and analogue platforms.

    The article details how NASA developed a self-contained habitat, or an animal enclosure module (AEM), for rats and mice that provides the rodents with living space, food, water, ventilation, and lighting for space missions. Researchers collected data from the AEMs using Vernier Relative Humidity Sensors and Stainless Steel Temperature Probes with National Instruments LabVIEW software and SensorDAQ interfaces. Carbon dioxide and ammonia levels were also measured. Findings proved that with some modifications, the AEMs could be used on the International Space Station or other operational platforms to extend the space life science research use of the rodents.

    Read the complete article at

In the Physics Journals

  • A Perspective on Motion Sensors and Free Fall

    Derrick E. Boucher; American Journal of Physics. 2015, 83, 948–951.

    Those of you who use Motion Detectors frequently, especially for studying free-falling objects, may find this article enlightening. It is a detailed study of how the horizontal position of the object relative to the Motion Detector can introduce an error in measured accelerations. The errors can make the measured accelerations slightly high.

  • Workshop Physics and Related Curricula: A 25‑Year History of Collaborative Learning Enhanced by Computer Tools for Observation and Analysis

    Priscilla W. Laws; Maxine C. Willis; and David R. Sokoloff;
    The Physics Teacher. 2015, 53, 401–406.

    This article describes the 25-year history of development of Workshop Physics and RealTime Physics and their influence on physics education around the world. We are proud to have worked with the authors for all of those 25 years.

  • The Atwood Machine Revisited Using Smartphones

    Martín Monteiro; Cecilia Stari; Cecilia Cabeza; Arturo C. Marti;
    The Physics Teacher. 2015, 53, 373–374.

    A smartphone is used to enhance a classic physics experiment. The phone is used as the weight on one side of an Atwood machine, and it also measures the acceleration. Our Graphical Analysis app is used to graph and analyze the data. The authors demonstrate that you can nicely show a linear relationship between the mass difference and vertical acceleration.

  • Turn Your Smartphone into a Science Laboratory

    Rebecca Vieyra; Chrystian Vieyra; Philippe Jeanjacquot; Arturo Marti; and Martín Monteiro; The Science Teacher. 2015, 82, 32–39.

    This article explains how to use the accelerometers in your smartphone to do a number of great physics experiments, including measuring the acceleration due to gravity, studying acceleration in an elevator, or measuring centripetal acceleration on a turntable. The best way to analyze the data collected this way is to use our Graphical Analysis for iOS or Android. Both apps are free downloads.

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