Vernier Software and Technology
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News and Announcements

Self-Driving Vehicles E-book Updated for mBlock 5

We recently revised our Coding with mBot: Self-Driving Vehicles e-book to support mBlock 5 on Chromebooks and computers (Windows® and macOS®). In the nine coding activities, students are challenged to recreate many of the tasks performed by vehicles in the real world: avoiding obstacles, driving within the lines, autonomous parking, and more. Working programs for all of the challenges are provided.

Learn more about Coding with mBot: Self-Driving Vehicles »

Vernier Sponsors the 2020 KidWind Challenge

Students participating in the 2019 KidWind Challenge.

We believe in strengthening students’ critical thinking skills by encouraging them to create solutions to real-world problems. That’s one reason we are a sponsor of the 2020 KidWind Challenge, hosted by the KidWind Project. In addition, a portion of all sales of KidWind products supports the KidWind Challenges held throughout the United States.

The challenges consist of dozens of local and regional competitions across the country during which teams of students test the energy output of wind turbines they design and build.

Learn about this year’s winners »

Using an Inquiry-Based Approach to Teach Lab Safety

Header graphic for lab safety blog post

It is imperative that students are taught about lab safety at the beginning of each school year. When it comes to safety, I want to go beyond just guidance and provide something that really sticks with students.

In addition to going over the important guidelines and procedures they need to follow, I created an inquiry-based investigation to help my 10th and 11th grade chemistry students really understand the importance of accident prevention and safe experimentation. This lab also teaches about experimental design and the scientific method, which is a good beginning-of-the-year refresher.

Read more »

Investigate Plant Pigments and Olive Oil

Graph showing absorbance vs. wavelength of plant pigments of spinach and cherry.
Absorbance of plant pigments from spinach and cherry

Two of our most popular spectroscopy experiments can now be done with Vernier Spectral Analysis® and are now available for free. Experiment 13, “The Visible Spectra of Plant Pigments” and Experiment 14, “Determination of Chlorophyll in Olive Oil”, from Advanced Biology with Vernier, now include Spectral Analysis experiment instructions and are available as free downloads.

Spectral Analysis, our free, spectroscopy app, works on Windows®, macOS, Chromebook, iOS®, and Android devices. You can use this app while collecting data with our SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer and Go Direct® SpectroVis Plus Spectrophotometer.

Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Go Direct Sensors

Raspberry Pi logo

Over the last few months, we have been testing the Vernier Python module for Go Direct® sensors on Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi is an affordable, fully functioning computer that was developed and built to help encourage the understanding, learning, and continued study of computing in schools.

When given Go Direct sensors and Python as tools, students can integrate their coding skills with data-collection projects to visualize data or incorporate sensor data with a Raspberry Pi.

Read more »

Why Use Two Probes When You Only Need One?

Vernier helps you keep experiments simple. Using our multi-channel Go Direct® Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe, students can simultaneously measure dissolved oxygen concentration (mg/L), percent saturation (%), and water temperature. Students normally need to use both a dissolved oxygen probe and a temperature probe to learn how the dissolved oxygen content of water depends on the water temperature. This is an important ecological concept, as some organisms, such as salmon, require high concentrations of dissolved oxygen in their water. Your students no longer need an additional probe to measure temperature when they use a Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe.

A screenshot showing all the sensor channels in the Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe.
Use of Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe in the field with three channels displayed on the screen

We have updated Experiment 19, “Dissolved Oxygen in Water,” from Biology with Vernier, to include instructions for collecting data more efficiently using this probe.

This experiment is available as a free download »

Experiments Available through Google Workbench

Screenshot of Vernier's channel on Google Workbench

At Vernier, we recognize that educators partner with dependable providers that they have come to know and love. We strive to do the same, which is why we work closely with providers like Google Workbench.

Track progress, access lessons, and keep a living record of work for students through Google Workbench. Free student-ready experiments from Vernier that explore chemistry, biology, physiology, and physics are available through Google Workbench.

Check out our channel on Google Workbench »

Celebrating Dave Vernier’s 50 Years in Education

Photo of Dave Vernier examining a bridge during a classroom competition

This fall will mark Dave Vernier’s 50th year in education. From starting his career as a physics teacher, first at an inner-city school in Cleveland and later in Oregon, to ultimately co-founding Vernier Software & Technology, science education and technology have always been passions for Dave.

Over the past 38 years, Vernier Software & Technology has supported thousands of science educators through the use of reliable hands-on technology. We asked Dave about science education and the changes he’s seen in edtech over his years in the business.

Q: 50 years is a long time in education. During that time, how did the use of technology in schools get started? How has it changed and evolved?

A: When I started teaching, there was not very much of what you would call “technology” being used. Thankfully, there is a lot more and better-quality equipment now.

During my teaching, I loved to do experiments, and the students did a good job taking data, but then they had to graph the data by hand on paper. This often took them a long time to complete. By the time they had the graph completed, they saw very little connection between the graph and the experiment they had done 15 minutes earlier. It was just “busy work” to them. Having a computer graph the data as they are taken makes all the difference in having students understand graphs.

The computer speeds up every aspect of the experimental process—the data collection, the graphing, the data analysis, and even the write-up. Now, students can do an experiment and repeat it with varying conditions to look for patterns, as well as even design their own experiments.

Read more »

Vernier Wins Three ISTE Best of Show Awards

Vernier won three Tech & Learning ISTE 2019 Best of Show Awards last month at the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2019 Conference & Expo in Philadelphia, PA! The Coding with mBot: Life Hacks e-book, the Exploring Motion and Force with Go Direct® Sensor Cart e-book, and the Wind Energy Explorations and Solar Energy Explorations e-books were chosen by a panel of tech-savvy educators based on their quality and effectiveness, ease of use, cost, and creative use of technology.

Read more »

Five Fun STEM Activities to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Graphic for Apollo 11 space mission

By Josh Ence, Engineering Education Technology Specialist

In the summer of 1969, NASA launched the Apollo 11 space mission from Kennedy Space Center. Four days after launch, Neil Armstrong (Mission Commander) and Edwin (“Buzz”) Aldrin (Lunar Module Pilot) were the first two men to walk on the moon.

As a former physics and engineering teacher, I know that incorporating current events and hands-on activities into the classroom is an excellent way to engage students. This anniversary gives educators an opportunity to incorporate past, present, and future events into timely activities.

Read more »

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