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The Physics and Physiology of Collisions and Concussions

Text graphic for collisions and concussions.

Every school year, right around the time football and soccer are in full swing, our educational specialists field questions from educators about lessons centered around concussions. Since academics and athletics are often two key student interests, building lessons around sports is a great way to spark student curiosity and bridge scientific concepts with their lives outside the classroom.

We brought John Melville, our Director of Biology, and Fran Poodry, our Director of Physics, together to help answer some key questions about the relationship between collisions and concussions. We have also gathered several helpful resources for further research and a few ideas to bring into your classroom or laboratory.

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Celebrating Evolution Day with Vernier Technology

Evolution day header banner image

November 24th is Evolution Day, which celebrates the publication of On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin in 1859. Darwin’s theory of evolution is one of the central concepts in biology.

Experiments in comparative physiology are an excellent way to teach concepts in evolutionary biology. The Vernier Biology Department developed an experiment that investigates the comparative physiology of snails and fish.

Graph of comparing the respiration rates of fish and snails.
A comparison of the respiration rates of fish and snails

In this activity, students measure the respiration rate of an aquatic snail, a goldfish (Carassius auratus), and a Betta (Betta splendens) using a small respiration chamber and an Vernier Optical DO Probe or Go Direct® Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe. Get the experiment overview and download for “Evolution of Aquatic Respiratory Systems.”

Evolution-related Activities from Investigating Biology through Inquiry

Other Evolution-related Activities

Inspire Your Students on National STEM Day

Students observing a vinegar and baking soda reaction.

On Friday, November 8th, teachers all over the United States will celebrate National STEM Day with their students to encourage exploration in science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM education is crucial for 21st-century students. STEM-related careers are growing 70 percent more than others, and that demand will only increase. As a result, the education world is continuously evolving to implement STEM into the classroom.

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Happy Halloween!

Introducing Kinematics Using Motion Detection and Real-Time Graph Matching

By Joel Matykowski, Century High School

Students using Go Direct Motion Detector to match their motion to their graph.

This is my 28th year teaching high school physics. The last 23 years I’ve been at Century High School, in Hillsboro, Oregon, and I’ve taught many levels of physics. An introductory course that I teach covers kinematics, dynamics, energy, momentum, wave fundamentals (including sound and light), and electricity. Through all of my classroom experience, I’ve found that introducing data-collection technology through hands-on experiments that tie into the real world is often the most effective way to help students understand key science concepts and keep them engaged in the classroom.

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Celebrate Space Exploration with Vernier

Graphic for Apollo 11 space mission

We encourage you to celebrate World Space Week and the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing with these hands-on STEM activities. Each activity simulates a task, such as coding a lunar lander or designing a shock absorber system. These represent obstacles that NASA had to overcome to successfully land on the moon.

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Vernier Director of Biology Discusses Human Physiology on Education Excellence Podcast

John Melville teaching biology instructors at our STEM summer institute

John Melville, Director of Biology at Vernier Software & Technology, appeared on the Education Excellence podcast to discuss why data-collection technology is a great tool for teaching human physiology.

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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.

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