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Tech Tip: Video Analysis Tips for Shooting Good Video

Vernier Ion-Selective Electrodes
Still frame from a video of a student throwing a basketball outdoors

Students doing video analysis of everyday motion can be a great way to bring physics into the real world. Due to the quality of some videos, they are sometimes difficult to analyze. Here are some tips for recording good videos for analysis:

  1. Support the phone or camera to keep it still. Use a tripod, tape the phone to a box, or find another way to avoid the shakiness of hand-held video. This will also prevent the tendency to follow the motion with the camera.
  2. Record the event in a well-lit area. Outdoors in daylight is the ideal environment, as even an overcast sky can provide more light than can be found indoors. However, going outside is not always practical. Old overhead projectors can provide a bright light that has no flicker, even when filming in high speed. The brighter the lighting, the less motion blur you will see in the video.
  3. Position the camera so the line of sight is normal to the plane of motion. Ideally, all the motion would take place at a constant distance from the camera, but that is nearly impossible to achieve. Therefore, arrange the scene to have as little distance variation as possible. This is to make sure the scale you choose applies to as much of the motion as possible.
  4. Place a ruler, meter stick, or other scale item in the same plane as the motion being recorded. Having the scale object at that same distance eliminates parallax error in scaling.

These and additional tips can be found in our support article How do I collect good videos for analysis in Video Physics or Logger Pro?

General Tips for Using Ion-Selective Electrodes

Vernier Ion-Selective Electrodes

Vernier offers five Ion-Selective Electrodes (ISEs): Ammonium (NH4+), Potassium (K+), Calcium (Ca2+), Nitrate (NO3), and Chloride (Cl). ISEs require careful use; follow these guidelines for best results:

  • Calibrate ISEs very carefully and often. Two calibration standards ship with each ISE. It is important to soak the electrode in the High Standard solution for at least 30 minutes prior to calibration. If, at any time, the reported reading is a constant 1.0 mg/L (and the electrode is not in a 1.0 mg/L solution), you need to recalibrate.

  • Be certain that your standards are uncontaminated. Because the High Standard is 100 times more concentrated than the Low Standard, it is very easy to cross-contaminate the solutions. To keep your standards from being contaminated, thoroughly rinse and blot dry the sensor tip prior to placing it in a standard. You can purchase fresh standards from Vernier or make your own using the instructions found in the sensor booklet.

  • If you know the approximate concentrations of your samples, you will save time if you analyze them from lowest concentration to highest. If there is great variation in concentration from one sample to the next, it can take several minutes for the reading to stabilize.

  • Choose a specific time at which to calibrate and take your reading for each sample. For example, if you calibrate when the ISE has been in a solution for 60 seconds, you should also collect data for your samples after the sensor has been in the sample for 60 seconds.

  • The ISE actually measures voltages and then converts the voltage values to concentration values. This conversion is logarithmic, so keep in mind that a small voltage change can cause a large variation in the concentration reading.

  • Replace the membranes of the Nitrate, Calcium, Potassium, and Ammonium ISEs as needed. Each of these ISEs has a PVC membrane with a limited life expectancy; depending upon the amount of use and how well they were taken care of, the membranes should give good readings for 1–2 years. If you notice distinctly different voltages or slowed response during calibration, it is probably time to replace the membrane module. The replacement modules have a limited shelf-life, so they should be purchased immediately prior to use.

If you have additional questions, email us at chemistry@vernier.com

Tech Tip: Which pH Sensor Should I Buy?

Years ago, in simpler times, if you wanted to buy a pH sensor from Vernier, there was one choice—the Vernier pH Sensor. These days, you have five options (including, still, the Vernier pH Sensor). All of our pH sensors have similar accuracy, response, and sensitivity, so which one should you buy? It depends on how and where you plan to use your pH sensor. Here is some information to help you choose wisely.

Electrode Amplifier included? Features
pH Sensor
pH Sensor
Yes (built-in)
  • Best choice for general use
  • Measure pH in aqueous solutions (e.g., observe acid-base titrations, monitor an aquarium, or investigate water quality in a stream or lake)
pH Electrode BNC
pH Electrode BNC
No*
  • Detachable electrode makes replacement less expensive
  • Measure pH in aqueous solutions
Vernier Go Wireless® pH
Go Wireless® pH
Yes (detachable)
  • Collect pH data wirelessly
  • Measure pH in aqueous solutions
Tris-Compatible Flat pH Sensor
Tris-Compatible Flat pH Sensor
Yes (detachable)
  • Double-junction electrode allows measurement of the pH of solutions containing proteins, sulfides, or Tris buffers
  • Flat shape of the sensor tip makes it easy to clean, allows for smaller sample sizes, and measurement of pH of semisolids (e.g., food or soil slurries)
Glass-Body pH Electrode
Glass-Body pH Electrode BNC
No*
  • Measure the pH of aqueous and non-aqueous solutions
  • Can be used in solutions containing organic solvents and in highly concentrated acids or bases

* Electrode Amplifier or Go Wireless Electrode Amplifier is required

Capture Images with LabQuest 2


Capture Images with LabQuest 2

Did you know you can now use our digital microscopes and cameras with LabQuest 2? Our USB Digital Microscope and the Celestron Digital Microscope Imager, a drop-in digital microscope camera, work with computers or Chromebooks. They have been very popular with biology teachers. We know that many schools can’t have a computer at every microscope station, so we have added the ability to capture images from these cameras on LabQuest 2.

Starting with LabQuest App version 2.6, you are able to view and save images from both of these products. Simply connect the camera’s USB cable to LabQuest 2 and launch the Camera App. You can get very clear images that are easy to see and save. With the addition of LabQuest Viewer computer software, you can project the image for the entire class to see or monitor what your students are seeing at each lab station without leaving your desk. LabQuest Viewer for iPad is also available on the App Store.

We know that many biology teachers use images from microscopes and dissecting scopes in their teaching, and we hope this new feature in LabQuest 2 makes it even easier!


Xylem and phloem tissue in a root cross-section at 600× total magnification

Xylem and phloem tissue in a root cross-section at 600× total magnification

10 Technology Tips for Back to School

Freezing water experiment

As summer comes to an end, many of you are getting ready for the fun and excitement of starting a new school year. For your fall planning, we have ten tips to ensure that integrating Vernier technology into your labs is easy and stress free. Have a great school year!

1. Keep your software up to date with a Vernier web account.

If your school owns Logger Pro 3 or LabQuest Viewer for Windows or Mac, you can create a free Vernier web account and easily download the latest version at any time. You can also use your Vernier account to directly distribute Logger Pro to your students. Keeping your software updated will help ensure that your technology is ready for the laboratory when your students are.
Sign Up or Create an Account

2. Update and charge your LabQuests before class begins.

As you prepare your lab for the school year, update your LabQuests to receive new features and enhancements. We also recommend that you charge your LabQuests for a full eight hours before using them for the first time in the school year.
Update Your LabQuests

3. Collect data using our free Graphical Analysis app for iOS®, Chrome, and Android.

Use Chromebooks, iPad®, Android tablets, and other smart devices for hands-on, collaborative science with Vernier sensors and data sharing technology. Our Graphical Analysis app is available for free, and it is designed specifically for sensor data analysis in science classrooms.
Learn More

4. Find answers online with our Technical Information Library.

For 24-hour technical support, we offer a Technical Information Library (TIL) on our website. It is full of tips, techniques, and answers to frequently asked questions about probeware, and it is available anytime you quickly need an answer.
Go to the Technical Information Library

5. Get experiment ideas from Vernier lab books.

Are you looking for experiment ideas or searching for the best sensors to use with your curriculum? You can preview the student instructions for Logger Pro for all of our experiments online. When you purchase a Vernier lab book, you will get full instructions for data collection customized for multiple platforms, including LabQuest App. Lab books also include safety instructions and teacher tips that cut your prep time and help students make the most of technology.
View Vernier Lab Books

6. Download our white paper, What the Research Says About the Value of Probeware for Science Instruction.

Find out how using probeware for science instruction helps students increase test scores and learn scientific concepts more deeply. This 37-page paper also gives an overview of state standards that call for the use of data-collection technology, and it aligns the use of Vernier technology to the Framework for K-12 Science Education.
Get the Whitepaper

7. Find the funding.

With budgets being tight, many of you are looking for funding for probeware. Access resources for writing grant proposals, such as our Grant Writing Guide or What the Research Says About the Value of Probeware for Science Instruction, or apply for the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards.
Apply for a Grant

8. Attend a data-collection workshop this fall.

Whether you already own Vernier equipment or want to experience our new technology, these free workshops are for you! The workshops include a light lunch or dinner.
Sigh Up for a Workshop

9. Get free web-based training.

We offer free, personalized webinars for your entire department to quickly refresh their data-collection know-how. Webinars are easy to set up and are flexible enough for your busy schedule. All you need on your end is an internet-connected computer, a projector, and a speakerphone.
Schedule a Webinar

10. Explore training videos.

You will find a variety of helpful Tech Tips videos demonstrating sensors, experiments, and more in our video training library on our website. Learn the basics or sharpen your skills at your convenience, right from your computer, tablet, or smartphone. If you are flipping your classroom, have your students watch these videos as pre-lab activities.
Watch Our Training Videos

Tech Tip: Choosing a Temperature Probe for Chemistry Classrooms

Vernier offers several temperature probes for a variety of applications. Deciding which probe is best for you often depends on the types of experiments in your curriculum.

The Stainless Steel Temperature Probe is the most popular choice for chemistry classrooms. This probe has a range of –40°C to 135°C and can be used for all temperature experiments in Chemistry with Vernier, Advanced Chemistry with Vernier, Investigating Chemistry through Inquiry, and Vernier Chemistry Investigations for Use with AP* Chemistry.

Read more »

Helpful Tips for Using the Voltage Probe in Electrochemistry Experiments

Voltage Probe

In electrochemistry, a voltaic cell is a specially prepared system in which an oxidation-reduction reaction occurs spontaneously. This spontaneous reaction produces an electrical potential that can be easily measured using a Voltage Probe. Taking advantage of this fact, students are able to quickly establish the reduction potentials of five unknown metals relative to an arbitrarily chosen metal in “Experiment 28–Establishing a Table of Reduction Potentials: Micro-Voltaic Cells” from Chemistry with Vernier.

Read more »

Tech Tip: Which Vernier Dissolved Oxygen Probe is Right for Me?

Student investigates primary productivity with the Optical DO Probe
Student investigates primary productivity with the Optical DO Probe

Let’s start with the answer—the Optical DO Probe is right for you. It’s faster and easier to use than the traditional Dissolved Oxygen Probe. With no filling, warming, calibrating, or stirring required, there is significantly less prep time and fewer ways to go wrong with the Optical DO Probe. As a result, students get better data. This ease of use also allows students from every age group, from elementary to university, to accurately measure dissolved oxygen concentrations in water.

Read more »

Tech Tip: LabQuest 2 and Chromebook: A Powerful Pair

LabQuest 2 wirelessly streaming temperature sensor data to a Chromebook

Using Chromebooks in your science lab? LabQuest 2 provides real-time data sharing to Chromebooks for every lab group. Connect any of more than 80 compatible sensors to LabQuest 2 and instantly share data to a Chromebook, along with any other device with a browser. No account login or app download is required; Vernier Data Share web app is served directly from LabQuest 2 and is available at no cost.

Students can analyze and annotate the data and save graphs or CSV files for use in other applications, such as Google Docs and Sheets or Plotly.

After class, students can finish their lab write up in offline mode. Vernier Data Share allows students to access their latest experiment and all the analysis, annotation, and export tools, even without access to LabQuest 2 or the Internet.

For more on using LabQuest 2 with Chromebooks see www.vernier.com/chromebooks

Tech Tip: Maintaining Your Sensor Cables

Using sensors day after day with several classes results in wear and tear on your equipment. We try to make our equipment sturdy enough to use for many years, however, cables sometimes get frayed with frequent use.

You can help prevent premature cable breakage through proper cable wrapping and preventative maintenance. First, sensor cables should not be wrapped around the sensor. While it might be tempting to wind the Stainless Steel Temperature Probe’s cable as tightly as possible around the shaft, or to wind the Photogate cable tightly around the Photogate, this can lead to premature fraying and breakage. See proper cord storage techniques FAQ »

What if your cables start to fray? You need to prevent further damage. While we do have a generous five-year warranty on most of our products, frayed cords are not an item we repair. One solution is to wrap a sticky and unsightly blob of electrical tape around the fraying portion. A neater solution that we have found is to use sugru®. Sugru is a moldable silicone rubber that cures in about 24 hours. Follow the directions on the package. Mold the sugru around the frayed portion of the wire and let it cure. Your wires should last you a while longer this way!

Frayed cables fixed by sugru
Frayed cables fixed by sugru
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