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The Vernier Advantage for College Chemistry

Vernier Go Direct sensors for college chemistry

Whether you are teaching general or upper-level college chemistry courses, our affordable sensors and instrumentation make it possible for every student to participate in hands-on learning. Our combination of sensors, software, college-level experiments, and instructional resources engage students and instructors in scientific discovery. We have assembled a collection of products and experiments for commonly taught college chemistry courses.

  • General Chemistry: Complete an acid-base titration with our pH probes that have 0.1 pH unit accuracy and a drop counter that accurately converts drops to volume.
  • Organic Chemistry: Measure and analyze the GC retention times of a Fischer esterification reaction mixture using the Mini GC Plus Gas Chromatograph with room air as the carrier gas.
  • Biochemistry: The Vernier UV-VIS Spectrophotometer can be used to measure the 260/280 nm ratio when purifying proteins and DNA. Its range, 220 nm to 850 nm and 3 nm optical resolution, makes it ideal for biological applications.
  • Analytical Chemistry: Investigate redox reactions with a potentiometric titration using an ORP (oxidation-reduction potential) sensor.
  • Physical Chemistry: Explore excited-state dynamics with one of our free experiments that walks students through the heavy-atom quenching of quinine fluorescence using the Vernier Fluorescence/UV-VIS Spectrophotometer.

At Vernier, we believe that the use of our sensors and lab equipment should serve to enhance your teaching, not get in your way. Take a look at Periodic Elements—our college chemistry blog where our chemists share their knowledge and ideas. Sign up for Periodic Elements and find a full list of recommendations for college chemistry.

Why Teach Coding in the Classroom?

You don’t have to spend much time on education websites, blogs, or social media before you run into the term coding. Why is coding, or computer programming, getting so much attention right now? Coding engages students in new ways, providing practical applications for math and science skills.

The act of coding—an iterative process of building, testing, and refining a program—parallels the scientific method in many respects. Students must construct detailed models, plan carefully, anticipate sources of error, analyze data, and document their work. Additionally, many programming projects require the application of specific science knowledge, such as understanding the motion of a uniformly accelerating object, in order to successfully accomplish a task.

Vernier offers a number of resources to support coding in the classroom:

Programmable robots, such as mBot and Ranger from Makeblock®, are a great, hands-on way to introduce coding to students because robots take abstract code from the screen and translate it into actions in the real world. The newest member of the Makeblock family of robots is Codey Rocky, perfect for elementary- and middle-school students who are new to coding. Codey Rocky is actually two electronic modules: Codey, a detachable controller that includes 10 sensors and an LED matrix, and Rocky, a mobile base that can carry Codey across the classroom. Codey Rocky does not require any construction and can be programmed through a free app on computers, tablets, or smartphones.

If you’ve been tasked with leading an after-school robotics club, are thinking about incorporating some coding into your science class, or even been asked to teach computer science, see what Vernier has to offer.

Our CEO Celebrates His 25th Anniversary at Vernier

John Wheeler, our CEO, first worked for Vernier as a consultant. For his first project he designed a photogate timing device, for which we paid him with one Macintosh computer. In 1993, he became a full-time employee, when we had fewer than 10 employees. John handled our parts purchasing, but he also continued to design products. Over the years, John has designed the Serial Box Interface, the LabPro interface, LabQuest, LabQuest 2, and most of our sensors. In 2015, he took on the overall leadership role at Vernier.

“It has been a fantastic experience growing up with this remarkable company,” John explains. “The world was certainly different when I started with Vernier—there was no such thing as social media or reality television. The internet was largely navigated using dial-up modems, cryptic command-line instructions, and specific utility apps. It was a super small company back then, and I was the purchasing, receiving, and engineering department in those days.”

“While we have grown significantly since then, the amazing thing is that we have been able to grow and keep our company culture. David and Christine Vernier started something really special and have nurtured it for 37 years to get to where we are now. We have kept our company values, and we continue to serve educators and impact student learning. I couldn’t be more proud to be part of the work we do here and to work alongside such wonderful people. I am lucky to have been a part of this amazing journey for so long, and I look forward to the coming great things that we will accomplish.”

Learn more about our company story and culture »

Olympic Gold Medal Experiment

Animated GIF of gold medal being dipped.

Jessie Diggins, who won a gold medal in the recent Winter Olympics, allowed Pivot Interactives to use the medal in a version of the Archimedes experiment. A new activity challenges students to identify the real gold medal from an inexpensive copy and to determine if an Olympic gold medal is actually made of gold. Give it a try here.

Go Direct® Sensors Can Be Used with LabQuest® 2!

Photo of students using LabQuest 2 and Go Direct Light and Color in a baseball field.

You already know that Go Direct sensors are the most versatile sensors around—they can be used via USB or Bluetooth® wireless technology on Chromebooks, computers, iOS®, and Android devices. But did you know that they can now be used with LabQuest 2?

Imagine studying motion with Go Direct Sensor Carts, testing acids and bases with Go Direct pH, or wading into a stream with the Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe, all without wires. You can even mix and match Go Direct sensors and LabQuest sensors on LabQuest 2 for maximum flexibility. Just update your LabQuest App to version 2.8.3 or newer, and your students can connect Go Direct sensors wirelessly or by USB. (Some older LabQuest 2 interfaces require additional hardware to communicate with Go Direct sensors wirelessly.)

NSTA Blog Reviews Go Direct® Respiration Belt

Go Direct® Respiration Belt

NSTA Recommends’ Edwin Christmann recently reviewed the Go Direct® Respiration Belt. In his review, Edwin demonstrates using the Go Direct® Respiration Belt during different exercises, including boxing, jumping rope, and weight lifting. He also provides screenshots of the free graphing and analysis software, Graphical Analysis 4, to showcase his results.

In the review, Edwin says:

“After reviewing the Go Direct® Respiration Belt, we found that its user-friendly data-collection capabilities have many practical uses both in and outside of the classroom. Moreover, the included rechargeable battery is reliable and offers long battery life for experiments.”

He concluded by saying:

“The Go Direct® Respiration Belt is reasonably priced and connects directly to mobile devices. Without doubt, we found it to be a great tool for science and mathematics students to become active and motivated learners. Hence, the Go Direct® Respiration Belt is highly recommended for classroom use!”

The complete Go Direct family of sensors offers teachers and students the versatility to collect scientific data both wirelessly or via a USB connection. These sensors can be used in more than 300 teacher-tested experiments developed by Vernier.

Read more about the Go Direct Respiration Belt on NSTA Recommends »

LabQuest 2.8.4 Update

We’re pleased to release the latest update for LabQuest 2. The version 2.8.4 update is free and recommended for all LabQuest users.

Download LabQuest 2.8.4 Update »

Vernier Software & Technology’s Go Direct® Sound Sensor Wins Best of Show Award

Tech & Learning Best of Show Award 2018

Vernier Software & Technology won the Tech & Learning Best of Show Award for the new Sensor at the 2018 International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference last month. The judges recognized Vernier Software & Technology’s newest addition to the Go Direct family of sensors for being an impactful, effective learning tool that will be beneficial for students in the classroom.

Vernier sensors are rugged and provide consistent, high-quality results for the demands of student instruction. Students will enjoy the opportunity to take Go Direct® Sound Sensor outside to discover sounds in their natural environment.

Go Direct® Sound Sensor:

  • Allows students to capture and evaluate waveforms
  • Helps students measure wave amplitude and sound intensity level at the same time to investigate the decibel scale
  • Includes both wired or wireless options
Read more about the Go Direct Sound Sensor »

Introducing Go Direct® Sound

Go Direct Sound

Our new Go Direct® Sound Sensor is an all-in-one sound sensor capable of capturing waveforms and measuring sound levels. Like many of our other Go Direct sensors, it packs a variety of sensors into a single unit and connects to any device you might have in your classroom, lab, or pocket.

Investigating beat frequencies with Go Direct Sound
Investigating beat frequencies with Go Direct Sound

Go Direct Sound is designed to work for all sound investigations. Are your students studying wave characteristics, such as frequency and amplitude? Use the Microphone channel in the Graphical Analysis 4 app to sample at rates up to 100 kHz and capture a wide frequency range of sound waves. Are you investigating sound insulation? Choose either the A-weighted or C-weighted Sound Level channel to measure decibels. Are you discussing the logarithmic nature of the decibel scale? Collect data from both the Wave Amplitude and a Sound Level channel simultaneously. Go Direct Sound has the hardware to collect data for all of your sound investigations.

As with all of our Go Direct sensors, Go Direct Sound can connect to a computer, LabQuest®, Chromebook, or mobile device. For example, students can use Go Direct Sound with their Chromebook during an experiment or with their smartphone during a pep rally.

For more information, sample data, and details, see the Go Direct® Sound Sensor page.

5 Popular Tools for Teaching Environmental Chemistry

Do you teach environmental chemistry? Are you looking for lab experiment ideas and equipment?

Students taking environmental chemistry will learn basic techniques for chemical analysis of environmental samples, including air, water and soil. Many of these experiments may take place in the field requiring rugged and portable equipment. These Go Direct® Sensors connect directly to your mobile device, Chromebook, or computer using our free Graphical Analysis 4 app or Spectral Analysis 4 app. The sensors can be used wired via USB or wirelessly via Bluetooth® wireless technology, allowing you to choose the best solution.

Here are five products from Vernier, selected by our experts, for environmental chemistry.

  1. Go Direct Tris-Compatible Flat pH Sensor

    Go Direct® Tris-Compatible Flat pH

    The flat glass shape of the Go Direct Tris-Compatible Flat pH Sensor is useful for measuring the pH of semisolids such as soil slurries. It features a sealed, gel-filled, double-junction electrode, making it compatible with Tris buffers and solutions containing proteins or sulfides.

    Example experiments:

    • Measure soil pH
    • Investigate the effect of acid rain on soil
    • Understand the role of buffers
  2. Go Direct Dissolved Oxygen Probe

    Go Direct® Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe

    The Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe combines the power of multiple sensors to measure dissolved oxygen, water temperature, and atmospheric pressure. The Go Direct Optical Dissolved Oxygen Probe uses luminescent technology to provide fast, easy, and accurate results. This waterproof probe is perfect for the field or for the laboratory.

    Example experiments:

    • Investigate the relationship between temperature and dissolved oxygen in water
    • Measure primary productivity or biological/biochemical oxygen demand
    • Monitor watersheds over time
  3. Go Direct Ion-Selective Electrodes (ISEs)

    Go Direct® Nitrate Ion-Selective Electrode

    Our Go Direct family of Ion-Selective Electrodes are great for monitoring five environmentally-important ions: calcium (Ca2+), chloride (Cl), ammonium (NH4+), nitrate (NO3), and potassium (K+). These are combination-style, non-refillable, gel-filled electrodes with the option to report measurements in mV or mg/L.

    Example experiments:

    • Measure changes in nitrate concentration due to acidic rainfall or fertilizer runoff from fields
    • Study changes in levels of ammonium ions introduced from fertilizers
    • Quantify chloride in ocean water
    • Use the calcium concentration to evaluate water hardness
    • Investigate potassium levels in NPK fertilizers
  4. Go Direct Conductivity

    Go Direct® Conductivity Probe

    Go Direct Conductivity Probe determines the ionic content of an aqueous solution by measuring its electrical conductivity. It features a built-in temperature sensor to simultaneously read conductivity and temperature. Automatic temperature compensation allows students to calibrate the probe in the lab and then make measurements outdoors without temperature changes affecting data. The Go Direct Conductivity Probe has a range of 0 to 20,000 μS/cm (0 to 10,000 mg/L TDS) to provide optimal precision in any given range.

    Example experiments:

    • Use conductivity to study soil salinity
    • Measure total dissolved solids (TDS)
    • Investigate the difference between ionic and molecular compounds, strong and weak acids, or ionic compounds that yield different ratios of ions.
  5. Go Direct SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer

    Go Direct® SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer

    The Go Direct SpectroVis Plus is a spectrophotometer with a range of 380–950 nm. This device can quickly collect a full spectrum (absorbance, percent transmission, or fluorescence).

    Example experiments:

    • Select a single wavelength for colorimetric assays (e.g., total phosphates, lead, iron)
    • Use the Spectrophotometer Optical Fiber to measure emissions from flame tests or other light sources

Check out Environmental Science and Water Quality for additional options. Everything we offer includes our unparalleled customer service, technical support, and resources, so you are always supported when integrating our technology.

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