William H. Roden, senior scientist, and Dr. Amanda L. Jones, Director of the Science Education Department at Seattle Children’s hospital, have developed several innovative ways to incorporate Vernier technology into their teaching modules. The modules are designed for grades 4–12 and cover a variety of topics including biotechnology, microscopy, human physiology, and neuroscience. Vernier sensors are used in the modules to teach concepts in respirometry, the physiology of asthma, and how the brain controls body movement. Students enjoy these activities because they are able to collect data and perform analyses like actual healthcare professionals. The modules have been successfully shared with thousands of students across the state of Washington in robust, scalable, one-hour lesson plans that align with Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The majority of the modules are taught in a mobile laboratory. Logger Pro 3 software and LabQuest Mini are used with computers, as they are an excellent, portable solution for teaching in confined spaces. In addition to the user-friendly design of the software, Roden and Jones were very impressed that Logger Pro 3 can be used to create custom files for different experiments. The custom experiment files ensured that students were able to focus on the important aspects of each lesson.

The mobile teaching laboratory

As an example of the lessons that have been developed, the Vital Signs module serves as a basic introduction to normal human physiology and emphasizes how monitoring vital signs can be useful in detecting medical problems. Students use the Vernier Spirometer to measure respiratory rates in this module.

The Catch Your Breath module uses the Vernier Spirometer to mimic the experience of being an asthmatic. Students collect data first with a normal Spirometer and then with an airflow-restricted Spirometer. The airflow-restricted Spirometer is simply a Vernier Spirometer that has been modified with a small insert that reduces airflow between the mouthpiece and flow head. This simulates the airway of someone that suffers from asthma. Students are then able to compare the “normal” and “airflow-restricted” data sets in Logger Pro.

The airflow-restricted Spirometer

The Sense, Think, Move module uses the Vernier EKG Sensor and focuses on the role of the brain as the control center of the body. Students measure the electrical activity in their forearm muscles as they perform a series of hand movements: gentle squeezes, hard squeezes, and fast wrist flips. This activity is always a big hit with the students.

Students collecting data in the Sense, Think, Move module

We are very grateful that Roden and Jones shared with us how they use Logger Pro 3, LabQuest Mini, and our Spirometer and EKG Sensors in their mobile science teaching laboratory. For more information about the Science Education Department at Seattle Children’s hospital, and to see how they are using Vernier products to inspire the next generation of scientists and healthcare professionals, visit www.adventurelab.org

For questions about how to use Vernier sensors and software to teach human physiology, contact physiology@vernier.com