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Rhonda & Craig Invade LA – NSTA 2017 Recap

We were thrilled to attend this year’s NSTA national conference in Los Angeles.

Our first destination was the exhibit hall where PASCO had a very lively booth with several interactive displays.  By far the biggest hit  was the ‘Match Graph’ challenge with a super-sized Smart Cart.  Who knew that learning could be this much fun!  Check out the video to see my less than stellar attempt.

PASCO’s booth was fun, however, the real action was in the teacher facilitated workshops.  In total PASCO had 20 unique hands-on sessions that were over flowing with enthusiastic teachers.  Time didn’t allow us to see all the sessions, but we did manage to squeeze our way into a very energetic session on the new Modular Circuit Kits.  Teachers had a great time ignoring instructions and spent most of the session designing their own unique circuits – obviously investigative learning is not just for students.

We were also fortunate enough to get a seat at PASCO’s workshop session on climate change.  The session featured several hands-on modeling activities, including an investigation where teachers used the Wireless pH sensor to monitor the mitigating effects of natural buffers on acid rain.  The biggest hit of the session was seeing PASCO’s new Wireless Carbon Dioxide sensor in action.  Teachers were excited to discover that a reliable, practical and affordable way to measure CO2 has finally arrived.

Over the next week we’ll share some more videos on our adventures at the conference.

 

 

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Ready to Ship Advanced Physics Teaching Apparatus

It’s hard to believe that the end of the budget year is fast approaching.  If your department has unspent funds now is a great time to consider acquiring one or more of PASCO’s premier instructional apparatus.  The very popular featured products below are all in stock and can be shipped in time to make this year’s budget deadline.

1. Microwave Optics

The transmitter emits a large 3 cm wavelength that makes it easy for students to visualize and understand electromagnetic interactions. The system can be quickly adjusted with magnetic mounting components, rotatable transmitters and receivers and a Goniometer with rotatable arms featuring built-in degree and millimeter scales. Durably designed, the system will provide years of trouble free labs with components made of either cast-die aluminum or stainless steel.

WA-9314C ($2995) – Basic System for investigation electromagnetic interactions

WA-9316A ($3995) – Advanced System includes accessories for Brewster Angle and Bragg Diffraction experiments

2. Educational Spectrophotometer System

This very versatile system’s open design is ideal for education. When used with Capstone software, students can graph the spectral lines of gases; precisely measure the relationship between angle wave length and intensity; and analyze the transmission characteristics of filters and chemical solutions. The sensors can connect to PASCO’s full range of interfaces including the very affordable Wireless Airlink or the powerful 850 universal interface.

OS-8450 ($1912) – Includes Light and Rotary Motion Sensors and Optics Bench

OS-8537 ($1257) – Sensors and Optics Bench not included

3. Photoelectric Effect System

Planck’s constant is a central quantity in quantum mechanics and its discovery was one of the greatest breakthroughs in understanding the nature of light.   With this system your students will be able to perform the photoelectric experiment to determine Planck’s Constant to within 5%. Students will also be able to verify that stopping voltage is independent of intensity and find the characteristics of the photodiode. Can be used with the 850 Interface and Capstone software

SE-6614 ($3156) – Basic System, includes Mercury Light Source with Hg tube

SE-6609 ($5666) – Basic System plus DC Current Amplifier and DC Power Supply

4. Electron Charge-to-Mass Ratio System

This system reproduces J.J Thompson’s landmark experiment to calculate the charge-to-mass ratio of the electron. A very sharp and visible electron beam within the vacuum tube allows for its radius (R) to be easily measured using the built-in fluorescent scale. The system also provides a measurement for the accelerating potential (V) applied to the electron gun as well as the magnetic field (B) produced from applying a current to the Helmholtz coils. With these measurements students can then accurately calculate the electron’s charge to mass ratio using the formula e/m=2V/B2R2.

SE-9629 ($6555) – Complete system with e/m tube and power supplies

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The Physics of Bridges

Force Displacement System

Products included in the demonstration:

Smart Carts:
Red  – http://www.ayva.ca/p=ME-1240
Blue – http://www.ayva.ca/p=ME-1241

PAStrack:
http://www.ayva.ca/p=ME-6960

In this activity we created a simple beam type bridge with two pillars. The bridge platform was a PAStrack supported by two Smart Carts with magnetic bumpers attached to serve as the pillars. The magnetic bumpers provided a flat surface to balance the pillars and were screwed into the carts’ force sensors.   Therefore each cart’s force sensor measured the combined forces resulting from the weight of the cart and the weight of the bridge. A third cart was placed on the bridge and was gently rolled from one end to the other.

Prior to recording, the two force sensors were zeroed (i.e. subtracting the pillar and the bridge’s combined force) in order to isolate the varying force caused by the movement of the cart.

Two separate runs were recorded with different bridge configurations. In the first run the pillars were placed near both ends of the track whereas in the second run the pillars were placed nearer the center.

Forces Recorded on First Run with Pillars Spread out near ends of track

In the run below notice how that minimum force for both pillars is approximately zero and that the two plots cross near the midway point of the track. Also notice that the total force remains constant at all points along the track.

 

Forces Recorded on Second Run with Pillars closer to the center of the track

In the second run the minimum force for both pillars is now less than zero. To understand why there can be negative values you need appreciate:

  • Prior to the run both force sensors were zeroed to remove the weight of the cart and the bridge.
  • When the cart is near either end of the track, the pillar with the positive force serves as fulcrum in a first-class-lever reducing the force caused by the weight of the bridge on the other pillar. The weight of the cart was probably not sufficient to lift the track entirely off the pillar as this would result in a non-linear total force plot (can you determine why this is the case? How might you experimentally determine the maximum potential negative value?)

Although both pillars have recorded negative forces, the first pillar’s maximum negative values are larger. This suggests that the two pillars were not evenly placed, with the second pillar skewed more to the center of track in comparison to the first.

 

Combined forces of both runs

Admittedly the graph is a little crowded with the six data plots. However, the most interesting facet of this graph is that the total forces for both runs are approximately equivalent. Also notice that the second run’s force sensor plots cross to the left of where the first run’s sensor plots cross. This suggests that for the second run, the pillars were not evenly moved towards the center causing the skewed crossing (can you figure out why this is the case?)

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Five Demonstrations That Show Why Physics Is So Cool!

1. Shoot the target. Load, Aim, Fire!

Your students will ask you to repeat this demo over-and-over again. The suspense of waiting for the target-to-drop and for the gun-to-shoot will mesmerize your students. At the instant the projectile is shot from the launcher the target is dropped. The ball will consistently hit the bull’s-eye of the falling target as both objects accelerate downwards at the same rate.
Shoot-the-Target System ME-6853 ($537)

2. Ballistic Cart Accessory. Warning: may cause cognitive dissonance

Your students may not believe their eyes, but hopefully they’ll believe the physics. The moving cart will reliably catch the vertically launched ball every time regardless of the cart’s speed. This accessory works with your dynamics track system and is a great demonstration to show the independence of x and y motion.
Ballistic Cart Accessory: ME-9486 ($719)

3. Standing Waves. Strobe lighting is not just for rock concerts.

Dim the lights and let the show begin. Just like at the rock concerts, strobe lighting highlights the object of interest. The strobe also slows down the motion of the vibrating string so that students can see the features of the standing wave in greater detail. The Frequency and light intensity can be precisely adjusted for superior results.
String Vibrator: WA-9857 ($128)
Sine Wave Generator: WA-9867 ($475)
Strobe: ME-6978 ($589)

4. Magnetic Demonstration System. May the force be with you!

When raised and then released the swinging solid paddle stops instantly between the gap of the Variable Gap Magnet while the slotted panel sails straight through with no issue. Both paddles are made of aluminum, so why the difference? The answer …Magnetic Dampening! Diamagnetism and Paramagnetism, and Force on a Current Carrying Wire – are other great demonstrations of this comprehensive system.
Magnetic Demonstration System: EM-8644B ($711)

5. Ring Launcher. 10, 9, 8, 7…. 1, All Systems GO!

The ‘launched’ ring may not make it to the moon, but it will fly an impressive 2 meters straight up. The projectile is propelled by the Lorentz Force that arises from the interaction between the alternating magnetic field of the coil and the current induced in the ring. The Ring Launcher is a classic demonstration that includes 5 rings of different metals and dimensions.
Ring Launcher: EM-8661A: ($957)

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Inverse Square Law

Rick Debenedetti from Streetsville Secondary School in Mississauga demonstrates how to use a Smartphone, a Smart Cart and a Wireless Light Sensor to investigate the relationship between light intensity and the distance from a single point source of light.

Materials Used

PAStrack (ME-6960) $146
Wireless Light Sensor (PS-3213)
Wireless Smart Cart (ME-1241) $295
Smart Phone with Flashlight App

Assembly

  1. Place the light sensor on the Smart Cart with the Spot light sensors facing forward (opposite end of the plunger)
  2. Align the light sensor to the Smartphone’s flashlight as shown in the picture. To get the proper height raise the track using the adjustable legs of the PASTrack.
  3. Using the PASTracks built-in scale position the base of the Spot Light sensor 20 cm from the Smart Phones Flashlight.

Software Setup

  1. Within the SPARKvue software Connect Wirelessly to both the Light Sensor and Smart Cart.
  2. Open the SPARKlab file ‘Inverse Square Law’ file which plots Light Intensity against Position with a 20 cm offset.

Collecting Data

  1. One person should be controlling the Smart Cart and Smartphone and another controlling the software
  2. Turn the Smartphone’s Flashlight on
  3. Click on the SPARKvue ‘Play’ button
  4. Slowly roll the Smart cart away from the Smartphone at a steady pace. The light sensor is only sampling at 2 HZ so moving too quickly will result in too few plotted data points. The Smart Carts position sensor will accurately record the distance that the Smart Cart travels
  5. Once the cart reaches near the end of the track stop the recording of data

Analyzing Results

  1. From the Tool box bar select the tool box icon to expand the bar
  2. From the expanded tool box select the ‘Scale to fit’ icon
  3. Next click on the ‘Curve to Fit’ icon and select the ‘Inverse Square Fit’ menu option

The Blue Line shows the connected data points of the light sensor readings plotted against the Smart Carts position sensor readings. The red line is the applied Inverse Square Fit. Notice how well the Inverse Square Fit curve matches the plotted data.

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AYVA Educational Solutions Ltd. was launched in 2008 as the new Canadian distributor for PASCO Scientific. Our PASCO Canada division offers a complete range of traditional physics equipment and award-winning data acquisition systems for chemistry, biology, earth and physical sciences.

In recent years we expanded our product offerring to include the best-in-class training equipment for undergraduate engineering labs. Today we are the exclusive Canadian distributor for TecQuipment (England), Pignat and Erides (France), Elettronica Veneta (Italy), Marcraft (USA), as well as KUKA Robotics and Bosch Rexroth (Germany).

In 2017 we moved into our new building in Oakville, Ontario so we could further grow the AYVA Team and better serve our loyal customers.

AYVA Educational Solutions | 7-233 Speers Road, Oakville ON L6K 0J5
Toll Free: 1-877-967-2726 | Phone: (905) 337-5938 | Fax: 1-877-807-2726