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Fall is in full swing and Halloween is tomorrow! It’s the time of year for glowing ghosts, ghouls, and… science experiments!

Things that appear to glow are luminescent. Luminescent materials are literally “cool”  because they give off light without needing or producing heat. Luminescence can be broken down into the following main categories: fluorescence, phosphorescence, and chemiluminescence.

Fluorescent materials will absorb energy, then quickly re-emit the energy. As a result, they only appear to “fluoresce” when they are in the presence of some form of radiation such as ultraviolet light.

The PASCO Spectrometer allows you and your students to experiment with fluorescence. Fluorescein, as the name implies, is a chemical that will exhibit fluorescence. In this demonstration, a small sample of fluorescein is diluted in water, then added to a cuvette. When held under a blacklight (ultraviolet radiation source) the sample will glow. In the Spectrometry App under Fluorescence, we can set an excitation wavelength to 405 nm.

excitation 405 nm

Spectrum of the 405 nm light used for fluorescence excitation.

When the cuvette with fluorescein is added to the Spectrometer, you can observe the “glow” indicating fluorescence.

PASCO spectrometer and sample

Fluorescein “glowing” in the PASCO Spectrometer

Now we can observe the spectrum of the emitted light when fluorescein is excited with 405 nm light.

Fluorescence

The spectrum of fluorescein

By overlaying the spectra, we can compare the wavelength of the light that went into the sample and the light that was fluoresced by the sample.

Comparison of spectra

Notice the shift to a higher wavelength from excitation to emission.

Phosphorescent materials glow in the dark. Similar to fluorescence, they get excited by white or ultraviolet lights. But these materials slowly re-emit the energy in the form of light, even when the lights are turned off. Glow-in-the-dark toys are a great example of phosphorescence.

Finally, chemiluminescence occurs when a chemical reaction produces light without producing heat. Glow sticks are a perfect Halloween example of this. When the chemicals are mixed, a ghostly glow is given off.

So, the next time you see a glowing jack-o-lantern or an eerie zombie, don’t just think scary… think science.

Related Product:

Update your SPARKvue software to the latest released version!


What’s new in this version

  • Improved Graph, Scope, FFT and Bar Graph displays
  • Ability to directly connect Wireless Sensors to compatible Windows devices
  • New and improved Graph tool behaviors
  • Easier to change display measurements and units
  • New calibration option for the Wireless CO2 Sensor
  • Firmware update for SmartCart fixing a time shift between Acceleration from Position sensor and measured Acceleration-x
  • New, larger readout for the Digits display

Windows Update

Mac Update

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.

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

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)

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.

Bicycle Gyroscope $368

Conservation of angular momentum.
Your students will literally become part of the demonstration. Featuring cushioned handgrips, a pull cord with handle, and weighing only 6 pounds, the Gyroscope is very to use. Can be used with any rotatable office chair; however, for best performance it’s best to also get the PASCO Rotating Chair and Gyroscope Mass Set.

Compression Igniter $201

Untitled-1

Catching Fire!
This demonstration is guaranteed to impress your students. By quickly pressing the piston down, the tightly sealed chamber will experience an increase in pressure and temperature well beyond the point to ignite a piece of paper.

Resonance Air Column with Speaker $301

resonance_air_column

This demo will definitely ‘resonate’ with your students.
This low cost resonance tube works remarkably well. The molded piston head reflects sounds very efficiently and when positioned at a node will produce a very loud resonance

Use with the supplied speaker or a tuning fork
8 Adjustable rings to mark nodes
Can be used with or without a sound sensor

Thermoelectric Converter $329

thermo_electric_converter

Demonstrate the first law of Thermodynamics.
Your students should know that you can heat water with electricity, but will be amazed to learn that you can use hot water to produce electrical energy. The Converter extracts electrical energy through a temperature differential by having one of its legs placed in a cup of cold water and the other leg in cup of hot water.

A series of semiconductor thermoelectric cells convert thermal energy into electrical energy
The process can be reversed by passing a current through the converter

Rotational Inertia Set $292

rotational_inertia_set

Rock and Roll! Compare rotational inertias with spheres and balls of different radius.
Your students will discover that the speed on an object rolling down a ramp is determined by the shape and distribution of its mass. They’ll be surprised to discover that the mass of the object and its radius does not affect the outcome.

Are you an educator who wants to use new technologies in their classroom to inspire, motivate and engage students? If yes, we would like to introduce a must read book for you: Augmented Education – Bringing Real and Virtual Learning Together by Kieron Sheehy, Rebecca Ferguson and Gill Clough.

Technology is rapidly developing and is changing the world as we know it. Teachers are now excited by the implications of new technology to create better learning experiences and transform learning contexts. Augmented Education is based on research and interviews with practitioners. From primary school to higher education, the book presents practical examples for educators on new uses, conceptions and developments of learning.

The book defines augmented learning as ‘use of electronic devices to extend learner’s interaction with and perception of their current environment to include and bring to life different times, spaces, characters and possibilities’. The authors look deep into augmenting learning in the “real world” by use of “virtual technology” and, vice versa, using the “physical world” to augment learning in “virtual environments”. Readers will learn how this mash up of the real and virtual can translate into new learning possibilities, tools and environments. In the end, the book presents interesting predictions on how augmented learning will develop in the future.

You can find out more about the book here: http://www.palgrave.com/us/book/9781137342812#aboutBook.

index

The list of great Physics applications for PASCO’s new Smart Cart keeps on growing!

smartcart

This fantastic new video previews 15 activities in just over 3 minutes. So fasten your seatbelt and prepare to be entertained as PASCO’s two seasoned physics specialists, Brett Sackett and J.J. Plank, go into high gear to present a very colourful demonstration of some of the best ways to use a Smart Cart in the classroom.

banner-composite_sized_4On August third, PASCO Scientific won Teach & Learnings  ‘International Society for Technology in Education 2016 Best of Show Award’ for their cutting edge wireless sensors. These sensors connect directly to computers, tablets, smart phones and Chromebooks which provide the freedom and flexibility without compromise for a lower price.

You can read the complete article here or find out more about PASCO’s range of wireless sensors here.

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  • A big thanks for all the help and support you provided – I want to take some time to say a big thanks for all the help and support you provided me to select the best equipment in order to make the best possible use of the funds available. It is really exceptional that you happily connected with me multiple times even during the weekend and was always motivated to help. Please accept my big thanks for this.

    Gurpreet Sidhu | Physics Instructor | University College of North | The Pas, MB

  • Wireless Spectrometer Big Hit With Students – PASCO’s wireless spectrometer has been utilized very well by our earth science and physical science teachers. It’s an excellent piece of equipment and we have very much enjoyed its addition to enriching our classroom. It definitely brings students to a higher level of understanding wave interaction at a molecular level.

    Matt Tumbach | Secondary Instructional Technology Leader | Tommy Douglas Collegiate | Saskatoon, SK

  • Excellent Smart Cart – I thought the cart was excellent. The quick sampling rate for force will be very useful for momentum and collision labs we do. I’m recommending we include this in our order for next school year.

    Reed Jeffrey | Science Department Head | Upper Canada College | Toronto ON

  • Your lab equipment is of the highest quality and technical support is always there to help. During the 25 years we have used a wide array of lab equipment including computer interfacing. Your Pasco line has a high profile in our lab and will continue to do so far into the future.

    Bob Chin | Lab Technician | Kwantlen Polytechnic University | Surrey, BC

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