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Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (EECD) Chooses PASCO Science Solutions to Support an Innovative Curriculum.

In 2015, the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development launched an Action Plan for Education to renew, refocus, and rebuild the education system for the first time in a generation.  As part of its efforts to create an innovative and streamlined curriculum in grades 4–6, the Department has purchased PASCO® Scientific science solutions for nearly 300 elementary schools from PASCO Canada.

AYVA Educational Solutions Ltd.The PASCO science solutions will be part of the Department of Education’s curriculum resource kit for grades 4–6. It will include SPARKvue®, a powerful yet easy to use science application that delivers data collection, visualization, and analysis tools in a content-rich, standards-based science learning and sharing environment. It will also include the PASPORT General Science Sensor, Weather Sensor, and Weather/Anemometer Sensor, as well as the AirLink interface, which will allow students to wirelessly connect the PASPORT sensors to their Chromebooks or iPads. Training will begin in May and the new streamlined curriculum resource kits will be introduced to students in the fall.

“Sensor-based investigations support inquiry-based learning and help students develop scientific literacy and technological literacy,” said Eric Therrien, information, communication and technology (ICT) mathematics and sciences consultant at the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. “The SPARKvue software and PASPORT sensors will allow students to collect, visualize, analyze, record, and assess data in and out of the classroom — all with the touch of a finger. Using these tools for data logging, students will have the opportunity to think and act like scientists, which will improve their learning and retention of core scientific concepts as well as their higher order cognitive skill development.”

Overview

Why Does The Water Taste So Bad? – The industrious middle school students at Ecole Dr. Bernard Brosseau decided to answer for themselves why the drinking fountain water tasted so foul. They were concerned that the water was not safe to drink.

Investigation

Using the Advanced Water Quality sensor the students took uncontaminated samples from the drinking fountains and carefully measured several parameters including dissolved oxygen, temperature, pH and conductivity. The results from these samples were then compared with the Canadian guidelines.

Outcome

The students were pleasantly surprised to discover that the test results were within the recommendations of the Canadian guidelines. Not yet satisfied they decided to contact the Bonnyville water treatment facility where they learned that the source of the foul was most likely due to the chlorine. The students are now trying to raise funds to install charcoal filters on all the drinking fountains. The investigation was recognized as a very special achievement. A document video describing the investigation was submitted to the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition where it was selected as a finalist and earning $20,000 in equipment for the school. Talk about making science real!

PASCO Products

  • AirLink PS-3200
  • Advanced Water Quality Sensor PS-2230
  • SparkVue Software PS-2401 -free for tablets/Chromebooks

Overview

As a progressive science teacher at Bridgewater Elementary School in Nova Scotia, Tony Eisnor has been providing his students with the opportunity to experience hands-on science. This year, the province has made a significant investment in PASCO sensor kits, equipping every single elementary school with multiple sensors and access to SPARKvue software. “My students volunteered to put on an evening presentation for parents, demonstrating the PASCO general science sensor and the weather sensor connected to iPads,” says Tony. “Every year we put on a demonstration showing how the students are using iPad technologies in the classroom for the next year’s grade 5 parents. This year we incorporated the PASCO sensors and they were a big hit.”

Investigation

“A pair of students demonstrated the use of the general sensor using the temperature probe and did an experiment using alcohol, water and mineral oil to show the different evaporation rates of liquids. The resulting data was broadcast live to the parents in the audience using the schools’ Apple TV connected to a digital projector. Another student showed how the weather sensor with anemometer is used in the grade 5 curriculum, to gather data on wind speed and gusts as well as humidity. He demonstrated the data logging capabilities of the equipment as well.”

Outcome

“When the presentation was complete, parents only had one question: ‘How many of the airlinks and sensors does the school currently have and are there plans to purchase more?’” A very successful introduction to the new technologies developed by PASCO and put into Nova Scotia classrooms!

PASCO Products

  • Sparkvue Software – FREE
  • Airlink – PS-3200
  • General Science Sensor – PS-2168
  • Weather Sensor – PS-2154A
  • Weather/Anemometer PS-2174

Overview

Located south of the Assiniboine on the western edge of the city of Winnipeg, River West Park Middle school is part of the Pembina Trails School Division and serves students in kindergarten through to grade 9. River West Park’s program aims to challenge children academically, guided by Manitoba’s provincial curriculum standards. Todd Johnson is a science teacher at River West Park Middle School, and is integrating a STEM component into his grade 8 science class through a water quality engineering design challenge.

Investigation

“My students are conducting water quality project right now where they have been tasked to design a water filter. We will then compare which group’s filter does the best job at filtering out the water” explains Todd. “Before we started the project we had an in depth water quality discussion. I then took some time to show the students how the PASCO water quality sensor works. We tried a few different water samples as a class to view how the sensor reacted to different water samples. I then used the free water quality lab in SPARKvue (projected using a tablet and ScreenBeam) to discuss the specifics of how this particular water quality sensor works (i.e.: using electrical current etc..). Students proceeded on their STEM project, by planning and designing water filters from a given set of supplies. They could choose to use whatever they wanted. Supplies included cotton balls, coffee filters, paper cups, bowls, jay cloths, clothes-pins and paper, among other items. Water samples were obtained from a local pond, and made worse by adding salt and sand. We obtained a base reading for the water sample (~8350), and then each group tested their water filter to see whose filters did the best job of creating a cleaner water sample.”

Outcome

“The results were interesting, since samples after filter use were only marginally better than the original reading.” Todd and his students used these results to brainstorm on the likely reason for such outcomes. “The students discovered that salt is not filtered in this process and that it must be the salt which accounts for most of the poor water quality reading.” “Some samples actually made the reading increase. Students were again challenged to determine the possible reasons for such an outcome. They realized that some groups had used sand in their filters, and that the sand may have added other contaminants to the water.” “I would like to expand the project with further explorations,” says Todd. “Students could investigate ways to remove salt from water and could try those methods to see how that changes the reading on the sensor.” A ‘hands-on’ STEM challenge! River West Park Middle School, 30 Stack Street Winnipeg, MB

PASCO Products

  • Sparkvue Software PS-2400
  • Water Quality Sensor PS-2230

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