Give a scientist a sensor…

(a reflection on hosting a pro-d event)

I recently hosted my first ever professional development event.  Usually, at the local level, there aren’t many opportunities for science types.  There just aren’t enough of us and we specialize so there isn’t much common talk beyond ‘how can we get the students to love and learn science more?’.  That is why I went out of comfort zone to host an event on sensors.  I’m still not an expert on my physics equipment from PASCO let along the sensors for the other branches but I thought it was worth the shot.

How do I do a pro-d event that engages the audience?  How could I hook the teachers in attendance?  The answer was easy.  Not for me to stand there and talk at them.  No!  They needed to do science!  They needed to use the sensors.  So, that’s what we did.

I set up several stations in my room.  One for physics, one for bio, one for chem and outside for earth science.  Each station required the use of an appropriate sensor (motion, CO2, pH and weather) and a task.  I gave them as little instruction as possible beyond how to use SPARKVue.  I wanted them to experience what their students would.

I expected only my department to show up.  That is still 13 people.  I had middle school and elementary teachers show up as well.  How would they do?  The hours flew by.  I didn’t need to worry about filling the time; we needed more.  There was a buzz that you don’t hear at staff meetings.  They were engaged.  They were loving it.  They were hooked on sensors.

What I loved most was the talk on how they could use it for their classes.  I wanted to get their ideas because they would know better than I.  Every teacher left with an idea on how the sensors could be used…if only we had more.
When the day was over I was asked to host more of these.  It was very easy to say yes.


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    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.

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  • Datalogging Activities are Cross-Curricular

    Throughout the province of Nova Scotia, PASCO’s probeware technology has been merged with the rollout of the new P-6 curriculum. We chose a number of sensors for use with our project-based activities. Both the functionality and mobility of PASCO’s dataloggers enable students to collect authentic, real-world data, test their hypotheses and build knowledge.

    What we find important to a successful implementation and adoption by teachers is showing that the probes are not a ‘standalone technology’. The datalogging activities are very cross-curricular and can incorporate math, english, science, and geography outcomes.

    We are excited to learn more about PASCO’s new weather sensor because our students enjoy projects where they can share and compare their data with weather stations from around the world and be part of a global community.

    Mark Richards | Technology Integration Consultant | Annapolis Valley R.S.B. | Nova Scotia

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