The Joy of Lab Design

I’ve been a theorist and an experimentalist at different times throughout my career.  When at university, theory won out over experimental but now, as a teacher of high school, experimental easily wins.  There is nothing like watching students figure out problems, deduce scientific laws and test theories.  The old problem was the equipment.

What can I do with ticker-tape?

How responsive are the thermometers?

How reliable is the data?

How big are the errors?

Is it going to work?

But now, with my PASCO equipment, things are changing.  I’m more excited and so are my colleagues.  The students are picking up on that excitement too.  The labs we’ve done for decades are being updated.  However, the real joy is in designing new ones.

Since September I’ve created three new labs besides updating the other eight I do.  One for kinematics, one for gravity and one for momentum.  The momentum one is great because we were never able to do a reliable lab before.  Using the Smart Carts and Sparkvue the kids are designing safe barriers and analyzing crashes.  My favourite part of that lab is having the students figure out if movies are lying to you when they show a person getting shot, flying backwards through a window, and landing a few metres on the other side of it.  We can recreate the situation with the Smart Cart acting as the bullet and looking at the forces involved.

This screenshot represents a head-on collision between two smart carts.  They were released at different times to offset v-t graphs.

As I was working on the design of the labs and testing them out, my colleagues and administration stopped by.  They all wanted to see what I was up to.  They could see my excitement.  They were infected.  Two team members went away and started designing their own labs.  We are talking more, sharing more and the kids benefit from it.

We can ask deeper questions because the data is more reliable and relatable.  We can do so much with the carts and are figuring out more each time.  Labs in physics 12 were hard because of analysis to 2-D.  We are creating labs for them.    The goal is a least two new labs a month.  The labs are also not so cookie-cutter.  They don’t always have to be quantitative.  They are exploring more and, hopefully, learning more.

All of this is possible because of the Smart Carts, Sparkvue and the joy of lab design.

 


Sign Up For Our Newsletter - Get Info About New Products & Teaching Ideas

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

  • 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

  • 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

Canada's leading source for science and engineering teaching equipment

Contact Us

7-233 Speers Road
Oakville, ON Canada L6K 0J5
Toll Free: 1-877-967-2726
Phone: 905-337-5938
Fax: 1-877-807-2726
Technical Support: 1-877-967-2726  ext. 713
PASCO Support: 1-800-772-8700 ext. 1004
Order Form : Download .xls | Download .pdf