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Introducing PASCO’s New Wireless CO2 Sensor

The ability to easily and affordably measure CO2 levels is great news for Biology and Environmental Science teachers.

PASCO’s new Wireless CO2 Sensor communicates directly with a wide range of Bluetooth equipped computers without requiring an expensive interface.

Ambient environmental Carbon Dioxide levels are typically very low. This means any experimental changes to CO2 levels tend to be significant in percentage terms providing convincing and reliable evidence of the phenomenon being studied.

Investigations based on the wireless CO2 sensors are easy to setup and they work.

Other opportunities for CO2 investigations include:

  • Cell Respiration
  • Photosynthesis
  • Metabolism of cold blooded animals
  • Enzyme activity
  • Fermentation
  • Indoor & Outdoor CO2 levels
  • Pollution
  • Decomposition

 

The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) is equipping their communities’ grade 7 and 8 science classrooms with PASCO sensors

The Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey (MK) is equipping their communities’ grade 7 and 8 science classrooms with PASCO sensors on the heels of their 2016 purchase for elementary schools

IN 2016 the MK facilitated the purchase of a comprehensive package of science probes for their member communities’ elementary schools. The probes enable students to collect real world measurements to help in their understanding of concepts relating to temperature, light, sound, weather and life sciences. To ensure that the teachers were comfortable and proficient in the use of probes a full-day training session was provided at a central location.

This year the MK continues to ensure that their communities’ pupils have equivalent access to instructional technology by equipping their middle school programs with a range of wireless sensors for teaching grades 7 and 8 science. The sensors acquired include Temperature, Pressure, Light, and Conductivity which they look forward to using with their Chromebook computers.

In addition to equipping middle school grades, the MK will also pilot a comprehensive set of probes at one of their communities’ High School.

Allan Mackenzie, the MK’s Technology Integration Specialist, coordinated this year’s acquisition after extensive consultations with both teachers and AYVA’s Product Specialists.

AYVA is delighted to be working with MK and look forward to supporting their schools for many years to come.

Show Me The Money! Multiple strategies for funding your Wireless Sensor Purchase

It seems that many public schools are operating with science budgets that haven’t increased in over 20 years and are barely sufficient to purchase the consumable requirements for the year.   However, despite this wide spread apparent lack of funds many schools are still finding the means to make a significant investment in wireless sensor technology. When possible we ask our customers how their purchase is being funded. See below for a summary of the range of responses we’ve received. Regardless of the funding source, the following points are often incorporated in the successful grant proposals.

Wireless sensors:

  • Support a STEM approach to teaching/learning
  • Are superb tools for Formative and Summative Assessment
  • Support Inquiry-based Learning
  • Are compatible with BOYD, iPad and Chromebook initiatives
  • Are extremely portable and can be easily shared throughout the school
  • Are very durable and may outlast your teaching career

Click here for a presentation on the educational arguments for wireless sensors:

Popular Funding Sources

  • Your Science Budget
    • You can purchase a probe ‘system’ for as little as $71 (the cost of a Wireless Temperature sensor). Wireless sensors are very affordable because no interface is required and the Sparkvue software can be downloaded at no charge. At these prices there is no need to wait for a windfall of new money to get started.
  • Your Principal
    • Most schools have discretionary funds that are controlled by their principals. With competing interests these funds can be challenging to access, however with the right pitch and supporting documentation you just might be able to sway some additional dollars in your science departments direction. Your principal will like the fact that probes can be easily shared, and that they support STEM approaches to learning.
  • Your Board’s Technology Funding Grants
    • We often get sizeable orders from schools that have received an internal grant from their board to fund a technology initiative. The orders sometimes accompany and an iPad or Chromebook purchase. Try reaching out to an instructional technology resource contact in your board to see what funding opportunities might be available.
  • New Schools
    • Those fortunate enough to be teaching in a school within the first few years of opening have the opportunity to get their science program started on the right foot. We have lots of experience in equipping new schools with sensors and would be very happy to assist you in compiling a list of instructional materials to support all areas of the science curriculum.
  • Corporate Advertised Grants
    • Many Corporations offer provincial and national grants to fund educational projects. To see some of the currently offered grants being offered check our grant and scholarship section of our website. These grant can be quite generous and are definitely worth checking out.
  • Non Advertised Corporate Grants
    • Corporations receive significant tax breaks and enjoy the good will which is generated when they fund educational initiatives. Although many larger companies have allocated budgets for grants and sponsorships, they’re not typically publicized. This is where following the credo ‘it never hurts to ask’ can really work to your school’s advantage. To start you might want to approach a close friend or relative whose company you feel may be good candidate.
  • Your Parent Council
    • Parent councils love to fund the purchase of science probes. Councils take great pride in their schools and are easily persuaded of the potential for probes to make a tangible difference in their children’s education. Parents also recognize that career opportunities in STEM are more plentiful and financially rewarding than other paths and are keen to support technologies that make science more engaging.
      Be sure to share the ‘Imagine Wireless’ presentation with the council.

 

 

This activity will take your breath away!

Respiration is a process in a living organism that involves the exchange of Oxygen and Carbon Dioxide. When humans breathe oxygen is inhaled into the lungs and then absorbed into the blood stream. Carbon dioxide of course flows in the opposite direction and is exhaled. Over the course of day this continuous cycle is carried out 19,000 times. But what happens when we interrupt the cycle by holding our breath?

Our test subject in the video explores what happens to his lung’s CO2 levels when holding his breath for varying times.

Results

Materials Used

Wireless CO2 Sensor PS-3208 $309 (Available Summer 2017)

A Valentines Day Experiment

Forces of Attraction

Valentine’s Day is here and attractive forces are on everyone’s mind. In science, a general rule is “opposites attract.” In solution chemistry, there is another saying, “like dissolves like.”

Although “like dissolves like” sounds as if it contradicts “opposites attract,” it is actually an extension of the same physical phenomenon. For example, polar molecules will be attracted to other polar molecules through the attraction of the opposite partial charges on the atoms. Therefore, charged (or partially charged) solutes will dissolve in charged (or partially charged) solvents. So “like does dissolve like.”

Hydrogen bonding will occur between the polar -OH group on the ethanol molecule and the polar water molecule.

A quick demonstration highlighting “like dissolves like” can be performed with some canola oil, water, and a colored ionic compound such as copper(II) chloride.

  • Mix the water and the oil together.
    • There is a phase separation because they are not “like” enough. (The oil is nonpolar while the water is polar.)
  • Add copper(II) chloride.
    • The ionic copper(II) chloride passes through the oil layer and into the water layer, where it dissolves and the water layer turns a blue-green.

Copper chloride dissolves in the water layer but not in the oil layer.

To demonstrate nonpolar solubility, you can use hexane, water, and iodine. In this case, the nonpolar iodine will dissolve in and color the nonpolar hexane, but it will not affect the polar water. London dispersion forces can be used to explain the nonpolar–nonpolar interaction.

Finally, you can create an inquiry experiment for your students by having them determine if unknown compounds are more polar or nonpolar, based on their relative solubility in water. If you are testing unknown compounds that are not colored, you can measure another property of the mixture, such as pH or conductivity, using the Wireless pH or Wireless Conductivity Sensors, to determine if the solute will dissolve in the polar solvent.

With these quick demonstrations and activities, you can use the students’ established ideas about forces of attraction to introduce the important concepts of molecular structure and “like dissolves like.”

Related Products:

Congratulations to the Science Fair Winners at Lambton-Kingsway Jr Middle School

Lambton-Kingsway School has enjoyed a long-standing tradition of community involvement and academic excellence, so it was no surprise to see so many family members turn out yesterday for the final judging of the Grade 6, 7 and 8 Science Fair.

As principal Kelly Caddel noted, this initiative started back in the fall, and it represents a significant commitment by students and teachers alike.

AYVA was happy to sponsor an award for each of the grade level winners who will be moving on to the Regional Competition.  We were pleased to see how enthusiastic Lambton’s students were about pursuing their STEM-related investigations… it was inquiry-based learning at its best!

Pictured above are just some of this year’s Science Fair Projects and junior scientists – all of whom were excited to articulate and showcase their findings.

Rethinking Science: Five Reasons Why Science Probes Are More Affordable Than Ever Before

Five Reasons Why Science Probes Are More Affordable Than Ever Before

  1. PASCO’s new range of wireless sensors do not require an interface to connect to a computer. Interfaces have traditionally ranged in price from several hundred to over a thousand dollars!
  2. PASCO now offers a free SPARKvue app that can be easily downloaded onto iPads, iPhones, Chromebooks and Android devices.
  3. Wireless sensors and the Sparkvue software require minimal training costs. The sensors are remarkably easy to use and the SPARKvue software is very intuitive. To help you get started AYVA and PASCO provide no charge, toll-free teacher support as well as a library of short instructional ‘How to’ videos.
  4. A wide range of free activities can be downloaded at no charge from the PASCO website. The growing list of available activities support all subjects and grade levels
  5. No need to buy designated computers. PASCO’s wireless sensors are also compatible with low cost tablets and Chromebooks (as well as students’ phones). The Sparkvue software provides the same functionality and experience on all platforms!

Did you know that the low cost, single channel wireless Airlink molds to your existing PASport sensors to make them wireless? This means you can enjoy many of the cost saving benefits of wireless sensors with your current inventory of ‘wired’ sensors.

Wireless Sensor Contest Winner

Stephen_Jacobs

Stephen Jacobs of St Francis Xavier Secondary School in Mississauga dropped by AYVA’s offices last Friday to pick up the class set of wireless temperature sensors that he won in our recent contest and to share with us some of the experiments in which he is going to use the sensors.

Please stay turned to our blog for a guest post by Stephen!

We are always looking for educators to contribute to our blog. If you have something to share please contact us here: /contact.html

Augmented Education – Bringing Real and Virtual Learning Together

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 Reason for Seasons

Students often have the misconception that the distance from the sun is the main factor for the change in season. If that were the case, then the Northern and Southern Hemispheres would have the same seasons at the same time of the year, when in fact they are opposite.

Enlighten your students by modeling the movement of the Earth with some simple items. The setup pictured below includes a lamp to model the sun, a globe, a Wireless Light Sensor adhered to the globe with Velcro, and a meter stick to address those pesky misconceptions.

1

First we can look at the January in the Norther Hemisphere. Students should note the latitude and measure the light intensity using SPARKvue.

2

Then adhere the Wireless Light Sensor to the Southern Hemisphere at the same latitude as before, but well below the equator to measure the light intensity there.

3

The “brighter” students in the class will notice that tilt of the Earth has greatly affected the angle of the sensor relative to the lamp. Does the angle of incidence also affect the intensity of the light? The debate may be intense, but let students create a hypothesis before they collect data, then check the data to find out!

4

With the Earth is at this angle, there is a lot more light coming into the Southern Hemisphere. The amount of light that hits the an area on surface of the Earth is called insolation. The tilt of the Earth affects the solar insolation which is the reason we need insulation for the winter in the norther hemisphere while the Southern Hemisphere experiences summer. For students who assumed the seasons were based on the distance from the sun, this is truly a light bulb moment!

What is happening when the Earth is half-way around its orbit? No need to wait six months, we can fast forward to July simply by moving the globe to the other side of the lamp. Use the meter stick to make sure the globe is equidistant from the “sun” and affix the Wireless Light Sensor to the Northern Hemisphere.

5

The tit of the Earth hasn’t changed, but now the Northern Hemisphere is pointing more directly toward the lamp. Next we can move the sensor to the southern hemisphere to see if it is still as dazzling as before.

6

We can illuminate the effect by once again checking the data.

7

The light intensities have flipped from the previous run as the angle of incidence has changed. Now the Northern Hemisphere basks in the sun, while the Southern Hemisphere needs some insulation due to a lack of insolation.

Using SPARKvue software we can get a year in review by comparing the data.

8

Throughout this brilliant activity, student should see that the amount of light hitting the Earth’s surface at different parts of the year is based on the tilt of the Earth about its axis, not the distance from the sun. Hopefully, this activity has shed some light on the true reason for the seasons.


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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

  • 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.

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

  • We have a large number of PASCO wireless spectrometers and love how they have improved the learning experience for our students.

    Shawn McFadden | Technical Specialist | Ryerson University | Toronto, Ontario

  • During distance learning due to COVID-19 school shut down, I was given a short window to collect what I could from my classroom to teach online. The PASCO wireless sensors and Smart Carts were my top priority to collect to implement distance learning. By sharing experimental data with students via SPARKVue, the sensors were pivotal in creating an online experience that still allowed students to grow with their lab skills. It was easy to record videos of the data collection and share the data with my students. They did a phenomenal job examining and interpreting the data.


    Michelle Brosseau | Physics Teacher | Ursuline College Chatham | Chatham, Ontario

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