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Connecting Ontario’s New Science Curriculum to PASCO’s STEM Sense Products

To some degree, all technology today includes coding. With coding becoming more relevant than ever, Ontario science courses are now integrating coding into the curriculum.

The Ontario Grade 9 science curriculum states:

Coding environments allow for rapid ideating, prototyping, testing, and evaluating as students refine and debug their projects.

One way students can apply these skills is through robotics. The PASCObot is a fun way to teach students about data, robotics, programming, and sense and control. Using Blockly coding, students can make the PASCObot move, navigate and avoid objects, follow a line or path, and many more. The PASCObot encourages students to problem solve and overcome challenges to achieve a goal.

In the Ontario Grade 9 science course, a key goal is:

Providing students with the skills and knowledge required to apply engineering design processes to help find solutions to complex problems.

The //control.Node Sense & Control Kit includes materials and instructions for six projects that use elements of the engineering design process to turn on lights, run a cooling fan, open doors, launch rubber bands, and more. The activities allow students to gain skills in designing, building, and problem-solving by writing and executing code.

I had the opportunity of trying two of the projects associated with the kit:

In the Engineering a Winch activity, students engineer a device that can lift and place down an object. In this activity, you start by putting together a pulley device using a winch wheel and a high-speed stepper motor. By measuring the circumference of the wheel, you can calculate the number of rotations required to move the string and magnet a certain distance to pick up a paperclip. Using Blockly coding, students have to find a way to program the wheel to rotate according to the measurements taken.

The Nightlight activity teaches students how coding with loops and conditions can be used in a real-life setting. By covering the light sensor on the //code.Node, students can analyze how brightness is affected by looking at the live data on SPARKvue. This provides students with data that they can interpret to create code that will turn the light bulb on when brightness is below a certain percentage.

A key change in the biology portion of the Grade 9 science curriculum is:

Students will have an opportunity to learn about the many factors that contribute to ecosystem sustainability, including soil health, air and water quality, biodiversity, and succession. 

The Greenhouse Sense & Control Kit provides experiments that encourage students to gain hands-on experience in each of these topics. Students can design, build, program, and study their very own greenhouse.

In our experience with the Greenhouse Sense & Control Kit, we decided to design an environment for a Ring of Fire Pepper Plant. We had to research conditions that would be essential for the plant to grow. This included factors such as relative humidity, temperature, soil moisture, hours of sunlight, and how much water it needs each week. The Greenhouse Sense & Control kit provides the materials for students to design the greenhouse for the plants’ needs. Through code, you can program a fan, grow light, and irrigation system to provide the optimal conditions for your plant. This teaches students how changes due to soil, water, air, and temperature in an ecosystem can affect a plant’s growth in good and bad ways. The activities provided by this kit allow students to learn about ecosystem sustainability firsthand and in real-time.

PASCO Wins Two Best of STEM Awards

Originally posted on pasco.com July 21, 2022.

Educators chose the PASCO Meter Stick Torque Set as the 2022 winner for Best of STEM: Physics and PASCO’s STEM Sense & Control Kits for Best of STEM: Engineering.

We are thrilled to share that the PASCO Meter Stick Torque Set and STEM Sense & Control Kits have been named winners of the 2022 Educators Pick Best of STEM Awards! This year’s competition was stiff, and it is an honor to have our innovations recognized by the program’s distinguished educator judges. Check out highlights from their reviews below!

PASCO has reinvented the Meter Stick Torque Kit into a core piece of equipment in the STEM toolkit. The Meter Stick Torque Set is integrated with all of PASCO’s other products (and others by other manufacturers), and has various online experiments, videos, and teacher resources, so that it can easily be incorporated into lesson plans.

– Judge, Educators Pick Best of STEM Awards

PASCO’s STEM Sense & Control connects students to the science and engineering of tomorrow. Smart homes are becoming increasingly more sophisticated, and through the use of the STEM Sense & Control [line], students can learn by designing their own engineering products. It’s real-world learning for today’s connected students.

– Judge, Educators Pick Best of STEM Awards

Getting Started With The Greenhouse Sense and Control Kit

For the past week, Mia and I have been working on a new project involving a pepper plant named Pete, the SPARKvue software, and PASCO’s new Greenhouse Sense and Control Kit. Pete is a Ring of Fire pepper plant which thrives in temperatures between 26-29 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity of around 70%. We knew that we had to set up Pete’s optimal conditions if we wanted him to grow and produce any peppers, so Mia and I immediately got to work on it. We started by setting up the greenhouse itself, including the fan and grow light accessories, followed by the greenhouse sensor which includes a soil moisture probe and the temperature, humidity, and light sensing pc board. Once we connected the //control.Node to our laptop we were able to begin the programming process. Using the information available on the PASCO website, we were able to create simple code designed to regulate the temperature and relative humidity by activating the fan accessory anytime the relative humidity level went over 75% and deactivating the fan accessory once the level drops back down to 70%. This would keep the relative humidity within the desired 70-75% window. We also found that this would keep the temperature of the greenhouse between 25-26 degrees Celsius, ensuring that ideal conditions for the Ring of Fire pepper were met.

 

The Greenhouse Sense and Control kit contained a wide variety of equipment which allowed us to monitor the temperature and relative humidity inside the Eco Chamber. The values collected during this process helped us to create the code we needed on SPARKvue to regulate Pete’s environment easily. This code was uploaded to the //control.Node so that it would run throughout the off-hours without any constant monitoring, which was very convenient for Mia and myself, and ensured that Pete would be well taken care of in our absence.

Pete was watered manually about 3 times throughout the work week to keep him hydrated and to regulate the moisture levels of the soil, and we made sure to give him multiple hours under the grow light each day, and before long we noticed that small flower bulbs began to appear. This week, we will be focusing on maintaining the optimal environment for Pete’s success so that he continues to grow and flower. We also want to experiment more with the USB water pump, and aim to create a watering or drip irrigation system within the greenhouse!

 

As a future environmental engineer, I’ve truly enjoyed working with the Greenhouse Sense and Control Kit. Being able to grow a plant right here in the office has been a really great opportunity, and it’s allowed me to apply the experience gathered from my studies of soil and water to a really interesting project, as well as expand my knowledge!

Assumption College Visit

Yesterday we visited Department Head David Page and the Science Department at Assumption College School in Brantford, Ontario.

We demonstrated a variety of PASCO products including the newest additions, the Greenhouse Sense and Control Kit and PASCObot as well as PASCO classics including the Basic Optics System, and award-winning Smart Cart.

It was great to be back in person interacting with teachers! We discussed ways to integrate PASCO products into the classroom to create a fun, educational, and hands-on environment for students.

We were very impressed with Assumption College’s extensive PASCO collection and how they are using multi-generations of PASCO in tandem for their labs.

Thank you to David Page for arranging the visit and we are looking forward to visiting more schools in the future!

Stream data from PASCO Wireless Sensors directly to Microsoft Excel with the PASCO Data Streamer app

The PASCO Data Streamer app enables Windows® 10 users to stream real-time data from PASCO Wireless Sensors into Microsoft® Excel. All that’s required is a compatible PASCO Wireless Sensor, the PASCO Data Streamer App, and the Office 365 Excel® Data Streamer Add-in.

PASCO Data Streamer
Data Streamer Information Graphic

1 Download the Windows® App

Install the PASCO Data Streamer app for Windows® 10 by opening the Microsoft Store on your Windows computer and searching for PASCO Data Streamer.

The Windows® app is free. Visit the app’s product page in the Microsoft Store »

2 Download the Excel Add-in

Download the Microsoft® Excel Data Streamer Add-in using your O365 subscription.

Don’t have a subscription? Click here to get free access to Office 365 Education for you and your students.

For complete installation information, please visit the PASCO Data Streamer Help Guide.


Boyle’s Law Sample Excel Workbook

Boyles Law Workbook

Acid Base Titration
Excel Workbook

Acid Base Titration Workbook

Conductivity Sensor
Excel Workbook

Conductivity Sensor Workbook

pH & Temperature Sensors
Excel Workbook

pH & Temperature Sensor Workbook


The following PASCO Wireless Sensors can be used with the PASCO Data Streamer app:

  • Wireless Acceleration/Altimeter
  • Wireless Blood Pressure Sensor
  • Wireless CO2 Sensor
  • Wireless Conductivity Sensor
  • Wireless Current Sensor
  • Wireless Current Sensor Module
  • Wireless Diffraction Scanner
  • Wireless Drop Counter
  • Wireless Force Acceleration Sensor
  • Wireless Light Sensor
  • Wireless Load Cell and Accelerometer
  • Wireless Magnetic Field Sensor
  • Wireless Motion Sensor
  • Wireless Optical Dissolved Oxygen Sensor
  • Wireless Oxygen Gas Sensor
  • Wireless pH Sensor
  • Wireless Pressure Sensor
  • Wireless Rotary Motion Sensor
  • Wireless Temperature Sensor
  • Wireless Temperature Sensor Link
  • Wireless Voltage Sensor
  • Wireless Weather Sensor with GPS

OAPT 2022

 

On Monday, June 6th, the AYVA team attended the OAPT 2022 Conference at McMaster University! Thank you to everyone who visited our table, we hope you enjoyed engaging with many PASCO products. A special thanks to the CAP and OAPT organizers for an awesome event, we are looking forward to connecting with everyone again next year!

Coding with Blockly: Displaying a Smart Cart’s Velocity Vector

Today I got to work through an experiment using PASCO’s Wireless Smart Cart and Blockly code on SPARKvue.  I followed the Blockly Extension: Vector Display lab from the PASCO Experiment Library. This lab guides you to use Blockly code to display text on the screen depending on the speed of the Smart Cart.

I connected the Smart Cart through Bluetooth to SPARKvue and read through the lab procedure. I started off by slowly moving the Smart cart along my desk while observing the velocity graph. I conducted three runs, one to determine a low velocity, a medium velocity, and a high velocity. I took note of these three velocities, as shown in the image on the right, so that they could be included within the code. After getting familiar with the lab, I copied the example code, adjusting the velocity values to the ones I recorded, as shown in the image on the left. I tested my code by clicking start and moving the Smart Cart. At first, I was not sure where to look for the displayed text. I realized I had to change my display from a graph to digits. Then, by clicking the variable being displayed, I switched from Sensors to User-entered and chose Velocity Vector (the variable I created in the Blockly code). This time when I pressed start, the vectors I assigned to each velocity displayed on the screen depending on the Smart Cart’s speed. I decided to change the text displayed from vectors to words. As shown in the video below, I used simple terms such as slow, medium, and fast to describe the carts’ velocities.

I found this lab super cool! It was my first time experimenting with the Wireless Smart Cart using Blockly code and I am looking forward to coding more products.

Getting Ready for OAPT using the PASCO Basic Optics System

This past week we got to work with the PASCO Basic Optics System, OS-8515C. Using components of the kit, we were able to try out some introductory optics experiments. To start off, we used the Ray Table, the D-Shaped Lens, and the Light Source to perform a simple refraction experiment, using the PASCO Refraction lab as guidance as shown in the image on the left. This experiment was very easy to set up. All you need to do is plug in the Light Source and follow the instructions in the Refraction lab document. This experiment explores Snell’s Law, describing the relationship between angles of incidence and refraction.

We also conducted the PASCO Virtual Images lab which involved the use of the PASCO Optics Track, Light Source, Lenses, and Viewing Screen. This allowed us to make observations on the virtual image produced by the light source and lenses. By going through this lab, we made multiple observations, for instance, when using the -150 mm concave lens and looking through it the image is upright, smaller, and closer to the lens than the object. When we add the +200 mm convex lens between the concave lens and the screen, a real image is formed on the screen mirrored, inverted, and smaller. After removing the concave lens, the image remained mirrored, inverted, and the image became blurry. The Light Source had to be moved closer to the screen for the image to become clear. We found this lab to be very interesting, making use of many of the components from the Basic Optics System and expanding our knowledge of optics.

If you want to know more about this product as well as other interesting PASCO products, come see us at the OAPT Conference at McMaster University on Monday June 6th!

Our First Experience with the PASCObot

Coming out of our second year of Engineering at the University of Guelph, we have a newly developed appreciation for working with laboratory equipment. Having missed out on much of our in person labs throughout first year due to the pandemic, we have truly enjoyed being able to interact with the lab equipment this school year in our Fluid Mechanics and Material Science Courses.

This past week, we got to unbox and assemble PASCO’s new PASCObot Sense and Control Kit, giving us an introduction to robotics and simple block coding. We started by assembling the PASCObot body using the instructions. The assembly consisted of screwing on the High Speed Stepper Motors and the wheels. This was followed by plugging in the wires of the motors to the //control.node, screwing in the hold-down and the top frame as shown. The instructions were easy to follow and the box contained everything needed including the screwdriver. Within the kit, there are multiple attachments designed for different applications and activities.

The first attachment we tested was the Gripper, shown in the photo on the left, which consists of two servo motors which attached to the //control.node. These motors allowed the Gripper to open and close its jaws as well as angle them up or down according to the given code. This was an interesting experiment that demonstrated several experimental applications of the PASCObot. For instance, setting up the code was quite simple. In the instructions, it explains how to get started with SPARKvue. The //control.node connects to the software using Bluetooth. The code is presented in a block-like manner, each instruction being in the shape of a puzzle piece. All you have to do is drag one of the puzzle pieces from the Code tool or import them from the PASCO code library, connecting them from top to bottom in the order you want them to function. Each block/puzzle piece states exactly what you want it to do. For example, to make the PASCObot move forward 50 cm, you would select the block “moveADistance with: _ cm” from the PASCO code library and type 50. Students may need a demonstration on how to navigate the code tool however, we were able to figure it out quickly, without having any previous experience with SPARKvue.

This inspired us to film a short clip in which the PASCObot would move a certain distance, turn left, grab a cup of water, turn right, and bring this cup to us. We started by measuring and marking a course then coding the robot using the measurements taken, as shown in the image on the right. We were able to successfully complete this task without spilling any water, and this allowed us to become more familiar with the system.

We then moved on to using the Range Finder Module, shown in the image on the left. This accessory was attached in the front of the PASCObot with two screws. A wire was then used to connect the Range Finder Module to the //control.node. The Range Finder Module uses infrared light to detect the distance from the PASCObot to objects. We followed the “Roving with Sight with the PASCObot” experiment from the PASCO Experiment Library and used the sample code. The code allowed the PASCObot to move on its own, avoiding objects, reacting to its surroundings, and maneuvering around the office floor independently. We found working with the PASCObot super cool and we are excited to try out more experiments.

 

 

 

 

 

Wireless Sensors are Now Stocked in Oakville!

Many of PASCO’s wireless sensors are now stocked in Oakville, Ontario.

If you need something quickly, please give us a call @ 877-967-2726. We can ship across Canada for delivery within a few days for all Canadian stocked items.

Here is a list of what is currently available!

Smart Carts
Red: ME-1240
Blue: ME-1241

Wireless pH Sensor
PS-3204

Wireless Light Sensor
PS-3213

Wireless Spectrometer
PS-2600

Wireless Temperature Sensor
PS-3201

Wireless Oxygen Sensor
PS-3217

Wireless Sound Sensor
PS-3227

Wireless EKG Sensor
PS-3236

Wireless Spirometer
PS-3234

Wireless Force Sensor
PS-3202

Wireless Soil Moisture Sensor
PS-3228

Airlink
PS-3200

Wireless Acceleration Sensor
PS-3223

Wireless Colorimeter
PS-3215

Wireless Pressure Sensor
PS-3203

Wireless Rotary Motion Sensor
PS-3220

Wireless Temperature Link
PS-3222

Wireless Conductivity Sensor
PS-3210

 


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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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Technical Support: 1-877-967-2726  ext. 713
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Order Form:  2022 AYVA Order Form

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