Probeware & Cross-Curricular Critical Thinking
Marina Petrychkovch is the Head of Science at Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School and has been teaching for 13 years. “I am a big advocate for the proper and effective use of technology in the classroom, and a strong believer in inquiry and project based learning” says Marina. “Inquiry based learning is critical to students’ understanding of science, which is enhanced through the use of sensors. Datalogging promotes creativity and enables students to benefit from an authentic learning environment based on real data. Our school has a wide selection of PASCO sensors and a Capstone site license. PASCO has a huge variety of sensors – they are easy to use, come with a fantastic warranty and allow for quick and accurate collection of data.”
“For the last eight years of my teaching career I have focused on how I can use probeware to help me turn traditional ‘cookie cutter labs’ into open ended inquiry investigations that promote student engagement and critical thinking. Today, all of our senior science students design and carry out an open-ended experiment using probes. By the end of the course, students have completed number of labs, have had a chance to design at least two experiments, and have received lots of descriptive feedback to be able to successfully design their summative lab which is worth 10% of their final mark. Over the course, students acquire critical scientific investigation skills, which they can apply to their own experimental design and investigations by asking their own questions.
Students that are enrolled in biology and chemistry are encouraged to conduct a cross-curricular lab. They design an experiment to see how different colored light affects the production of O2 gas and the consumption of CO2 gas during photosynthesis of spinach leaves. Over the course of four days, students work in teams to design and conduct the experiment. The project culminates with the presentation of a report and an interview with both chemistry and biology teachers.”
“Students use the CO2/O2 probes to monitor both gases under different light sources. The spectrometer is used with DCPIP dye to determine the rate of photosynthesis. Students also investigate whether chloroplasts are necessary for reduction of DCPIP, and whether light is a key factor for reduction. Students quickly grasp the cross-curricular aspects of the experiment.
Procedure: DCPIP becomes colorless when reduced. It has a higher affinity for electrons than ferredoxin which mediates electron transfer in photosynthesis. Thus, instead of reducing NADP+ in the electron transport chain, DCPIP is reduced. This process results in DCPIP reducing in light absorbance when added to chlorophyll as it photosynthesizes which can be quantified using a spectrometer. Biology Application: Using spectrometer students test and determine the wavelength of light (red, blue, green light etc). Using CO2/O2 probes they monitor both gases under different light sources/colors and then calculate the rate. Chemistry Application: Students prepare the spinach chlorophyll extract, add DCPIP and use the spectrometer to monitor percentage of transmittance values over time by periodically exposing cuvette to light and measuring transmittance over time.” Cross Curricular Experiential Learning Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, Mississauga, ON
- Capstone Software – UI-5400
- Oxygen Sensor – PS-2126A
- Carbon Dioxide Sensor – PS-2110
- Spectrometer – PS-2600
- Spectrometry Software – FREE