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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

PASCO Products

  • Capstone Software – UI-5400
  • Oxygen Sensor – PS-2126A
  • Carbon Dioxide Sensor – PS-2110
  • Spectrometer – PS-2600
  • Spectrometry Software – FREE

Success Stories

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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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