PIQUA — The Piqua High School science department welcomed new technology to the department this year in the form of hand-held sensor interface monitors.
“They’re hand-held monitors, and you can plug different sensors into them,” said PHS science teacher Shawn Agne, who teaches physics and physical science. They can gather data from the monitors, but they also now connect to Chromebooks.
It was with the help of the federal Title V Rural Education Grant that PHS was able to purchase this new Vernier lab equipment.
In one lab that Agne is setting up for his students, the students will be learning about the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy while measuring the speed of miniature cars with the monitors. The cars will be hooked up to a small track, and the students will push the car back against a spring before releasing it. One of sensors hooked up to the Vernier monitors will help measure the speed of the car, allowing the students to get to the data faster than if they had used stopwatches.
“We can push a car through there, and they’ll tell how fast it’s going,” Agne said. The students will then be able to analyze whether the car is going as fast as it should be based on the potential energy it had.
“Physics and chemistry are the two main two that use them,” said PHS science teacher Megan Askins, who teaches biology.
The monitors are allowing the students to access data faster, which is also allowing them to complete more labs, whereas otherwise they might not have been able to do as many labs due to the labs being more time-consuming. Some labs might take two days to complete while others might take a week.
Agne also explained that the students are able to use their own data to learn about the math behind the data and further analyze their experiments.
“It’s good for the kids. They’re generating their own data,” Agne said. “But it’s the first time that the kids have actually looked at the data and tried to come up with their own equations and figure out what’s going on.”
Access to that equipment is also giving the students an edge for the future. “It’s things that you will be able to work with in college,” Askins said.
If the students take college physics or other science courses, they will already be familiar with this equipment that they will use in their labs, she noted.
“They have the advantage to use it sooner,” Askins said.
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336