Vernier Software & Technology and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) named seven innovative science and STEM teachers as winners of the 2014 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. The winning educators — one elementary teacher, two middle school teachers, three high school teachers, and one college-level educator — were selected by an NSTA-appointed panel of experts for their use of data-collection technology using a computer, graphing calculator, or other handheld device in the science classroom.
Each winner will be formally recognized at this year’s annual NSTA National Convention in Boston, Massachusetts on April 4, 2014, and will receive $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products, and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the conference.
“The use of data-collection technology provides students from kindergarten to college with the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific learning,” said David Vernier, co-founder of Vernier and a former physics teacher. “Each of this year’s award winners demonstrated truly innovative ways that probeware can enhance the teaching and learning processes in science and STEM classrooms.”
This year’s Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards’ winners include:
Category: Elementary School
Bill Burton, The Lamplighter School, Carrollton, TX
Bill Burton uses the Vernier Force Plate during a lesson that allows his first grade students to explore friction. During the investigation, students experience the forces required to overcome friction as they pull themselves across several hundred tennis balls. As they experience this activity, real-time data collected by the Force Plate is projected on the interactive whiteboard for class discussion.
Category: Middle School
David Auerbach, Cardigan Mountain School, Canaan, NH
Encouraging hands-on scientific discovery, David Auerbach has students participate in the C-Prize project, a takeoff of the X-Prize, in which students construct and test rocket prototypes to learn about speed, velocity and acceleration. They additionally identify variables, develop hypotheses and analyze data collected using a Photogate and data-collection devices.
Christine Gleason, Greenhills School, Ann Arbor, MI
Focusing on the themes of energy and sustainable resources, Christine Gleason has her eighth-grade students build a classroom-sized alternative energy system as part of an end-of-year project. Students collect electrical power data, comparable to those being made on the school’s rooftop wind turbine system. Students then use the data to improve their own designs.
Category: High School
Gary Garber, Boston University Academy, Boston, MA
Unlike many traditional high school pendulum experiments, Gary Garber’s students use sensors — including the Photogate, Motion Detector and Accelerometer — as well as computer modeling to further their physics understanding. In addition to analyzing their own findings, students are able to analyze data Garber collected using the Vernier Wireless Dynamics System during a pendulum experiment on a NASA reduced gravity flight.
Brian Bollone, Northview High School, Grand Rapids, MI
Students in Brian Bollone’s class use an array of sensors to research quantitative questions regarding the measurable chemical factors during animal decomposition. During the activity, students correlate their data with daily qualitative measurements of entomological activity and photographs, and they test their hypothesis using still-born fetal pigs in a secure location on the school campus.
Ashley Webb, DeSoto Central High School, Southhaven, MS
With the help of teacher Ashley Webb, the “Creating Leaders in STEM” program at Central High School in Southhaven, Mississippi provides innovative opportunities for AP Physics and AP Environmental Science high school students to review for their AP tests. At the same time the students are helping sixth-grade students at the junior high school engage in hands-on, inquiry-based STEM education using Vernier technology.
Dr. Paul Adams, Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS
Dr. Paul Adams’ engineering students use technology to conduct high-altitude ballooning challenges. To further expand on these challenges, Dr. Adams will have students migrate the Vernier sensors to an Arduino open-source electronics prototyping platform to create a lighter system, which reduces the cost of the balloon launch.
To learn more about the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards and to find details for the 2015 application, visit www.vernier.com/grants/nsta.
About Vernier Software & Technology
Vernier Software & Technology has been a leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 33 years. Focused on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Vernier is dedicated to developing creative ways to teach and learn using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With world-wide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier products are used by educators and students from elementary school to college. Vernier’s technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students' critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Vernier’s business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit www.vernier.com.