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Exploring Ocean Acidification Affordably and Easily

World Ocean Day header graphic

By Colleen McDaniel

The environmental community certainly has its hands full with all the issues facing our planet today. While climate change is a popular issue, many related, yet commonly overlooked problems in the ocean, particularly ocean acidification, are becoming increasingly hot topics.

Now, with World Oceans Day coming up on June 8th, you have a great opportunity to focus your students’ attention on our oceans by engaging them in an investigation that highlights how life in the ocean is impacted by changes in the environment.

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Python in College Engineering and Physics Courses

By Fran Poodry, Director of Physics, and Sam Swartley, Director of Engineering Education

With coding becoming increasingly important in both engineering and physics research, the free and adaptable Python programming language can be a powerful tool in teaching coding activities in your physics and engineering courses.

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Use Data-Collection Technology to Investigate Periodic Trends

Graphic logo for International Year of the Periodic Table

By Nüsret Hisim

The periodic table has been an essential tool for teachers and students since its creation in 1869 by Dmitri Mendeleev. Now 150 years later, 2019 has been designated the International Year of the Periodic Table. With all the information that can be gleaned from the periodic table, chemistry instructors face the challenge of helping students understand the significance of the different arrangements.

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STEM Integration to Support 21st Century Skills

In today’s classrooms, you’ll see an emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Educators and administrators are having discussions about how to prepare their students and ensure they have the skills to be successful in our technology-driven world. There’s no denying that technology has changed the workforce and classroom. A report from the Institute for the Future and Dell Technologies estimates that 85% of the jobs that today’s students will be doing in 2030 haven’t been created yet. Currently, 20% of U.S. jobs require significant STEM knowledge and skills, according to STEMconnector. While students are still in the classroom, it’s important that they’re provided the opportunity to learn the skills they need for the growing and changing demands of the future.

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5 Tips for Making the Most of Your Classroom Budget

Circular timeline graphic showing a typical education purchase cycle

By Tom Smith

Teaching can be a challenge, but budgeting to teach is often a downright pain. Teachers not only face small budgets and limited time to plan out their classrooms each year, but often deal with sudden “use it or lose it” funds with little advance notice. Confusing planning strategies, unclear budget allocations, and stretched resources can make it difficult to plan a budget for their classroom that’s both realistic and meets their needs.

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Delve into Block-Based Programming On Scratch Day!

Happy Scratch Day graphic

By Josh Ence

Join members of the Scratch online community on May 11th as they come together to share, create, and expand on new ways to utilize Scratch programming. We make it easy by providing a free fun activity.

Understanding block-based programming languages like Scratch is an important skill for 21st century students to have, but it can be difficult to find resources to teach it successfully. As an Engineering Education Technology Specialist at Vernier, I help teachers bring block-based programming into their classrooms. It can be taught at all levels—from elementary to college—and can be used across disciplines, including computer science, math, social studies, music, and even art.

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Happy DNA Day!

DNA Day graphic

By John Melville

National DNA Day is on April 25th. This is an excellent opportunity for you to discuss the importance of DNA and to introduce the topic of gene expression in your class. As a former instructor, I found that there were very few lab activities that investigated gene expression. Most DNA activities were classic DNA precipitation or biotechnology cloning activities. While these activities are great for learning about DNA and biotechnology, one of the key concepts that I wanted my students to understand was gene expression. To this end, I worked with Bio-Rad Laboratories and my friend Dr. Roy Ventullo, a college professor and microbiologist, to develop a unique way to look at gene expression using fluorescence with our SpectroVis® Plus Spectrophotometer.

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How Physical Computing Can Help Your Elementary and Middle School Students

by Rick Bush, Library & Instructional Technology Teacher, Stoller Middle School

A photo of a girl using a Go Direct Force and Acceleration Sensor to control a sprite in Scratch.
Students use the Go Direct Force and Acceleration Sensor to provide input and control their sprite.

Introducing new technology into your classroom can be a significant undertaking. Creating new lessons and incorporating new platforms can require you to learn new technology, figure out how to incorporate it, test it, and then implement it with your students.

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Earth Day: Inspire Your Students’ Interest in a STEM-Related Career with Hands-On Activities and Experiments

Earth Day header graphic

Earth Day is a perfect opportunity to get your students engaged in a conversation about conservation and sustainability. By incorporating hands-on activities and experiments that take place beyond a book into your curriculum, you can help your students connect the dots between the lab and the real world. When your students visualize data through real-world applications, they are better able to understand the root causes behind issues and engage in critical thinking.

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Four Ways to Get Elementary Students Excited About Science

by Nüsret Hisim

Elementary students watching vinegar and baking soda react with a Go Direct temperature sensor collecting data.

It can be challenging to engage students in science activities, despite how exciting the lessons are. As an Education Technology Specialist at Vernier Software & Technology, I frequently receive phone calls and inquiries from elementary teachers looking for ways to engage their students with hands-on science experiments. Teachers are tasked with teaching an array of subjects, and as a result, many find themselves teaching science despite not having the experience to describe complicated and seemingly intimidating concepts in an effective and stimulating way. After years of attending and conducting workshops with teachers of all levels, and being a former science teacher myself, I know this to be an especially significant challenge for teachers.

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