Science Express gives teachers looks at the latest in lab equipment and experiments

07-11-2013

Author(s):Tim Brouk


For more than 20 years, central Indiana high school science teachers have had an ally in the College of Science and the Science Express program.

Science Express is a source of cutting edge laboratory equipment and experiment ideas for more than 100 teachers signed-up to the program. Teachers can borrow such instruments as gas chromatographs or ultraviolet absorbance detectors so the students can learn the latest. And to keep the semesters fresh, new experiments are being added to the Science Express archives every year. Many of these were born out of Science Express summer workshops.

From July 8 to 12, dozens of science teachers visited the labs of Brown and Wetherill to get trained and test new equipment as well as hear from College of Science professors like Physics’ Brian Todd, who presented a new video analysis program for capturing motion and a new, cost effective experiment that looks at fluorescence. By using different color laser pointers, the light reacts differently on different surfaces. The light also behaves differently going through water versus solutions of milk and water and a beaker of water that had a fluorescent highlighter dipped into it.

Science Express coordinator Zach Grigsby said it is crucial that teachers have access to the latest equipment due to unrelenting technology and scientific advancements. Today’s high school science students are now comfortable with equipment more sophisticated than what he had during his undergraduate years in the College of Science, Grigsby added.

The teachers participating in the workshop received a “take-away” experiment called “Notebook Circuits.” The packets featured copper wiring, a small light and information on how the students can turn the light on at their desks or lab stations.

Experiments touched on all of the life sciences as outreach representatives from Physics, Chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences.

Science Express

(From left) Science teachers Amanda Cox and Bill Combs get training on Vernier Probeware from Science Express director Bill Bayley (right) during a Science Express workshop.

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