Record Number of Entries Leads to Seven STEM Educators Winning 2016 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards

The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Vernier Software & Technology, the leading worldwide innovator of real-time sensor data-collection, graphing and analysis tools for science education, have chosen the winners of the 2016 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. 
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BEAVERTON, Oregon, March 31, 2016 –The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and Vernier Software & Technology, the leading worldwide innovator of real-time sensor data-collection, graphing and analysis tools for science education, have chosen the winners of the 2016 Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards. The seven science teachers—one elementary, two middle school, three high school and one college level—were selected by a panel of NSTA-appointed experts for their creative uses of Vernier’s data-collection technology with a computer, LabQuest or mobile device.

The winners each will receive $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier products and up to $1,500 toward expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference in Nashville at the end of March.

“We had a record number of applicants this year, and many educators were taking students outside of the classroom to explore challenges in their communities and to use data-collection technology to develop solutions,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “We believe providing opportunities for science students to engage in practical experience will better prepare them for real-world science exploration.”

The 2016 Vernier/NSTA Technology Award winners include:

Category: Elementary School

Sherie Ryan-Bailey, Oakley Elementary School, Asheville, NC

Using Vernier probes, a weather station, and resources from a local university, Sherie Ryan-Bailey’s fifth grade students learn weather patterns and how different factors influence weather conditions in their area. As part of the activity, students study micro-climates in their schoolyard, exploring which locations are the wettest, hottest or coolest. They then analyze the data on their own devices through the school’s 1:1 initiative.

Category: Middle School

Greer Harvell, Walton Middle School, Defuniak Springs, FL

Greer Harvell’s seventh graders will use Vernier’s probeware to act as “citizen scientists” and monitor the water quality of a lake located less than a block from their middle school. Harvell says Lake Defuniak is a focal point of the rural community, but it is not monitored by local organizations. Students will use a Vernier Water Depth Sampler and Temperature Probe to take water samples and measure water temperature at different depths.

Aaron Mueller, Scullen Middle School/Indian Prairie School District 204, Naperville, IL

Aaron Mueller, a middle school science teacher in suburban Chicago, believes all students should examine the implications of modern development on their communities. Aaron’s cross-grade level collaborative project encourages students to use Vernier probeware to explore the causes of non-point source pollution in retention ponds and natural waterways near their school in Naperville, IL.

Category: High School

Richard Erickson, Bayfield High School, Bayfield, WI

Richard Erickson and his students spend the school year investigating the seiches in Lake Superior, a standing wave oscillation created by atmospheric forces. When a weather event is imminent, the high schoolers—equipped with Vernier Motion Detectors—examine the lake’s water level, then mount detectors to the deck of a nearby boathouse. The detectors record changes in the lake’s water level for the next seven days, and students then analyze the subsequent data to formulate mathematical models of seiche behavior

Dan Starr, Green Lake School, Green Lake, WI

Students at Green Lake School in Wisconsin plan to expand their studies of the natural inland near their school, which is suffering from poor water quality. Led by instructor Dan Starr, the students will use Vernier data-collection technology to study the Big Green Lake’s water resources and determine which management decisions are necessary to improve the watershed.

Ben Smith, Peninsula High School, Rolling Hills, CA

Ben Smith believes there are still too many questions about the role ants and termites play in our ecosystem. His project at Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills, CA encourages students to launch inquiry-based field and laboratory investigations that explore the relevance of these insects to fundamental ecological issues. Students study spatial and temporal patterns, biogeography, microclimate and species diversity as part of the school’s environment program.

Category: College

Kasey Wagoner, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, PA

Kasey Wagoner, a physics professor at Philadelphia University, wants to improve attitudes toward physics. She’s creating a project-based physics course for non-science majors that will incorporate Vernier probes and software. To support autonomy, Wagoner says students will have the freedom to develop their own projects related to three traditional physics subject areas: forces and motion, energy and momentum, and waves and oscillations.

To learn more about the Vernier/NSTA Technology Awards winners and to find details for the 2017 application, visit http://www.vernier.com/grants/nsta/

About Vernier Software & Technology

Vernier Software & Technology has been the leading innovator of scientific data-collection technology for 35 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 worldwide distribution to over 130 countries, Vernier data loggers are used by educators and students from elementary school to University. Vernier 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). The Vernier business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit http://www.vernier.com.

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