One of the biggest challenges our students often face when learning science is that it often seems so abstract and intangible. Anything that can help make the phenomena more concrete and observable is usually an effective strategy to increase understanding.
One way of doing this is to use probeware to monitor, log and visualize data in real time as experiments proceed.
‘Raspberry Pi’, the iconic low cost ‘computer on a board’ seems to provide teachers with a very low cost alternative.
As you may know, Raspberry Pi is the creation of the non-profit educational Raspberry Pi foundation and they have put together some great resources that will enable science teachers and learners to use these devices.
The ‘Sensing Science’ collection of lessons is a great place to start. These lessons cover diverse various areas of the curriculum including measuring the rates of chemical reactions, heat transfer and anaerobic respiration to name but a few.
On the sensing science page you will see the all of these lessons as well as the accompanying resources such as a downloadable zip file that contains all of the code that is required.
I think this is a potential game changer; the sheer economics of this methodology means that it is well within the budgetary reach of most schools/science departments.
I am starting a pilot project with some of the schools I work with and will report back here on how it goes!