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Seeing Really is Believing

Wdss_a_2Rather than filling a chalk board with odd sketches, arrows and arcane formulas, Vernier’s Wireless Dynamics Sensor System (WDSS) lets students discover the laws of motion for themselves. The small device is chock full of sensors, wirelessly communicates with a Bluetooth-equipped computer and comes with the analysis software needed to make Newton’s laws come alive in nay science classroom. At $250, the WDSS is a valuable and versatile teaching tool that can enrich any school’s science curriculum.

About the size of a notebook power adapter, the 6.5-ounce WDSS has digital sensors for force, altitude and a 3-axis accelerometer inside. Together they can track the motion of any object and can help teach valuable concepts, including gravity, centripetal force, how pendulums work and much more. With several threaded attachment points, the device can be easily mounted on everything from a bicycle wheel to a roller coaster.

Because it uses a Bluetooth radio to move data, there are no clunky cables to get in the way. While the WDSS can hold up to 240,000 data points internally, when it’s time to move the data you need to have a Bluetooth-equipped computer nearby to receive the data. The device has a 30-foot range.

Wdss_screen The key to the device’s teaching abilities is its Logger Pro Software, which receives the data, consolidates it into columns and graphs it. On top of letting students predict what will happen and compare the results, the WDSS can help find the right equation to represent it and even link to a video of the experiment. This can make the experiment come alive for the entire class when shown on a large screen monitor or projector.

With seven suggested labs, including the forces you feel on a rollercoaster, it’s ready for the classroom; there are many imaginative projects on Vernier’s Web site. The best part is that all the data and graphs can be exported to Microsoft’s Office programs so that students can quickly write up their results as lab reports.

On the downside, you can’t connect extra sensors to the WDSS – such as for temperature or humidity. By contrast, Vernier’s slightly more expensive LabQuest system is a handled that connects to a variety of off-the-shelf sensors and has a built in screen to view data and graphs.

A
Vernier Wireless Dynamics Sensor System
$250
www.vernier.com/ (888) 837-6437

+ Reliable sensors
+ Excellent analysis software
+ Includes labs and exercises
+ Bluetooth radio beams data

- Requires nearby computer to download, analyze and display data
- Can’t add other sensors to WDSS

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