Vernier LabPro Chemistry

Educator Name: Tim Harris
School Name: Academy of Performing Arts


I am proposing the implementation of the Vernier LabPro Chemistry technology for the science department at the Marvin L. Winans Academy of Performing Arts. The Vernier LabPro devices are an essential component of revamping the entire science curriculum at the Academy, shifting the curriculum to an inquiry-based approach. In this curricular shift, students are taking a more direct role of their own education, learning through questioning and exploring. Lab time is anticipated to increase three-fold, with each science teacher leading an extracurricular activity applying science to professional fields (from robotics to science olympiad to neuroscience club). STEM education will be essential to this shift, and collaboration with the math, social studies and language arts instructors are all part of transforming the lived experiences of our students, who often are not afforded many experiences in science. The Vernier LabPro system allows students to experience STEM technology in the classroom directly. The system additionally aligns with the inquiry-based chemistry curriculum, and AP Chemistry curriculum. This is the first year AP courses are being offered at the school, and the Vernier software will be valuable for student success in the class. By the end of the 2011-2012 year, the science department expects to have established a rigorous, college-preparatory scope and sequence that includes substantial inquiry-based labs, the use of STEM technology, and skill-based learning.

In my classroom's 4th quarter culture survey, students overwhelmingly expressed an interest in more time spent doing labs. At the end of the year, student interviews often requested higher-level material, asking for "harder work" or "bigger explosions". Students have expressed interest in more hands-on learning experiences in conjunction with college-level chemistry. However, students showed a lack of knowledge of what these experiences look like. Students do not know what the use of LabPro technology and a STEM-led science curriculum feels like, because they've never before had the opportunity to experience it. I believe, based on student performance, interest and informal interviews, that student demand and interest in science would increase substantially with the implementation of the LabPro equipment within this new curriculum.