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This site has many labs originally designed around Vernier Software & Technology interfaces and sensors. The goal of this site is to bring some additional ideas to users of Vernier products from this consultant as well as user contributions. No warranty is stated or implied from Vernier Software & Technology about the use of their equipment to do these labs. However, many teachers have used them in workshops across the country and subsequently used them with their classes. Responsibility for content lies with the authors of the individual labs.

Some of the labs have been used during workshops. They use minimal equipment and are good examples of how the system of interface and probes work together to explore nature. Some other labs have been gleaned from the Project PHYSLab participants back in 1997 and 1999. A final group of labs includes ones the author would like to have done with his classes if he were still teaching actively. :)

In the section on projects you will find a list of some of the projects I used during my teaching with brief descriptions. Some are linked to more extensive descriptions that may be added over time.

61 labs and counting! If there seems to be a bias towards physics/physical science labs, please forgive. That is what I spent 35 years of my life doing, and what I know best. But I am expanding into other areas!   :)

Click to any or all of the labs below to see ideas for using your Vernier interfaces and sensors. For most of them, Word or pdf documents may be present for downloading. Versions for computer, calculator and/or LabQuest may also be present. In most cases, the difference between using LabQuest and LabQuest 2 is miniscule. Only if there is a significant difference are both shown. This site will be growing in the coming years so stop back again. Feedback appreciated.

Elementary (GO!)

    Solar Heat 

Put water in soda cans that are different colors and study which heats up the fastest when placed in the sun or in front of a heat lamp.


Put hot water in cans that are different sizes and study which cools off the fastest.

    Solar Heated Can c

Put water in a soda can and monitor the temperature as it heats up when placed in the sun or in front of a heat lamp. Leads to an excellent extension that involves the students in developing their own lab investigation. Go! Temp needed. Go Wireless Temp can be used with tablets, also.


    Acid Rain *

Teach students about one of the mechanisms that creates acid rain. pH probe needed.

    Boyle's Law *

A lab on this important gas law with various levels of analysis that students can undertake. Gas Pressure Sensor needed.

    Can-Can *

Surface Area to Volume lab. Two Temperature Probes needed.

    Potatosaurus *

Surface Area to Volume lab. Two Temperature Probes needed.

    CO2 and Human Respiration

How much CO2 do we give off when we exhale? What if we hold our breath for a longer time? CO2 Gas Sensor needed.

    Separation and Spectral Identification
    of Leaf Pigments (pdf document)

Use a spectrophotometer to study the various components found in a leaf. Needed: Ocean Optics Spectrometer, Logger Pro or LabQuest. File is from Walter Rohr, a retired Vernier consultant.

    Periodicity w/ LQ *
    Periodicity w/ LQ 2 *
LabQuest and LabQuest 2 have routines built in for studying the Periodic Table.

    Serial Dilution

Study the effects of serial dilution of a solution on the transmission of light as well as pH.

General Science

    LabQuest 2 Scavenger Hunt -- Key
    (pdf documents)
Have your students learn about the parts of a LabQuest 2 before they begin their experimentation.
    Solar Study i
Study the angle of the sun during a day, over a year; relate to photovoltaic installations
    Schoolground Study Study the pattern of temperatures and reflected light intensity on the school site.
Physics-Physical Science

    Harmonic Motion
Introductory exercise to learn how graphing calculator data collection works. Other versions online soon.

    How Fast? i

A gentle introduction to measuring velocity of an object. Appropriate for middle school physical science. Motion Detector needed.

    Slow, Slower, Slowest

Move your hand at a given speed; see how closely you can match the designated speed; Appropriate middle school an higher.

    Make a Graph

Using a Motion Detector, generate graphs and begin developing an understanding of what the shape of position and velocity graphs mean in terms of motion.

    Going Downhill

An introductory lab written to show some of the features of the data collection equipment and software. Bonus is a look at two ways of finding acceleration. Versions for all three platforms.

    Cart on a Ramp i Study the motion of a cart going down an inclined ramp using a photogate

    Coffee Filters i

Study the falling of coffee filters in this inquiry-based lab. Simple materials; subtle sophistication.

    Create a Motion

An activity to check on student's understanding of motion graphs. A nice follow-up of the Graph Matching activities in both Physics and Physical Science w/ Vernier lab manuals

    Cart on Incline *

An excellent lab for college prep physics or above. Motion Detector needed.

    Bounce Lab

Fun lab to investigate the dynamics of an object bouncing multiple times. Motion detector needed.

    Centripetal Force Lab

One way you might investigate centripetal force. It uses a pendulum, motion detector and force sensor.

    Push & Slide
Examine the accelerations as you give a LabQuest 2 a push and let it slide across the table.

    Acceleration in Circular Motion

A nice way to investigate centripetal force. Uses a bicycle wheel and an interface that can be used remotely. Accelerometer(s) needed.

New Enterprise Exploration
Explore the accelerations experienced by a rider on the classic amusement park ride called "Enterprise". Use wireless accelerometers for best results.

    Non-Uniform Forces i
Apply non-uniform forces to a dynamics cart and observe the resulting motion. Compare different data collection technologies.

    Non-uniform Motion

An interesting lab developed at Project PHYSLab. Can use a Smart Pulley arrangement or a Motion Detector.

    Newton's 2nd Law

Don't discover Newton's 2nd Law. Use it to create specific acceleration rates in various physical settings. Various sensors used.

    Jump Forces i

Using a Force Plate, study the take-off forces and the landing forces while jumping. How can you change these and how does it affect your jump?

    Popper Study
Study the liftoff force generated by a toy Popper. Bring in impulse, kinetic and potential energy, too.

    Air Rockets class lab c


The air rocket from Arbor Scientific can be used in a whole-class lab. Groups measure or calculate the maximum height of the rocket in different ways and compare their results.


Examine the conservation of mechanical energy in a variety of situations. Motion Detector needed.

    Thermal Conductivity

Study the thermal conductivity of varioius materials in a fun and easy way. Suggest the use of Infrared Thermometer or Surface Temperature Probe.

    Golf Ball Study
Study the temperature response of golf ball when temperature is lowered (like during winter). Uses Surface Temperature Probe.

    Light Labs **

A series of three investigations of light intensity as you move away from the source. The beautiful part of this lab is it can be used as an analog when you study electric fields. Light Sensor needed.

    Light Filters *

How does the light intensity after passing through various numbers of filters behave? This system has the same mathematics as radioactive decay, radioactive shielding, capacitor discharge and several other phenomena. Light Sensor needed.

    Light Absorption by Liquid
How does the light intensity vary as it passes through increasing thicknesses of a liquid? This is a variation on the Light Filters lab above.
    Absorption Spectra i
Study the absorption spectra of food colors, then mix them together.

    Truth in Packaging i

Investigate three important questions about light bulbs. This inquiry lab gives questions to pursue with Vernier equipment.

    Power & Light i

Investigate the amount of light produced by various light bulbs and compare it to the power each consumes. Which is most efficient?

    Lemon Juice i
Investigate the variables involved in a voltaic cell in this inquiry-based lab. Appropriate for middle school as well as high school.

    Ohm's Law in Action

Instead of finding Ohm's Law by experiment, we investigate how Ohm's Law applies in several situations. How do diodes and LED's work? Two Voltage Probes needed.

    Resistors, Diodes & LED's

Use the Vernier Power Amplifier to investigate the characteristics of resistors, diodes and LED's

    Electric Car

Investigate efficiency of an electric motor using an electric toy car. Simple re-wiring of the car allows you to monitor the current and voltage going to the motor and leads to calculating the energy used while climbing an incline.

    Capacitor Charge/Discharge *

Study the mathematics of the charge and discharge of a capacitor. Two Voltage Probes needed.

    Capacitor Charge/Discharge1 *

Study capacitor charge and discharge with a LabQuest. One Voltage Probe needed. Looks only at the capacitor voltage.

    Capacitor Charge/Discharge2

Study capacitor charge and discharge with a LabQuest. Two Voltage Probes needed. Looks at both the capacitor voltage and the current.

    Static Charges

A lab incorporating the use of the Charge Sensor to study static electrical charges. Some care needs to be taken and a little practice doesn't hurt, either. This is a work in progress.

    Magnetic Field in Slinkie

A classic lab as developed by a Project PHYSLab participant.

    Magnetic Field from Bar Magnet

Directions for carrying out an investigation of the strength of magnetic field as you move towards or away from the end of a bar magnet. Can be extended to other types of magnets. Written for LabQuest.

    Basketball Shot Analysis

Instructions for students to carry out the analysis of a basketball shot (projectile motion) using Logger Pro. The same process can be used for other video analyses. Video required and Logger Pro.

    Energy in Basketball Shot

After doing the projectile motion analysis above, move on to examine energy of the ball as it moves through the air. Video required and Logger Pro.

    Analyzing Collisions

Instructions for using video to analyze collisions of all types, elastic and inelastic. Can also be used to analyze two-dimensional collisions. Video required and Logger Pro.

    Analyzing a Fountain

Instructions for analyzing a photograph. In this example, students would find the equation for the shape of the water shooting out of a fountain. Photo required and Logger Pro.

Workshop Experiments
Vernier Summer Workshops & Evaluation Workshops

    Force Plate Suggestions *

Four suggested experiments that can be done with a Vernier Force Plate. Many other experiments can be done based on these starting points.

    Study Heat Conduction *

A quick and easy lab to study the rate of heat conduction in various materials. The lab uses an Infrared Thermometer as the sensor although a Surface Temperature Sensor could also be used..

    Conservation Angular Momentum *

One of many uses for the Vernier Rotary Motion Sensor. The lab investigates this important conservation law.

    GPS Experiment *

Coupling the new Vernier GPS Sensor, an Infrared Thermometer and a standard Temperature Probe, participants study their environment and the heating of various surfaces.

* = labs I often use during workshops
** = excellent for use as analog for electric fields
i = Inquiry-based labs
c = whole class labs

If you would like to submit an idea for this web site, please send it to the author using the link below. It should be sent as an MS Word document or included in the body of the message.

C. Bakken, author and webmaster - 4/17/18