Roger Frost's Technology for teaching science Blog

scientist 69: the science author – Michael Freemantle says WW1 was the chemists war (2014)

The First World War, that began in 1914, put chemists to work. Their chemicals could harm as well as heal … but on balance the outcome was … horrific. As the author of two...

museum of data logging

Here are pictures of labs, data loggers, sensors and experiments from the 1990’s to the 2000’s. You’ll see different solutions to computers in a lab and for example, different colorimeters and different ways to...

latent heat – salty ice

When it is icy they put salt onto the roads to melt the ice. What the salt does is to depress, or reduce, the freezing point of water. The result is that the ice...

types of battery

Batteries are a handy source of power. Just think of all the things that use them – calculators, cassette players, even computers will run on batteries. You’ll know that there are different kinds of...

radioactive half-life

Radioactive materials decay, or lose their radioactivity, in a predictable way. If you have a fast decaying source, such as Protactinium with a half life of just 72 seconds, you can take a series...

heat conduction

You can use a temperature sensor to study the conduction of heat through materials. Two temperature sensors allow you to compare different materials at the same time. In this example, you heat strips of...

insulation

You can use a temperature sensor to study the insulating properties of materials. Two temperature sensors allow you to compare different materials at the same time. In this example two beakers of hot water...

measuring visible change in liquids

Measuring the appearance of cloudy sulfur when we mix acid and sodium thiosulfate is a popular science teaching activity. We can change the temperature or concentration of the reagents, and see whether the mixture...

scientist 70: the biotechnologist – biosciences for Africa BFA (2014)

A Cambridge project seeks to improve farming practices in Africa by sharing advances in biotechnology. They’re called Biosciences for Farming in Africa (www.b4fa.org). Chris Creese meets one of their founders Dr David Bennett. There’s a ‘demonstration...

ultra-violet sensor

Might be used for measuring the variation in UV light during the day or as meter to compare sun creams and sunglasses. UV sensors can be found in ‘wearables’ like smartbands and watches.  My...

magnetic field – Hall probe

Used like a wand and moved in magnetic fields. Interesting in the way it measures the unseen. Has a niche use in applications showing magnetic field changing over time or some electrical variable.  My...

voltage & current sensors

The scope for electrical measurement as obviously as big as the subject itself. Data logging systems tend to measure changes over time and that suits these sensors to measuring the life of a battery,...

position or angle sensor

This sensor allows superb and easy to do investigations into the swing of a pendulum leading on to studies of harmonic motion and damping. (See several examples nearby). It allows you to record the...

oxygen and pH sensors

oxygen sensor – my rating was *** / ++ Sensor is used in conjunction with an oxygen electrode. Good for demonstrations where you monitor photosynthesis, fermentation or where you re-breathe the air in plastic...

humidity sensor

A less widely used sensor that nevertheless shows interesting results when monitoring environments over time. Place one in a polythene bag with your hand, or a plant and see how the humidity changes. The...

conductivity sensor

This sensor is used in conjunction with a conductivity cell. It tends to used as a stand-alone meter to measure salinity or total dissolved solids in water. Offers some enhancement when used to monitor...

balance sensor

Balances and interfaces have for a long time tried to find a common language for talking to each other. A few systems found this and offered a balance adapter that works with your regular...

pressure sensor

A surprisingly useful sensor which is usually on the expensive side. They come in various ranges and while no single range handles all uses you can settle on a mid course. Some measure air...

breathing sensor, ecg & pulse

A dedicated device that shows the breathing rate or in some designs, the breathing movements. The latter types are more interesting as they show the depth of breathing too. However, with these you have...

sound sensor & microphone

sound sensor (my rating **** / ++) Sound sensors tend to find their use as stand alone noise meters but this misses some interesting uses where sound level changes over time. Just using it...

light sensor & colorimeter

Often used elaborately to produce a makeshift colorimeter, the light is very useful for many biology and chemistry experiments on rates of reactions. As monochromatic light is less important with turbid solutions the makeshift...

temperature sensor

Sensors to measure heat and temperature These sensors are available in all flavours to suit different applications. You should be able to decide on the type that suits whole class use and have any...

heat flow sensor

Used to measure the flow and direction of heat through clothing or building materials. It contains countless thermistors and unlike a temperature sensor, provides readings as Watts/m2. While its classroom uses seem limited, this...

distance sensor or sonar ranger

These distance or motion sensors use sound reflected from an object to detect changes in its position. Most designs were based on the sensor developed as the range finder for Polaroid’s cameras. You can...

accelerometer, dynamics pulley

Accelerometers contain the tiny chip sensors often used as triggers for car air bags. You can take one of these sensors into a lift, fix one to a dynamics trolley to look at collisions...

light gates and switches

These are digital switches that record a time when triggered by say, a dynamics trolley or a card. When you enter parameters like distance or mass into the software, velocity, acceleration or momentum are...

who is Roger Frost?

Perhaps someone once asked, who is Roger Frost? He’s a writer who used to collect ideas to teach science which this web aims to record. Over twenty years, Roger Frost ran ICT and science training...