Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

PC Laboratory Brings Science to Life

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

PC Laboratory Brings Science to Life

Article excerpt

Science instructors know their best ally is the excitement students experience actually doing science. Yet manual methods of experimentation often discourage rather than motivate students. Manual data gathering can be tedious and is often unreliable, and results frequently lag behind the actual experiment by several class periods.

Now, professors can encourage students' natural enthusiasm by allowing them to collect, tabulate and graph experimental data in real time with the IBM Personal Science Laboratory (PSL). PSL is a complete microcomputer-based laboratory with everything required to conduct explorations across a wide variety of physical and chemical phenomena.

The heart of the PSL package is the Base Unit and Data Collection Module, which collects, synchronizes and formats experimental data acquired by the PSL probes and routes them to any IBM Personal System/2 computer. A variety of probes are included for measuring temperature, light, pH, distance and motion.

A single PSL Base Unit will support up to four modules. Different probes can be combined in a single experiment, and Base Units can be combined to accommodate a total of up to 192 probes providing simultaneous measurements.

* Science in Action

The thrill of seeing science in action is provided by the Explorer software that comes with the PSL. This software formats experimental data from the PSL Base Unit and displays the results in graphical and tabular form in the high-resolution color and graphics of the PS/2. This gives students an immediate, visual means to correlate changes in temperature, color and pH in a chemical reaction, for example. Or they can combine the input from a light probe and a distance probe on the same graph to determine how light intensity changes as a function of distance. …

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