STEM teachers awarded $5,500

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Projects Highlighting LifeStraw®-Inspired Devices and Adhesive-Free Bridges Win the Vernier 2016 Engineering Contest

BEAVERTON, Oregon – A high school teacher who combines chemistry with engineering and a college professor who runs a student engineering-design competition are the two Vernier Software & Technology 2016 Engineering Contest winners. Vernier, the leading worldwide innovator of real-time sensor data collection and graphing and analysis tools for science and engineering education, selected Carol Hsu of Clark College in Vancouver, WA and Linda Rost of Baker High School in Baker, MT for their innovative uses of Vernier sensors to teach engineering concepts.

“Since we began the Engineering Contest three years ago, we’ve been thrilled with the creativity of our nation’s educators to bring engineering concepts into the science classroom,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “We are eager to celebrate and share exciting techniques that engage the next generation of engineers and scientists through innovative, hands-on learning and data-collection exploration.”

The winning pair will each receive $1,000 in cash, $3,000 in Vernier technology, and $1,500 toward expenses to attend the 2016 National Science Teachers’ Association (NSTA) STEM conference or the 2016 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference.

To enter, educators submitted a video showcasing an engaging engineering project featuring Vernier sensors. A panel of Vernier educational professionals judged the submissions on their innovative ideas, engineering objectives, and the ease by which others can replicate the project. Judges also considered how middle and high school submissions addressed the engineering practices outlined in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).

The Winning Projects

In Rost’s LifeStraw® project, chemistry students were challenged to design and test a water filter that could lower turbidity and correct low pH and high salinity. Students were divided into subgroups of either scientists or engineers. The scientists used Vernier sensors to test each filtered sample to determine the effect on the three parameters (turbidity, pH, and salinity) and then the engineers used the information the scientists provided to design their filter. The two groups worked together throughout the design process to produce and test three prototypes.

In Hsu’s student-run “Quarterly Engineering Design Competition,” engineering students at Clark College designed bridges made out of a single material without adhesives. Their peers voted and developed rules for the competition that encouraged students to get creative by building bridges out of wood, metal, plastics, or cardboard. Students used the Vernier Structures & Materials Tester in conjunction with Logger Pro data-collection software.

Other notable entries include “Chloroplast Solar Cell Challenge: Implementing NGSS and Engineering in Biology” by Rost, “Forced Response of a Rigid-Body Pendulum” by Mario Gomes of Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, NY, and “Pi in the Sky” by Jeremy Peterson of Northern Lakes Regional Academy in Lake, WI.

To watch videos of the 2016 winning projects in action or to learn more about the winners, visit

To learn more about the Engineering Contest, visit

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