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Go! Motion

By Sally Finley - Posted Jan 1, 2006
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REPORT CARD
Overall Rating:5 Stars
Installation:A
Content/Features:A
Ease of Use:A
Product Support:A

Company: Vernier Software & Technology, 13979 S.W. Millikan Way, Beaverton, OR 97005; Phone: 888/837-6437; Fax: 503/277-2440; E-mail: info@vernier.com; Internet: http://www.vernier.com/.

Price: $99—single unit; $752—teacher 8-pack. Cables can be purchased separately.

Audience: K-12

Format: Go! Motion ships with a motion detector device, USB cable and CD-ROM containing Logger Lite data collection software.

Minimum System Requirements:

Windows systems: Windows 98, 2000, Me, or XP on a Pentium Processor or equivalent.

Macintosh systems: OSX 10.2 or newer.

Go! Motion is compatible with the USB port of a computer or calculator, a DIG/SONIC port for data collection interfaces, and a calculator I/O port for TI graphing calculators.

Description: Go! Motion is a motion detector that connects directly to a computer's USB port. The unit collects position, velocity, and acceleration data for moving objects. With this device and the included Logger Lite data collection software, students can calculate statistics, store experiment runs, annotate and print graphs, and write reports.

Reviewer Comments:

Installation: I used the Logger Lite software on a Power Mac G4 iBook laptop computer running system 10.3. The software was easy to install.

Once the USB connection is plugged into a computer or calculator and the measurement tool, the motion detector is easy to operate. Installation Rating: A

Content/Features: Go! Motion can measure objects from a distance of 15 cm to 6 m. The pivoting head helps aim the sensor accurately; a sensitivity switch is located under the pivot head. The unit includes two settings—normal and track.

Automatic temperature corrections allow the Go! Motion to be used indoors or outdoors. Rubber feet provide stability. A standard camera screw mount is located on the back. A battery compartment on the bottom of the case holds the four AA batteries needed for use with a calculator.

The Logger Lite software has two data collection modes: Time Based (data is collected over time) and Events with Entry (a data point is recorded whenever the Keep button is clicked).

The toolbar contains buttons for the most commonly used Logger Lite features. All toolbar features are also available in the menus.

Additional tools are available for purchase, among them a Vernier Dynamics System priced at $249 that features low friction carts, machined wheels, and a heavy track that doubles as an optics bench.

Vernier offers excellent resources for the busy classroom teacher. I especially like their Let's Go! Elementary Science Guide containing 34 detailed lesson plans on a variety of topics. An index describes the tools needed to conduct each experiment. Seven of the lessons in this guide specifically relate to the Go! Motion Detector.

The guide's student pages provide an introduction, objectives, material list, step-by-step procedures, and analysis. The teacher pages feature sample results, answers to questions, and helpful hints. Resources like this make teaching science so much easier for the classroom teacher.

Classroom Applications:

With Go! Motion, students can graph the motion of a ball tossed upward or dropped, a cart on a ramp, the pendulum motion of an object hanging on a spring, or even their own movements as they walk toward and away from the detector.

The Vernier Web site includes activities for elementary, middle, and high school students. One activity sure to interest elementary students investigates the amount of air that should be in a basketball. The motion detector is used to measure how high a basketball bounces, based on the amount of air inside.

When the Go! Motion unit arrived in my classroom, my class was investigating the physics of roller coasters. The motion detector was instantly put to use to collect data on the speed of our coasters and their cars made out of Lego bricks and Knex building materials.

The students found the motion detector easy to use. They quickly conducted several trials, collecting data on each one. The finished results were a collection of charts and graphs that were used to formulate conclusions regarding the efficiency of the cars the students designed. The Go! Motion unit definitely made our study of force and motion more meaningful and reinforced the science concepts related to our unit of study. Content/Features Rating: A

Ease of Use: The Go! Motion device is easy to operate and connects quickly to a computer or calculator with a USB port. Ease of Use Rating: A

Product Support: The Logger Lite software includes tutorials that walk the user through program features and menus. Product support is provided through a Quick Reference Manual located on the CD-ROM.

A Help button on the menu bar offers detailed instructions for use of the program.

Reference materials, including user manuals, frequently asked questions documentation, and specifications for all products are available online at http://www.vernier.com/. E-mail support is also available at info@vernier.com. Product Support Rating: A

Recommendation: Go! Motion is an excellent tool for your classroom science center or lab. It is easy for students of all ages to use.

Small enough to fit inside the palm of your hand, this motion detector can easily be transported around the school to perform a variety of experiments. Once data has been collected, students can access the information on their classroom computer and make charts and tables to be printed out and shared with the class.

As I used the motion detector, I was impressed by the various features that assured its accuracy and dependability. The sensitivity switch offers great flexibility for various settings. Each time we used the tool, we were able to get a clear signal. The motion detector automatically regulated the temperature and noise in surrounding areas.

Every teacher should invest in a few science tools to familiarize students with the concepts of measurement in math and science. Products like Go! Motion are a welcome addition to today's classroom or science lab.

This is definitely one product you will want to include as part of your science program. Highly recommended.


 
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