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Science Express

Science Express is Purdue University's flagship science teacher professional development and equipment loan program. We train and support classroom teachers in chemistry, biology, earth, atmospheric and planetary science, in addition to physics, and astronomy. Science Express currently supports nearly 200 grade 9-12 science teachers throughout Central Indiana and annually engages tens of thousands of students in learning and doing science!

Physics and Astronomy Outreach plays a vital role in the Science Express program, supporting physics, physical science and astronomy teachers and students with analytical instrumentation, probe ware, and pre-assembled laboratory experiments, classroom ready. While these student-centered experiments are grounded in fundamentals concepts in physics, they support learning across all STEM disciplines. Check out the highlights below to see some of what we offer.

Feel the Force

Students learning about the forces of rotational motion

The latest addition to Science Express allows students to explore the forces of rotational motion. The hand-held probes allow students to select the mass and radius of an object in circular motion and measure the centripetal force at a given angular acceleration. The probes allow students to actually feel the effects of changing these variables.

Stunt Car Challenge

Female students learningIn Hollywood, buses jump across wide gaps in the road and open ends of bridges. Is that possible? How do angle and velocity affect distance traveled by a projectile? In Stunt Car Challenge, students conduct a series of experiments to find how close their stunt car can come to successfully passing through the ring of fire!

The Nature of Resistance

What is electric current? How do microscopic features of materials expedite or attenuate conductivity? Can you explain how thermal effects, material defects, length and cross-sectional area affect resistance? In this investigation, students construct resistors of various dimensions from Play-Doh and find out!

Notebook Circuits

How are parallel and series circuits different? How are they similar? What are the differences between the metering of voltage and current? Use neodymium pushpins on a magnetic white board to construct your circuits and consider energy transformations that occur.

Cloud Chambers

Ionizing radiation is ubiquitous in our everyday lives. It is in the foods we eat, medical procedures we endure, and has undoubtedly affected the very evolution of our own and other species. With the classroom set of cloud chambers, students are able to witness first-hand the ionizing effects of radiation coming from outer space and compare their evidence to known sources of alpha and beta radiation sources.

Male students learning Students learning

Physics of the Electric Guitar

What does current in a wire have to do with magnetism? How does a speaker work? Can you explain how a magnetic pickup can be used to convert the energy of a vibrating guitar string to an audible sound? In this series of creative investigations, students explore the relationships between magnetism and electricity, magnetic fields, what kinds of materials are subject to magnetic interaction, and make an electromagnet and a speaker that can also be a microphone.

Learning about magnetistm Students learning about magnetism Learning about magnetistm

The Phantastic Photon and LEDs

What laws govern the transfer of energy? How can frequency, energy and wavelength be used to compare light emitted from LEDs, or fluorescent and phosphorescent materials? Energy can be converted to light; can light be converted to energy? Investigate phenomena related to light and photon energy; you can even estimate Planck's constant!

Vernier Probeware

Analyzing results on a computerWe offer dozens of classroom sets of Vernier probes for every branch of science. Probes can be used either with computers or portable handheld devices like the LabQuest. At right, students are analyzing their results, using the motion sensor to determine changes in velocity and acceleration of a basketball. Other Vernier ware includes dynamics carts, force sensors, current and voltage probes, radiation and magnetic field sensors, IR and light sensors and UV/Vis spectrophotometry.


Each of these student investigations, in addition to all of the resources of Science Express, are available for delivery in classroom sets to your high school science classroom! If you are a central Indiana high school science teacher and would like more information about the availability of resources through Science Express, or teacher professional development programs through Physics and Astronomy Outreach at Purdue, please contact:

Dr. David Sederberg
Purdue University Physics and Astronomy Outreach

Last Updated: May 11, 2023 9:05 AM

Department of Physics and Astronomy, 525 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036 • Phone: (765) 494-3000 • Fax: (765) 494-0706

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