Obtaining high-quality, easy-to-use, and economical equipment can be challenging for many instructors, especially for those with a tight budget who lead introductory science courses at universities. The lack of instrumentation can result in a disconnect between what students learn in a textbook and practical application of the scientific method.
Science education courses that instruct future teachers typically require vigorous application of the scientific method. By requiring college students to participate in learning activities where making observations, doing experimentation, and collecting data is essential, students are able to create effective lesson plans and activities they may use in their own future classroom.
To help bridge the gap between a textbook and hands-on learning, YSI visited Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio last year to not only deliver some new EcoSense pH10A pens to students in Dr. Hundley’s Concepts in Earth Science course, but to also train the students how to use them.
Students in Dr. Hundley’s course use the EcoSense pH10A pen to analyze a soil sample (Photo courtesy of Wright State University Newsroom)
The EcoSense line from YSI includes small instruments (i.e. “pens”) for the measurement of pH, ORP, and conductivity, as well as larger handhelds with replaceable cables for the measurement of pH, conductivity, and dissolved oxygen. These economical instruments were designed for use in educational settings, as they provide an excellent price point while still allowing for the quick collection of accurate measurement results.
Students in Dr. Hundley’s course used the pens in a laboratory activity focusing on the difference between soil and sediment. After learning how to properly calibrate the instruments, students determined the relative pH difference between samples by making a slurry and using the EcoSense pen to measure pH. After analyzing results, each group prepared a detailed report and shared their results with the class.
Students learn how to properly calibrate the EcoSense pH10A pen (Photo courtesy of Wright State University Newsroom)
Although pH analysis of soil samples with the EcoSense pen worked well, the YSI pH100A, one of the EcoSense handheld instruments, features an optional flat tipped, double-junction pH electrode that is ideal for soil analysis. The flat tipped electrode junction does not become easily clogged by particles and is easily wiped clean (see related application note).
The YSI EcoSense pH pens will continue to be used in education courses, as well as other courses within the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Wright State.
A student prepares a new sample (Photo courtesy of Wright State University Newsroom)
The original story of the YSI visit to WSU can be found here and additional EcoSense products are also available.
Additional Blog Posts of Interest:
A Practical Guide to pH Measurement | The YSI pH Handbook
How to Choose a pH Electrode
pH Meter Calibration Problems? Check Out These 12 Tips!
YSI Calibration Solutions and Buffers Expiration Times