Vernier Integrates Its Go Direct® Force and Acceleration Sensor with Scratch to Engage Students in Hands-On Coding

Use of data-collection technology with popular coding software teaches students basic programming skills and computational thinking 

BEAVERTON, Oregon, April 18, 2019 — The Vernier Go Direct Force and Acceleration Sensor now integrates with the popular Scratch coding platform. By bringing together these technologies from Vernier and Scratch, students are able to engage with scientific and computational concepts through hands-on project-based learning.

“Science investigations and coding activities go hand in hand,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Software & Technology. “Students can use the Go Direct Force and Acceleration Sensor to learn about force, motion, and Newton’s laws and then delve even deeper by engaging in hands-on coding activities. This helps build even more context around what they are learning while providing them with an outlet for creative expression.” 

With the new Go Direct Force and Acceleration extension for Scratch, students can control animated characters and objects using several new coding blocks and commands. For example, students can tilt the sensor back and forth to change the position of a character from side to side on the screen. Students can also write code to use the sensor to make a video game controller to drive a spaceship or play a virtual drum kit by pushing, shaking, and rotating the sensor.

“We've had a great time discovering the new possibilities that this sensor brings to Scratch,” said Eric Rosenbaum, Senior Front End Engineer for the Scratch Team. “We’ve used it for everything from playful science explorations, to making game controllers, musical instruments, interactive art, and storytelling projects. We can’t wait to see what kids around the world create with it.”

Scratch supports additional hardware such as the micro:bit™ microcontroller and LEGO® construction kits. When students add multiple extensions to their Scratch project, they can use Go Direct Force and Acceleration to control a LEGO® MINDSTORMS® EV3 robot or use a micro:bit to display force or acceleration readings.

To learn more about the Go Direct Force and Acceleration extension for Scratch and to see sample projects, visit scratch.mit.edu/vernier

About Vernier Software & Technology

Vernier Software & Technology has led the innovation of scientific data-collection technology for 38 years. Vernier was founded by a former physics teacher and employs educators at all levels of the organization. The company is committed to teachers and to developing creative ways to teach and learn science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) using hands-on science. Vernier creates easy-to-use and affordable science interfaces, sensors, and graphing/analysis software. With worldwide distribution to over 150 countries, Vernier data loggers are used by educators and students from elementary school to university. Vernier technology-based solutions enhance STEM education, increase learning, build students' critical thinking skills, and support the science and engineering practices detailed in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). The Vernier business culture is grounded in Earth-friendly policies and practices, and the company provides a family-friendly workplace. For more information, visit  http://www.vernier.com.

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