New chemistry lab equipment provided by the LSMSA Foundation

LSMSA Michelle Stover Victoria McMillan Allison Johnson.

This week, the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) received new supplies and lab equipment for the chemistry department. The equipment was provided by the LSMSA Foundation.

The new science equipment included pieces of radiation and measuring sensors, Vernier radiation monitors and Pasco sources, which help students track and plot data via small, intuitive tablets called LabQuests. While LabQuests were already available at LSMSA, the Vernier and Pasco equipment provided software for students to plot their data in-house.

In years past, students would perform blocking and shielding experiments in class, but would have to compile and plot data on their own for homework. Michele Stover, an associate lecturer of chemistry at LSMSA, felt that this was not effectively teaching students the differences and effects of each radiation type.

“Using the new Vernier radiation monitors in conjunction with LabQuests and the new Pasco sources, students are able to test the differences between these three types of radiation with respect to distance and shielding,” said Stover. “Also, with the graphing ability of the LabQuests, students are finally able to see the results of these tests immediately instead of gathering independent data points that have to be analyzed and plotted outside of class to understand.”

During a class lab experiment, each student group was given three types of radiation, alpha, beta, and gamma. The Pasco sources held the radiation in place and the Vernier radiation monitor helped measure the Pasco source’s distance from its original starting point. As students moved the radiation further away from the monitor, their measurements and effects could be tracked in real-time on their LabQuest equipment.

LSMSA’s Science Department offers in-depth, college-level labs in addition to traditional class lectures. For a list of science courses and labs, visit www.LSMSA.edu/sciences.