The Concord Consortium Do It Yourself ProbeKit


This page was originally developed for the Information Technology in Science Instruction (ITSI) project. Here you will find all the information you need to build probe circuits, test the probes, understand the electronics, and order any of the materials found in the ITSI Probe Kit.

Note that the ITSI activities can also be used with a range of commerical sensors, and teachers should not hesitate to use whatever they have available.

Why build sensors?

The use of real-time data capture and display in teaching represents one of the most valuable innovations computers have contributed to education. Sensor technology gives the learner new possibilities to explore and understand the world and to see it represented symbolically in ways that greatly increase comprehension.

Using sensors, students can immediately see multiple representations of data while an experiment is underway. Changes that are difficult to understand can be rendered almost obvious when displayed as a graph in real time. Research shows that probeware can greatly increase student learning.

By constructing their own sensors, teachers and students learn basic electronics, programming, and design skills that will enable them to install, configure, and use a wide range of sensors for measuring experiments with computers. These skills greatly enhance science teaching and learning while giving students a solid foundation for IT-based careers in programming, computer hardware, and software engineering: programming, instrumentation, analog and digital electronics, and sensors.