Lux Meter App

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

A phone with a camera has an built-in light sensor. This makes it possible to use your camera as a Lux meter. Lux meters on smartphones are an easy, accessible and cheap way to measure illumination.

Galactica is a lux meter that can measure light in to modes: direct and reflected. You can save measurements as photos and add a note.

Is a Lux meter on your smartphone reliable? Read the following blog Luxmeter App vs measuring device on research carried out with different smartphones and with different software. The conclusion is that for accurate and consistent measurements you need professional equipment and software.

However, to get an idea about light intensity the lux meters function well. The reflection mode offers the opportunity to see how the colour of a surface reflects or absorbs light. An interesting experiment is with a static lamp shining on a tabletop. Put paper sheets of different colours on the table and measure the light that is reflected by each colour. The results are quite remarkable.

Hardware and software with sensors for light, noise and temperature designed specifically for educational purposes is  €Sense. This package offers activities/lessons in which the sensors are used. Read more about €Sense (Euro Sense).

There are many lux meters available for iOS as well as for Android.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 6  or higher

Noise Exposure

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

We wrote about a Decibel meter App which measures noise level in decibel before. Noise Exposure is another App that measures the noise level in decibel. Noise Exposure has a simpler user interface than Decibel meter thus can easily be used with primary school pupils. An advantage is that you can save and share measurements. This makes it easier to register and compare measurements.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 8 or higher

Video Science

DiScoro writes about inquiry-based learning, digital resources, and ways to encourage higher-order thinking. We focus on STEM education and the use of technology.

Video Science produced by by Science House offers a large number of short videos on experiments. The videos focus mainly on chemistry, but some videos are about phenomena from physics or other science areas.
Students can watch the video’s or carry out the experiments themselves., although some experiments require substances or equipment that will not be readily available. For you as a teacher the videos may inspire you to let show students the experiments. Of course it is even more more interesting and instructive if the students carry out experiments themselves in class.

The future for industry and society lies in recycling, and even a step further ahead in cyclic production, and cradle-to-cradle production. Particularly interesting are therefore experiments such as “Green plastic” and “Recycling paper”.

The latest App (version 4.0) is designed for iOS 6. Unfortunately the App does not work on iOS 11. Hopefully this will be solved soon.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 6  (not working on iOS11 !)

Decibel meter App

decibel-icon-appHow loud is the noise? Whether sound or noise is considered (too) loud or not is often subjective. The App Decibel enables one to measure the noise level and make it objective. It is a sensor that shows the results in three different ways: digital, analogue and in a graphical. There are many Decibel Apps but some show the results of the measurement only anlogue, and some analogue + digital but not graphical. When using this App in class students should be aware of how they measure, what to pay attention to so that results can be compared. Factors influencing the measurement could be: the distance to the source, the direction of the sensor/phone, pitch of the sound, background noise etc.

Combining the use of the App with the screenprint function of the device makes it possible to record, store and present the measurements at a later stage.

Students could plot their own measured sounds on a scale: unplugged musical instruments, birds, voices, traffic etc. There are plenty charts on the internet that show which levels are dangerous and damaging.sound-levels

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPhone, iPad
 Requirements  iOS 8+  (similar Apps are available for Android and on Google Play)

FlaskFiller simulation

glazenFlaskFiller, or rather GlassFiller, is a simulation which enables teachers and students to experiment with and reason about the relationship between the shape of a glass, and the change in speed while filling it up (time vs height of the liquid in the glass).


The simulation program enables the user to

  • Select the horizontal axis’ quantity, which is one of height, time, volume, or rising speed.
  • Select the vertical axis’ quantity, which is one of height, time, volume, or rising speed.

Note that you can select the same quantity for both axes, which can make for an interesting topic of discussion. See some screenshots below.

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Read the information about the simulation and how to use it on FaskFiller Education.
Read the Research done on FlaskFiller software used with grade 5 pupils.

The simulation has been used with grade 5 pupils in a one-to-one setting. When using this simulation in class you might want to use a hands-on experiment first, whereby you use a measuring cup to fill up glasses with different shapes. Let the pupils measure, observe and reason about what is happening with the different glasses.

Afterwards let the pupils experiment with the simulation based on clear questions/tasks. Students should be encouraged to record their findings and discoveries on a worksheet.
Most grade 5 pupils understand the principle of instantaneous speed, but lack the vocabulary. After experimenting in small groups, you could start the simulation on your SmartBoard and discuss the findings. Here the pupils will learn to extend their vocabulary and express what they see and think. Vocabulary: (rising)speed, volume, height, shape, cola-flesjetime, timelap, decrease/increase in speed of height of liquid visible in the graph.
After experimenting and discussion, pupils should for example be able to match a glass (or bottle) with a graph and vice versa.

The simulation can be used from grade 5 up to grade 10 depending on the tasks given.

The simulation program is available online as an HTML file, but can also be downloaded for off-line use.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  PC
 Requirements  browser

Concept Cartoons-3

Every month DiScoro writes about (digital) resources that can be used in schools. In addition you will find issues that may inspire you. See Services for workshops, training etc.

Two more concept cartoons that can be used in class. Use pictures of characters with the speech balloons that fit your situation . See also earlier posts Concept Cartoons and Concept Cartoons-2. Many Brainpower problems can also be introduced with the Concept Cartoon format.

I discussed the first problem with grade 5 and grade 6 pupils. The were perfectly able to reason what would happen, even though they we never instructed on Archimedes’ Law. You can also use the concept cartoon in grade 8 or 9 after students have learned about Archimedes’ Law. Do not be disappointed if the students are confused.

Problem: We take a glass basin and place a plastic net with marbles and korks in it. We make sure that the net with the marbles and korks floats in the water. There is nothing that sticks out above the water and the net does not toach the bottom of the basin.

You can also bring the materials in class and let pupils fill the net so that it floats in the water. Discuss and finally cut the net. The answer requires reasoning about why this happens, but there are so many factors that these should come from the students and do not fit into the speech clouds.

What will happen to the water level if we cut the net open?


The second concept cartoon is suitable for a younger age group (grade 2 or 3).

How can you go down faster on your sledge?

During the discussion words and concepts like speed, acceleration, friction (both with the surface as well as air friction), weight, size may be used.

Lazors game

lazors-iconLazors is an interesting App about principles in physics such as light beams and how they are reflected, bent, or broken by different materials. As a player you have discover for yourself what the aim is and how to reach it. There are many different levels.

Students can be asked to explain the game and about their reasoning in solving the problems. Thereby, the teacher can introduce vocabulary like: light wave, straight line, ray, beam, reflection of light, refraction of light (bending of light), breaking light, prism, angle of refraction, angle of reflection, mirror, glass, crystal.

A  pre-designed page on Smart Notebook can help to discuss the principles and reasoning.

Practical applications:

  • Stick a straw in a half filled glass of water and observe the refraction of light. This visual distortion occurs at the water-air boundary.
  • The same phenomenon protects fish from a hunter who is spearfishing from the shore. Due to this bending of the path of light, a fish appears to be at a location where it isn’t. The hunter launches the spear at the location where the fish is thought to be, but isn’t, and misses the fish.
  • How big needs a mirror be for you to be able to see yourself from top to toe (while standing)?

The game can be used from age 10 onwards.

 Purchase  Free
 Hardware  iPad, iPhone, (PC)
 Requirements  IOS, Android/Google Play