Daphnia have been used to demonstrate the physiological effects of stimulants such as caffeine and energy drinks in activities designed for secondary school and college labs. We describe how these activities were enhanced by coupling a microscope to a video recording device and digital data recording system to facilitate more accurate quantification of the rate of heartbeats in daphnia. Also, the technology facilitates measurements of the changes in the size of the heart due to the effect of stimulants. We describe the setup for the video recorder, data acquisition system, and microscope, the results obtained, and how these activities could be replicated in a secondary school laboratory setting to increase student engagement and be used as a primer to enhance learning and understanding of biological systems by students. This work aligns with the Next Generation Science Standards, in that students “use a variety of equipment and software to enter, process, display, and communicate information in different forms using text, tables, and pictures.”
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