QQ3: Best Practices for Educational Effectiveness
Chair: Kevin Dilley
- Tuesday AM, December 3, 2013
- Hynes, Level 3, Room 303
8:30 AM - *QQ3.01
Best Practices Enabled by Science Museum and Research Center Partnerships in Informal Nanotechnology Education
Scientists and educators at university research centers have worked with science museum professionals for eight years under the umbrella of the Nanoscale Informal Science Education Network. Recent survey data has identified 138 partnerships of this kind, which have included working together to present nano content to the public through programs, events, and exhibits; working together to reach new and under-represented audiences; and seeking funding to work together. At the network-wide level, the University of Wisconsin at Madison was an early key contributor to hands-on nano educational activities that were distributed throughout the US to introduce museum educators to key concepts in nanoscale science, engineering, and technology. And just last year, the Center for Nanotechnology in Society at Arizona State University worked with NISE Net to integrate nanotechnology and society concepts fundamental to the work of their center to science center professionals, and through them to the public nationwide.
The Materials Research Society has been a strong member of the NISE Net since it’s inception. MRS leaders helped potential NISE Net leaders to prepare for the defense of their proposal before the NSF review panel charged with making the award decision. Conversely the principal investigator for the now retired nanoscale science and engineering center at Harvard University reported that the Museum of Science’s presentation on its public outreach and engagement work in support of the NSEC helped to elevate the response of its annual NSF site visit panel. MRS has supported the development of a volunteer corpse to support NISE Net public engagement activities and informal science educators have helped to staff professional development workshops and symposium sessions at MRS meetings to build participants’ science communication and public engagement skills. By working together to offer programs and exhibits to the public about nanotechnology, research centers have been able to add content to the programs relevant to their own work and personnel with expertise in nanoscale science and engineering to interact with the public, while the science students have gained training and experience in communicating their research to others who are not specialists in their own field. The Museum of Science in Boston has developed workshops both for graduate students and for REU students that are designed to elevate their science communication skills.
This same pattern of collaboration has occurred throughout the country where university research centers and science or children’s museums have worked together to engage the public, raise the capacity of each organization to do a better job of its own work. This presentation will illustrate the benefits accrued and best practices generated with example drawn from the field.
9:00 AM - QQ3.02
Living in a Material World: Materials Engineering as a General Education Course on Technology
A Materials Engineering course was developed and taught as a General Education (GE) course on technology for non-engineering students at a comprehensive polytechnic undergraduate university. The course traces the link between historical and technological developments enabled by materials from the Stone Age to the Electronic Age, and contains a theme of the interplay between science and technology with society and the environment. Nano-scale science and technology is also a major topic, along with the associated risks and benefits.
Due to the varied (and nontechnical) backgrounds of the students, a combination of informal and formal education techniques was utilized. For instance, several resources from NISEnet were utilized and were found to be highly effective in achieving awareness and excitement of nanotechnology to a population that had very little or no knowledge of nano before the course. There was also great response to videos from InsideScienceTV and the NOVA program, Making Stuff.
Assignments were designed to encourage self-directed learning and to make the learning meaningful for individuals. As an example, students would create and share posters on how materials connected to their field of study and their lives. Other assignments included researching an example of biomimicry or bio-inspired materials and writing a report that discussed the impact of materials on society for an artifact that has historical and modern counterparts. The culmination of the course was a Materials Mini Maker Faire with teams of students presenting creative projects that involve materials.
Students were surveyed before and after the course on their definition of engineering and their conception of engineers as a means to examine the potential impact of the course. The goals of improving science literacy of the general public, as well as improving the conception of engineers were achieved.
9:15 AM - QQ3.03
Enhancing Engineering Research - Skills through Art
Very often engineering courses draw students from many different fields and disciplines. This becomes even more frequent nowadays that the traditional walls between disciplines become obsolete and techniques, theories and methods in one discipline find application in other disciplines, once thought irrelevant. This becomes very challenging for the teachers that not only have to adjust their courses to fit the many different educational backgrounds, but also draw the attention and increase the interest to the taught material.
The years 2008-2010 we were teaching the graduate course of the “Interfacial Phenomena” focused on theories and models that explain physical phenomena at liquid-solid, liquid-liquid, solid-air and liquid-air interfaces. Naturally the application of these phenomena are found in many different fields attracting students from a large number of disciplines such, Materials Science and Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Soil and Water Science, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Pharmacy and Food Science & Human Nutrition. The emphasis was given through the course was not only to teach the material, but also to develop (i) appreciation for synergistic integration of knowledge, (ii) critical thinking and (iii) team work. The goal was to attain these aspects, while maintaining the high level of the engineering aspects involving calculations and development of procedures for specific outcomes. To achieve this goal we introduced a paint lab where the students had to work in teams and create a painting of a photograph depicting the sunset on the beach by using different textures to paint the different elements of the composition (sand, rocks, sky water etc.). The students had to design the paint they wanted to use based on the course material and then use the Particle Engineering Research Center labs to synthesize it. Guest lecturers introduced the students to elemental concepts of painting.
In this project art was used to engage students of very different and diverse backgrounds to learn how to integrate knowledge - an important goal of the Interfacial Phenomena course.
9:30 AM -
10:00 AM - QQ3.04
Twelve Years Technology-Enabled Enhancement and Sharing of a Materials Characterization Course by Five Virginia Universities
Course viability requires dealing with issues of adequate class size, diversity of academic background and goals, English fluency, heavy content and more. To this end, for twelve years a consortium of five Virginia universities, including an HBCU, has shared a first-year graduate course on materials characterization. The journey began with just classroom co-presence. The present state includes common-server availability of materials (presentation slides, background articles, e-books), of content-delivery lectures (“full flip”) and of recorded class sessions (all). Current issues include improving access for hands-on lab sessions and effective use of the extensive in-class discussion time made available by flipping.
10:15 AM - QQ3.05
Challenges of International Education of Highly Specialized Topics of Materials Science and Engineering
Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is a relatively small discipline of engineering in terms of the number of professionals engaged in its pursuit. On the other hand, it encompasses perhaps the broadest list of technical topics that should be taught, ranging from basic sciences such as physics, chemistry and biology, to highly applied manufacturing of complex structures with exceptional properties, to long-term performance with minimal environmental impact, etc. Thus, there is a major disparity between the educational resources, the needs of the MSE discipline and the number of students interested in specific specialized topics that can be taught at a given institution. An example of this challenge of MSE education pertains to glass, which is a small subsection of materials, yet the one that enabled several of the 20 greatest inventions of the 20th century and is needed to solve most of the greatest technological challenges of today.
During the past nine years, International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass (IMI-NFG - see www.lehigh.edu/imi) has promoted glass education in some 30+ countries with support from NSF. Through IMI-NFG we have experimented with three different models to address above issues by pooling both the expertise that exists at various universities and glass companies, and the student body that is scattered at many more institutions across the globe: (1) Model A (multi institution team teaching or MITT), where professors at several universities in USA taught a graduate level course by giving lectures on topics of their expertise while the students from their as well as additional universities took the course . (2) Model B, where an international professor invited by IMI-NFG as a sabbatical faculty to teach a narrowly focused course at a US university, which was attended by students at US and foreign universities and private companies. (3) Model C, where an expert at a glass company in Germany taught a highly specialized course to the students in USA and other countries. These 1 to 3 credit courses were offered at the level of a first year graduate student of MSE. All lectures were delivered with two-way live communication between the instructor and students anywhere in the world. All the lectures were videotaped and made available to the students who could not participate due to inconvenient time difference or other personal reasons. Notwithstanding the commonalities of the three models, there were significant differences in the logistics and outcome of the three models. These will be identified and discussed in this presentation along with the feedback from the students and instructors of this exercise in international education.
. W. Heffner, H. Jain, S. Martin, K. Richardson, E. Skaar, ‘Multi-institution team teaching (MITT): a novel approach to highly specialized graduate education’, Proc. Ann. Conf. ASEE. 2009, 14 pages: http://soa.asee.org/paper/conference/paper-view.cfm?id=12383
10:30 AM - QQ3.06
Providing Laboratory Internships for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Undergraduates
Over the past ten summers, forty deaf or hard of hearing undergraduates participated in a
six-week research internship at Tufts University. The goal is to prepare the students for participation in the scientific community and to provide positive scientific experiences at a formative time in their educational lives. This on-going program includes course work in polymer materials science, writing workshops, and scientific ethics. Sign language interpreters were provided for the classroom sessions. In the laboratory we used computers connected to LCD projectors, white boards, and paper writing tablets for communication.
Most of the students' time was spent in the laboratory of the Polymer Physics Group, where the interns learned the practical fundamentals of materials science and engineering. These included: nanocomposite sample preparation and heat treatment, examination of microstructure, characterization of different crystallographic phases, and property measurement. The interns contributed to the scientific knowledge base through their study of nanocomposites of poly(vinylidene fluoride), PVDF, with organically modified silicate, OMS. During the internship, the students used wide angle X-ray diffraction, thermal analysis, Fourier Transform infrared spectroscopy, and polarizing light microscopy to study PVDF/OMS in various composition ratios. A major outcome of their work was the discovery that even very low concentrations of OMS result in formation of the polar beta crystal phase of PVDF.
10:45 AM - QQ3.07
Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Materials Research via Collaboration and Computational Methods
The ever increasing importance of advanced materials has made it imperative to accelerate the speed with which they proceed from the laboratory to the marketplace. As a result, the Material Genome Initiative (MGI) has been proposed to speed up this pace, through the development of a materials innovation infrastructure that is heavily reliant on collaboration between computation and experiment. Our work aims to provide an environment for interdisciplinary team-based research that effectively integrates materials science and computational analysis as a mechanism to expose undergraduates to the research process. The research group includes students and faculty from the Department of Physics at Southern Connecticut State University (SCSU) in collaboration with Center for Research on Interface Structures (CRISP) Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program. CRISP is an NSF MRSEC at Yale and SCSU. Samples were fabricated in specialized CRISP facilities at Yale while the characterization took place in the CRISP NanoCharacterization Facility at SCSU. Binary and ternary thin film samples with a compositional gradient were investigated using scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to ascertain information about the surface structure and composition, respectively. The focus of this work is the development of a general methodology to facilitate the consistent and rapid collection of data, using software to automate the SEM/EDS system to determine composition as a function of position. Data collected will be organized in databases, suitable for online retrieval, as well as the creation of composition maps of thin film deposits. Undergraduates exposed to such methods develop a dynamic skill set crucial to their success in future graduate endeavors.
11:00 AM - QQ3.08
Teaching to the Gaps in Nanobiotech Education; Case Study: Phase Contrast Enhancement is Truly Limited by Materials Design in Diagnostic Imaging
In executing the educational mission relating to biomaterials, its difficult to identify areas in published textbooks that point to the future in harnessing the true nature of nanobiotechnology. Usually, what is highlighted for example of crystallites found within cortical bone which is on the nanoscale, or perhaps trafficking through eukaryotic membranes that can also have a antigen-antibody binding that is also on the nano-scale. In the realm of imaging and the development of phase contrast, this sub-discipline has been relegated to departments of radiology in the medical school focused on individual modalities (MRI vs X-ray CT vs PET scanning) and electrical and biomedical engineering who have been developing algorithms to increase throughput without compromising resolution. Teaching aids such as typical textbooks used in typical biomaterials classes generally never present the challenge or the need, nor do they identify the attributes of promising new candidate phase contrast enhancement agents which for MRI include Gadolinium-based chelate compounds, true nanomaterials in their own right. I argue that the biomaterials sub-discipline would benefit from including these high-value and important solutions and dispersions within the regular classroom experience, and articulating the financial incentive to indicate why safer and more effective phase contrast agents are the true textbook example of nanobio within the MSE curriculum.
11:15 AM - QQ3.09
Science and Engineering Professional Societies’ Diversity, Equity, and Outreach Efforts: A Panel Discussion
Enhancing diversity in STEM fields in general and in the Materials Science profession in particular requires reaching out to and engaging college students, both graduate and undergraduate, in the experiences that professional societies and meetings provide. Ultimately, outreach efforts must be extended to include students from high schools and eventually K-8 levels. Early exposure to role models and mentors, through experiential learning opportunities at colleges and universities across the U.S., remains a critical ingredient to the development of a diverse STEM community.
Professional societies play a key role in facilitating networking, professional development, mentoring, outreach, and exposure to role models for underrepresented minorities and women in the science and engineering fields. A panel of leaders and organizers will present several diversity initiatives, including collaborations with Minority Serving Institutions (MSI), NSF support, Industry Partners, the MRS Graduate Mentoring Program and the concept of the mentoring circle of success, training, and awards and recognitions. The goals of this panel discussion are to create awareness about the diversity, equity, and outreach programs being developed and implemented by the MRS and other societies, and to engage the larger community in these efforts.
QQ4: Impact of Hands-On Demonstrations
Chair: Kevin Dilley
- Tuesday PM, December 3, 2013
- Hynes, Level 3, Room 303
1:30 PM - *QQ4.01
Material Matters in the Physics Classroom
What do fiber optics, superconductors, memory wire, polymers, solid state devices, ferrofluid, rare earth magnets, carbon-based electroacoustic devices, and photonic crystals have in common? They are all products of materials science research. Many of these advances have played an important role in improving daily life; all are capable of enhancing the teaching of physics. This paper will address how topics from materials science can be used to ignite student interest by providing the basis for engaging hands-on activities.
2:00 PM - QQ4.02
Low-Cost, Experimental Curriculum in Material Science Using Candy Glass and Home-Built Apparatus
We have been developing a collection of low-cost experiments for exploring the science of glassy materials through hands-on activities with sucrose based glass (a.k.a. hard candy). This innocuous and easy to synthesize model glass system provides a vehicle for quantitative exploration of the materials properties and behavior exhibited by both commercial oxide and polymeric glasses, but at much more accessible temperatures. This mini-curriculum of glass science consists of inter-related experiments and home built apparatuses. It provides an environment to develop an understanding of glassy materials through active, prolonged engagement. The individual components always capture the attention of a wide range of audiences from elementary school to graduate level and serve as effective materials outreach to the general public. Some of our earlier experiments were reported four years ago , including the synthesis, phase diagrams, refractive index measurement, a fiber drawing tower, crystallization kinetics and a rudimentary version of a DTA. Since that report we have made substantial improvements and added new topics, including electrical and thermal conductivity, improved DTA apparatus, and improved methodology and apparatus for crystallization kinetics. All of our experiments are designed to be low-cost (typically <$100) and the apparatuses are designed for assembly by students or teachers. These resources are all available at no cost on our website (http://www.lehigh.edu/imi/), which also includes interesting and informative video lectures on glass and materials science to complement the learning experience. The expended curriculum and our experience with its implementation in the classroom will be discussed in this presentation.
This work is supported by the International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass through the NSF Grant (DMR-0844014).
1. W. Heffner and H. Jain, Mat. Res. Symposium Proc., Vol. 1233, Fall 2009.
2:15 PM - QQ4.03
The Nanostructure of Abalone Seashells for All Ages
The growing societal importance of nanotechnology makes it increasing important that K-12 students, undergraduates, graduate students, teachers and parents al develop an awareness of nanotechnology. There are an ever increasing number of resources for nanotechnology education available. However, they are often viewed as discrete items for discrete audiences. This increases the burden on nanoeducation leaders and creates missed opportunities for dialogue among various groups. Content that can be readily adaptable based on time constraints, number of participants, age, and education level increases dissemination efficiency. This talk describes the development of a module on abalone’s nanoscale structure, strength and optical properties. Successful adaptations for different time formats, students from K-20 , teachers, and parents are also described. The core of the module enables participants to compare abalone and common synthetic forms of calcium carbonate, namely chalk, antacids and vitamin supplements. A simple drop test using PVC pipe and fishing weights is used to enable ranking the toughness of the materials. Comparing the friability of baked abalone shells whose proteins have been denatured enables participants to literally feel the importance of both the “bricks” and “mortar” in abalone’s structure. The iridescence of the abalone shells provides further insights on structure and connections for student interested in art.
2:30 PM -
3:00 PM - QQ4.04
The NANOLAB Project: Educational Nanoscience at High School
De Renzi, Guido
The growing role of the nano-perspective in contemporary technologies naturally calls for the inclusion of nanoscience in high school curricula. In addition to rising student consciousness about such a pervasive topic, and to the huge technological interest, which naturally appeals to students, nanosciences are a natural playground to introduce modern physics in a hands-on interdisciplinary way. Indeed, owing to the fact that nano-systems set themselves between the quantum scale of atoms and the classical macroscopic scale, they easily couple to several controllable external fields (temperature, pressure, visible light, electrostatic fields, etc), but often respond to such fields in different, or even opposite ways with respect to 'classical' materials. This opens the possibility to expose intrinsically quantum phenomena even in school laboratories. The unusual properties of nano-systems can in some cases be probed by simple experiments, including systematic data collection, in contrast to spectacular but qualitative-only demonstrations, which can be employed even at the early stages of scientific education, when treating the simplest phenomenology of matter (electrical conduction, elasticity, friction, etc.) to convey that there is more to be understood with respect to 'classical' cases. This, in addition to the very recent history of many nano-materials, with many applications still to be envisioned and others which are being studied but did not yet hit the market, makes the investigation performed by students to reflect the research that is presently being done in laboratories around the world. This clearly favors an inquiry based approach to Science.
NANOLAB www.nanolab.unimore.it is an open project aiming at including nano-inspired hands-on activities in high schools.It consists of simple, cheap, robust and safe experimental protocols, currently covering four areas of nanoscience: smart metals, nanoparticles, conductive polymers, nano-friction. Within each area, integrated hands-on activities are offered, from manual to digital data collection and elaboration, including use of pupils’ own mobile devices (cell and smart phones, tablets) which turn out to be powerful, low-cost, sensitive multi-purpose lab tools, with an added impact on student motivation and active involvement in what we could rightly call a hi-tech hands-on approach.The experimental protocols, including videoguides, students' sheets, and a large sets of supporting materials for teachers, focused on the new physics behind the phenomena, are published under Creative Commons license in an open website
In such a picture the role of teachers undergoes a dramatic change compelling them in a not artificial way to focus more on experimental method and research skills. To give them adequate support and provide solid background knowledge a first teachers coaching course was held in autumn 2011 in Modena and a new one will run in September 2013.
3:15 PM - QQ4.05
SCIENCountErs: A Hands-On after School Program to Teach Middle School Students about Science and Engineering
SCIENCoutnErs, a collaboration between the University of Wisconsin-Madison Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC) and The Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County, is a hands-on after school program to excite and engage middle school students about science and engineering topics. SCIENCountErs was established in 2005 to help change attitudes toward science and engineering and encourage students from underrepresented groups to purse careers in science and engineering fields. To date the SCIENCountErs program has impacted close to 1000 students in the Madison area. In 2012 the NSEC began nationwide expansion of the SCIENCountErs program, currently SCIENCountErs has sites at eight locations nationally. This presentation will highlight the history and goals of program, including the SCIENCountErs pedagogical model, SCIENCoutnErs curriculum, student assessment strategy, and program evaluation.
3:30 PM - QQ4.06
Hydroglyphics: Demonstration of Selective Wetting on Hydrophilic and Hydrophobic Surfaces
A visual demonstration of the difference between hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces is presented. The demonstration involves placing a shadow mask, such as thick stickers, on an optically clear hydrophobic plastic dish, and then corona treating the dish to convert hydrophobic surfaces to hydrophilic ones only on the unmasked areas. When the stickers are removed, the dish still appears optically clear. However, because of the difference between the hydrophobic masked areas and hydrophilic unmasked areas, the invisible encrypted message can be seen when water is applied. This demonstration is called “hydroglyphics” from combining “hydro”, meaning water, and “glyph”, a mark or carved element in a writing system, such as Egyptian hieroglyphics. The hydroglyphics demonstration is appropriate for all levels.The middle school and younger age groups were “wowed” by seeing their initials. One student said the hydrophobic state “was like waxing Dad’s car”. Older students (to the graduate level) were also impressed and could understand the reasons for it. Students tend to make more than one hydroglyphic sample and wanted to keep them to show this effect to their friends and parents later. Some students wanted to learn more details for what is actually happening with the corona treatment. Overall, it is a very engaging demonstration.
3:45 PM - QQ4.07
How Catalyst Works in Water Splitting - Improving Performance with Nano-Scale Structures
We developed a scientific module on “how catalyst works in water splitting” to promote STEM education for K-12 grade students in Black Belt region of Alabama. In this module, electrocatalytic activities of platinum (Pt) in water splitting are clearly demonstrated by comparing reaction rate (number of bubbles) between simple stainless steel wires and Pt wires as metal electrodes. Since surface area is important for catalyst to speed up chemical reactions, we made the surface of catalyst Pt wires rough using sand paper. It was evident from the visual observations that the scratched platinum electrodes generated more bubbles in comparison to the regular (unscratched) platinum wires.
To promote student-centered learning, the module utilizes the 5E instructional model consisting of engage, explore, explanation, elaborate, and evaluation. Through hands-on activities, PowerPoint presentation, and 3D visualizations, middle and high school students will be given a set of knowledge tools to fully understand how a catalyst works in water splitting.