Living in a Materials World: Materials Science Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Educators

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Advances in materials science are fundamental to technological developments and have broad societal impacs. For example, a cellular phone is composed of a polymer case, liquid crystal displays, LEDs, silicon chips, Ni-Cd batteries, resistors, capacitors, speakers, microphones all of which have required advances in materials science to be compacted into a phone which is typically smaller than a deck of cards. Like many technological developments, cellular phones have become a ubiquitous part of society, and yet most people know little about the materials science associated with their manufacture. The probable condition of constrained knowledge of materials science was the motivation ... continued below

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Seifert, Anne & Nadelson, Louis June 1, 2011.

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Advances in materials science are fundamental to technological developments and have broad societal impacs. For example, a cellular phone is composed of a polymer case, liquid crystal displays, LEDs, silicon chips, Ni-Cd batteries, resistors, capacitors, speakers, microphones all of which have required advances in materials science to be compacted into a phone which is typically smaller than a deck of cards. Like many technological developments, cellular phones have become a ubiquitous part of society, and yet most people know little about the materials science associated with their manufacture. The probable condition of constrained knowledge of materials science was the motivation for developing and offering a 20 hour fourday course called 'Living in a Materials World.' In addition, materials science provides a connection between our every day experiences and the work of scientists and engineers. The course was offered as part of a larger K-12 teacher professional development project and was a component of a week-long summer institute designed specifically for upper elementary and middle school teachers which included 20 hour content strands, and 12 hours of plenary sessions, planning, and collaborative sharing. The focus of the institute was on enhancing teacher content knowledge in STEM, their capacity for teaching using inquiry, their comfort and positive attitudes toward teaching STEM, their knowledge of how people learn, and strategies for integrating STEM throughout the curriculum. In addition to the summer institute the participating teachers were provided with a kit of about $300 worth of materials and equipment to use to implement the content they learned in their classrooms. As part of this professional development project the participants were required to design and implement 5 lesson plans with their students this fall and report on the results, as part of the continuing education course associated with the project. 'Living in a Materials World' was one of the fifteen content strands offered at the institute. The summer institute participants were pre/post tested on their comfort with STEM, their perceptions of STEM education, their pedagogical discontentment, their implementations of inquiry, their attitudes toward student learning of STEM, and their content knowledge associated with their specific content strand. The results from our research indicate a significant increase in content knowledge (t = 11.36, p < .01) for the Living in a Materials World strand participants. Overall the summer institute participants were found to have significant increases in their comfort levels for teaching STEM (t = 10.94, p < .01), in inquiry implementation (t = 5.72, p < .01) and efficacy for teaching STEM (t = 6.27, p < .01) and significant decrease in pedagogical discontentment (t = -6.26, p < .01).

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  • 118th ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition: Your Passport to Engineering Education,Vancouver, BC,06/26/2011,06/29/2011

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  • Report No.: INL/CON-11-21061
  • Grant Number: DE-AC07-05ID14517
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1027890
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc839971

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

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  • June 1, 2011

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • June 20, 2016, 2:01 p.m.

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Seifert, Anne & Nadelson, Louis. Living in a Materials World: Materials Science Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Educators, article, June 1, 2011; Idaho Falls, Idaho. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc839971/: accessed December 10, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.