June 15, 2019
June 15, 2019
June 19, 2019
Materials science and engineering has become an integral part of engineering education over the last few decades due to its interdisciplinary subject matter for wide variety of industrial applications. Interdisciplinary nature of the subject matter also means that students majoring in non-materials engineering disciplines, in particular mechanical engineering, are required to learn materials science and engineering as a part of core curriculum. Inspiring these students in a classroom setting for a hands-on topic like materials engineering poses a unique set of challenges while designing the curriculum. Curriculum includes establishing balance between learning materials science and engineering fundamentals, processing and materials selection particularly for mechanical product applications. In this manuscript, authors report a curiosity-driven self-learning methodology, ‘adopt-a-material’. The ‘adopt-a-material’ project is a part of a semester long exercise, which runs in parallel with the classroom learning. This project has shown to inspire and engage students to drive their passion for learning the subject. This is due to their natural curiosity and affection for a specific product adopted based on their personal interest either due to a hobby (e.g. fishing) or due to personal or family medical history (e.g. artificial heart valves) or due to social cause (e.g. homeless shelter tent), alike adopting a pet. During the semester, the project runs largely in parallel with classroom learning of traditional topics such as chemical bonding, crystal structure, defects, diffusion, materials testing, and materials processing. This allows students to connect the dots between the structure-property-processing for their adopted material in a self-driven project. The project is presented in a poster form at the Institute of Nano Materials Science and Engineering and is judged by faculty and doctoral graduate students. Poster session gives students an opportunity to discuss their ideas/research with the judges and to build their communication skills. Over the last five years, it was observed that peaking student’s interest through relevant everyday life product application helps their retention of the subject matter. As a result, at the end of the semester, students graduated from the class with a deeper appreciation and understanding of materials science and engineering.
Malshe, A. P., & Bapat, S. T. (2019, June), "Adopt-a-Material": A Case Study for Self-driven Learning Process for Undergraduate Students Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. https://peer.asee.org/31919
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