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Engaging Students Through an Interactive Mass Balance Fundamentals Demonstration

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Conference

2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access

Location

Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Best in 5 Minutes: Demonstrating Interactive Teaching Activities

Tagged Divisions

Civil Engineering and Environmental Engineering

Page Count

15

DOI

10.18260/1-2--34542

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/34542

Download Count

136

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Paper Authors

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Benjamin Michael Wallen P.E. United States Military Academy

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Benjamin Wallen is a Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 1996 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and obtained an M.S. from both the University of Missouri at Rolla in Geological Engineering and the University of Texas at Austin in Environmental Engineering. Most recently, he graduated with his Ph.D. from the Colorado School of Mines in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He teaches Water Resources and Planning, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering Technologies.

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Michael A. Butkus United States Military Academy

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Michael A. Butkus is a professor of environmental engineering at the U.S. Military Academy. His work has been focused on engineering education and advancements in the field of environmental engineering. His current research interests are in physicochemical treatment processes with recent applications in drinking water disinfection, lead remediation, sustainable environmental engineering systems, and contaminant transport. Butkus is a Board Certified Environmental Engineer and he is a registered Professional Engineer in the state of Connecticut.

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Nathaniel P. Sheehan United States Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0002-2259-5653

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Nathaniel Sheehan is a Major in the United States Army and has served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2010 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering and a 2013 Graduate from the University of Arkansas - Fayetteville with an M.S. in Engineering. He has taught Physical and Chemical Treatment, Environmental Science, and Environmental Engineering Technologies.

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Andrew Ng United States Military Academy

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Andrew Ng is a Captain in the United States Army and an Instructor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He is a 2010 graduate of the United States Military Academy with a B.S. in Environmental Engineering with honors and a 2019 graduate from the University of California, Berkeley with an M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He teaches Environmental Engineering for Community Development, Environmental Engineering Technologies, and Environmental Biological Systems.

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Andrew Ross Pfluger United States Military Academy Orcid 16x16 orcid.org/0000-0001-6960-2075

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Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Pfluger, U.S. Army, is an Assistant Professor and Academy Professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at the United States Military Academy. He earned a B.S. in Civil Engineering from USMA, a M.S. and Engineer Degree in Environmental Engineering and Science from Stanford University, and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. He is a licensed PE in the state of Delaware.

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Abstract

Employing mass balance concepts is one of the fundamental approaches to address many of the National Academy of Engineering’s Grand Challenges of the 21st century. Of the five stated grand challenges, the incorporation of mass balance principles is central to understanding and resolving four of the five technical challenges while it supports and informs decision making in the fifth. For burgeoning environmental engineers, the understanding of mass balance concepts is foundational for recognizing and solving the complex multimedia environmental problems they will face. Environmental engineering curricula therefore requires students to fully understand and demonstrate proficiency in the application of mass balance concepts. Unfortunately, many students struggle to initially visualize key aspects and understand assumptions used with the mass balance approach. A five-minute demonstration provides a visual, interactive classroom experience that improves understanding and learning for a broad spectrum of students’ learning style preferences. The approach presented in this paper has been successfully used in an introductory environmental engineering course taught predominantly to non-engineering majors as part of a three-course environmental engineering sequence. Current data suggests that the incorporation of this demo improves student understanding of mass balance concepts evidenced by improved quantitative testing scores over the past two years. Though longitudinal data is forthcoming on the efficacy on long term retention, we strive for each non-engineering major in the sequence to be able to more broadly contextualize and solve complex problems using mass balance principles by incorporating a deliberate systematic approach. Indeed, for our students to tackle the grand challenges of this century, they must be able to understand the inherent interconnectedness of global and regional environmental systems.

Wallen, B. M., & Butkus, M. A., & Sheehan, N. P., & Ng, A., & Pfluger, A. R. (2020, June), Engaging Students Through an Interactive Mass Balance Fundamentals Demonstration Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34542

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