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Experiments In The Classroom: Examples Of Inductive Learning With Classroom Friendly Laboratory Kits

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2003 Annual Conference


Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date

June 22, 2003

Start Date

June 22, 2003

End Date

June 25, 2003



Conference Session

Learning Enhancements for CHE Courses

Page Count


Page Numbers

8.557.1 - 8.557.10



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Paper Authors

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Polly Piergiovanni

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S. Scott Moor

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Session 3213

Experiments in the Classroom: Examples of Inductive Learning with Classroom-Friendly Laboratory Kits.

S. Scott Moor and Polly Piergiovanni Lafayette College

Abstract The educational literature is full of examples of the effectiveness of inductive and hands on learning. Laboratory experiments are clearly an excellent place to encourage this type of learning. However, it would be beneficial to mix laboratory material with classroom presentations and problem solving in a more flexible approach than a traditional separate laboratory and lecture allows. We have recently been developing some laboratory kits, designed to be used in a standard classroom.

In this paper we review the conceptual basis of using classroom laboratory kits and examples of our recent developments and experience with these kits. We are developing this approach for teaching process control and for teaching simple RLC circuits to Chemical Engineering students. In process control we are developing kits using the LEGO® RCX® brick and quick disconnect piping that allow students to experience a full design, build and test sequence. In electrical circuits we have simple snap together circuit kits that allow students to gain hands on experience with simple electrical principles in the classroom.

Using these kits in the classroom allows for a range of contemporary learning approaches to be applied including inductive learning approaches, Kolb’s experiential learning cycle and problem- based learning.

Introduction In most engineering courses and curriculum the classroom and the laboratory are separated in both time and space. Even when the laboratory is part of an individual course, it is still generally separate from the classroom portion of the class. This separation is usually necessary due to the difference in resources and time required for the various laboratory vs. classroom course activities. In addition, this separation has often resulted in excellent classes and laboratories. However an opportunity is being missed. As many of us seek to teach inductively, to teach using the structure of experiential learning cycles and to teach with an awareness of varied student learning styles, mixing lecture and laboratory is advantageous.

The use of laboratories is one of the distinctive features of engineering. Wankat and Orevitz1 suggest several goals that laboratories can meet including motivation and problem identification, discovery, induction, experience with equipment, real world type experiences, the opportunity to

Piergiovanni, P., & Moor, S. S. (2003, June), Experiments In The Classroom: Examples Of Inductive Learning With Classroom Friendly Laboratory Kits Paper presented at 2003 Annual Conference, Nashville, Tennessee. 10.18260/1-2--11569

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