June 14, 2015
June 14, 2015
June 17, 2015
26.750.1 - 26.750.20
Facilitating Interdisciplinary Problem-Solving among Pre- Collegiate Engineering Students via Materials Science PrinciplesGiven that fundamental materials science principles transcend traditional disciplinaryboundaries, a grand opportunity exists to leverage materials science concepts to facilitatemultidisciplinary teaching and learning. This paper presents the development andimplementation of a three-phase teaching module designed to foster organic, cross-disciplinarydiscourse and learning among pre-collegiate engineering students. Thirty domestic andinternational high school students were selected for an introductory four-week summer course inengineering. The students were divided into two classes, either civil engineering or nuclearengineering, according to their disciplinary preferences. In Phase I of the interdisciplinarymodule, the students were taught fundamental discipline-specific concepts in separateclassrooms by their respective instructor (e.g., static equilibrium, nuclear reactor physics) overthe course of one week. In Phase II, a joint lecture on diffusion, a materials science topic ofmutual importance to both disciplines, was given to all students and facilitated by bothinstructors. In Phase III, the students worked in mixed, interdisciplinary teams in a structuredproblem-solving session in which they were asked to apply their knowledge of static equilibrium,diffusion, and nuclear principles to solve engineering design problems regarding reactor pressurevessels and radioactive waste casks.The effectiveness of this collaborative module in promoting cross-disciplinary learning wasassessed through an analysis of student responses to an anonymous survey. The results show thatthe module was effective in (a) teaching students the fundamental principles of diffusion, (b)fostering peer-to-peer teaching and learning, and (c) emphasizing the importance of teamworkand problem-solving across disciplines. The results also indicate that students developed abroader view regarding the applicability of their knowledge beyond their own disciplinaryboundaries. Given its universality, this materials-focused teaching module has the potential toserve as an effective model to foster interdisciplinary teaching and learning between otherengineering disciplines.
Djokic, D., & Srubar, W. V. (2015, June), Facilitating Interdisciplinary Problem Solving Among Pre-collegiate Engineering Students via Materials Science Principles Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24087
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