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Guided Inquiry Lessons For Introduction To Materials

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Introductory Materials Science Course

Tagged Division


Page Count


Page Numbers

13.660.1 - 13.660.12



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Paper Authors


Elliot Douglas University of Florida

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Elliot P. Douglas is Associate Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Florida. His education research focuses on critical thinking, active learning in the classroom, and qualitative methods for engineering education.

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Guided Inquiry Lessons for Introduction to Materials Abstract

This proposal describes a project to develop and test new classroom materials for the Introduction to Materials course within the engineering curriculum that utilize an active learning, team-based approach. This pedagogy has been termed Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), and is based upon the learning cycle model. Rather than sitting in traditional lectures, students work in teams to complete worksheets that guide them through the process of learning. In this way students are actively engaged in processing the information and have the opportunity to utilize and develop important skills such as teamwork, communication, and critical thinking. Assessment of the effectiveness of this approach is being conducted using measures of content knowledge through the Materials Concept Inventory and student self- assessment of their learning through the Student Assessment of Learning Gains. Preliminary analysis of data from the MCI for a portion of the control group shows that there are significant gains in learning even in a traditional lecture class, and that the MCI appears to have some bias against women.


Traditional models of teaching are focused on the delivery of content. It is assumed that learning occurs by the instructor telling the students the information. The problem with this approach is that it does not match with the research on learning. The well-known cognitive model of learning, developed in the field of psychology, describes the processes by which a learner acquires new information.1 Figure 1 illustrates this model. The key point to note in this model is that information is actively manipulated in the mind of the learner within the context of the existing structure of the learner’s long-term memory. The learner has essentially three options: 1) The information can be accommodated into the existing structure. The traditional lecture approach assumes that this always occurs; 2) The new information does not fit into the existing


Information is Information Environment Learner focuses impacts senses manipulated in influences on key stimuli working memory behavior

Long term memory is consulted and/or changed to accommodate new data.


Figure 1: Schematic diagram illustrating the cognitive model

Douglas, E. (2008, June), Guided Inquiry Lessons For Introduction To Materials Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--3127

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