June 20, 2010
June 20, 2010
June 23, 2010
K-12 & Pre-College Engineering
15.745.1 - 15.745.15
Inspiring Future Electrical Engineers through Science Teachers
An engineering course was developed for the Masters of Science in Science Education program that introduces science teachers to the concepts necessary to understand the principles governing the operation of silicon solar cells. The summer course stresses that engineering is applied science and uses multi-disciplinary understanding of the physical sciences to understand, develop, and fabricate solar cells. The teachers went into the clean room and completed the processing steps to produce functional solar cells, then they tested and characterized them. The teachers left with a souvenir wafer and course material that aided them in the introduction of subject matter into their curricula. Program assessment was conducted and course outcomes measured through teacher surveys.
The Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE) department at Montana State University (MSU) has created two new laboratory intensive courses in which undergraduate (EE407) and graduate students (EE505) are given the opportunity to go into a clean room and process a silicon wafer to produce functional electrical or micromechanical devices. The equipment to offer these courses was purchased with funds from a National Science Foundation Grant under the Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) program. The purchased equipment was installed in a clean room that is now part of the Montana Microfabrication Facility. These courses are well received by engineering students; students leave with a greater appreciation and understanding of the processes used to create the electronics that are essential to our everyday life. Several of these students were interested in the idea of fabricating solar cells using the same equipment and technology. This interest generated the idea that a course developed for science teachers could be offered to harvest this enthusiasm. The thought was that an appreciation for solar cells could be expanded to middle and high school science teachers by offering them the same opportunity to learn about the operation and fabrication of solar cells. In turn, these science teachers would further communicate this excitement and knowledge to their students, which creates an invaluable opportunity to positively impact the development of and interest in science in today’s youth. Thus, a new engineering course was developed and added to the curriculum for the Master of Science in Science Education degree program at Montana State University.
Masters of Science in Science Education
The Master of Science in Science Education (MSSE) degree program was designed for science educators interested in pursuing graduate study while remaining employed. The majority of program students are practicing classroom teachers. Currently, there are about 350 science educators in the program.
Kaiser, T., & Taylor, P., & Plumb, C., & Tenenbaum, H., & Hodges, S. (2010, June), Inspiring Future Electrical Engineers Through Science Teachers Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15941
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