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Introducing Engineering Through Candy

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Conference

2008 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

New Ideas for ChEs II (aka ChE Potpourri)

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

13.798.1 - 13.798.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/4169

Download Count

50

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Paper Authors

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Michael Birnkrant Drexel University

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Michael Birnkrant received a B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering on May 21, 2004 from Rutgers University. He will complete a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2008 at Drexel University. Michael is in his second year as an NSF GK-12 Teaching Fellow. He has also received funding from the NSF-IGERT fellowship, and the Drexel University College of Engineering Dean’s Fellowship. His doctoral research has focused on building three dimensional nanoscale structures by combining multiple nanoscale polymer processing techniques for use in organic photonic applications. Michael has an Engineer-in-Training License from the state of New Jersey, was a J.J. Slade Scholar at Rutgers and is a member of the ACS, as well as APS.

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Matthew Cathell Drexel University

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Matthew D. Cathell received B.A. degrees in Chemistry and Biochemistry in 2003 from La Salle University. He will complete a Ph.D. in Materials Science and Engineering in 2008 at Drexel University. Matthew is in his second year as an NSF GK-12 Teaching Fellow. He has also received funding support from the U.S. Dept. of Education GAANN program, the Koerner Family Fellowship, and the Drexel University College of Engineering. His doctoral research has focused on identifying and modifying natural polymer materials, fashioned into structurally-colored thin films, for binding aqueous heavy metals. Matthew is a member of the ACS, AAAS, Sigma Xi, as well as ASEE.

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Priscilla Blount Martha Washington Elementary School

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Priscilla Blount received her B.A. in Finance and Accounting and a M.S. in Education from St. Joseph's University. She has taught grades 1–8 in the School District of Philadelphia for the past 16 years. She is presently the lead teacher for math at Martha Washington Elementary School, and is a member of National Council for Teachers of Math.

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Jean Robinson Martha Washington Elementary School

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Jean R. Robinson received a B.S. and M.S. in Education from Penn State University. She has taught grades 3–8, including as a Math Resource teacher, in the School District of Philadelphia, and has been nominated as Teacher of the Year. She currently teaches the 6th grade at Martha Washington Elementary School, where she herself attended as a child.

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Adam Fontecchio Drexel University

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Eli Fromm Drexel University

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

Introducing Engineering through Candy

Abstract

Food engineering is a multidisciplinary field that deals with different aspects of food production and processing. Students’ familiarity with candy provides an excellent way to introduce middle school students to the sweeter aspects of engineering. A module that covered several mathematics concepts was developed around candy engineering.

The National Science Foundation Grades K-12 Fellowship offered at Drexel University College of Engineering paired a graduate student with a middle school teacher from the School District of Philadelphia. The team developed engineering-based several modules for inclusion in the middle school curriculum. The schools where the modules are being implemented consist of underrepresented students. In this atmosphere a single module was developed and implemented on mass, volume and density of two different candies. Upon the completion of the lesson activities the students were able to differentiate between mass and volume as well as calculate density.

The design of the module ensured that math skills that the students were having difficulty mastering were covered. The result of ensuring adequate coverage of the math skills in the module resulted in improvements measured on regionally administered benchmark exams. Analysis of student performance showed 19/26 students answered 75% or greater of the question on regional math benchmarks correctly. The improvement of student scores on the benchmark exams can be traced back to the overlap of the module with the math skills covered and their appearance on the benchmark exams.

Introduction

Delicious and inviting, food elicits a positive reaction from students young and old. The Food Network and the A&E specials are testament to the popularity that food has derived. The familiarity that we have with food can be harnessed to exemplify engineering. M&Ms has been used to teach math for many years and many great examples are given online about the distribution of colors in a bag of M&Ms. Instead of using the candy to learn basic statistics, Skittles and M&Ms can be used to expand science and math concepts using engineering as a vehicle for fifth grade students. In order to provide insight into food engineering, a module was developed at Martha Washington Elementary in Philadelphia, PA.

Martha Washington Elementary was one of the sites selected to host a Drexel University GK-12 Fellow. In collaboration with the Fifth and Six grade teachers, a module was designed, after observing the students and their performance on math benchmarks. Two concepts, in particular needed help and the module was built to ensure those math standards were covered in depth. After completion of the module, student’s performance on benchmark exams and attitudes in science were investigated. The increase in performance on benchmark exams and increase in the positive attitudes toward engineering.

Birnkrant, M., & Cathell, M., & Blount, P., & Robinson, J., & Fontecchio, A., & Fromm, E. (2008, June), Introducing Engineering Through Candy Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. https://peer.asee.org/4169

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