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Inverted Approach to Teach Inversion

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2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Tampa, Florida

Publication Date

June 15, 2019

Start Date

June 15, 2019

End Date

October 19, 2019

Conference Session

Environmental Engineering Division Technical Session 3

Tagged Division

Environmental Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Fethiye Ozis P.E. Northern Arizona University

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Dr. Fethiye “Faith” Ozis is a lecturer in the civil and environmental engineering department at Northern Arizona University, where she teaches introduction to environmental engineering, computer aided drafting, air quality engineering and biotechnology courses since 2014. Faith holds an active research agenda related with engineering education and biotechnology advancements. She leads various faculty professional development efforts at NAU. She mentors Society of Women Engineers NAU chapter. Faith became an ASCE ExCEEd fellow in 2016, and enjoys every dimension of being an engineering educator. She is a registered professional engineer in Arizona.

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Nihal Sarikaya Northern Arizona University Orcid 16x16

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Nihal A. Sarikaya is a student in the Department of Business and Administration at Northern Arizona University. She is working toward a Master of Administration degree, with Professional Writing emphasis. Her goal is to become a medical/scientific writer. Sarikaya received her BS in biological sciences from the University of Southern California. Also, she has worked in academic research for five years and biopharmaceutical industry for six years, and managed an otolaryngology practice for five years.

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Adam Bringhurst

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Inversion is one of the most important weather phenomena that determines air quality and is typically covered in courses concerning air pollution. Anecdotal evidence indicates that following textbook readings and lectures, students generally express misconceptions about this topic. Adding active learning to the classroom has been advocated amongst the best practices for higher education, with physical in-class demonstrations being especially effective for engineering education. The study explores the impact of adding a laboratory demonstration, centered on creating an artificial inversion layer (with dry ice, smoke bombs, and bubble machine), to improve students’ conceptual understanding of inversion and air quality problems. The expected student outcomes from the activity are as follows: (1) Define inversion as a natural and important meteorological phenomenon; (2) Articulate a deeper understanding of inversion mechanics; and (3) Relate inversion with high ground level air pollutant concentrations. A pre-activity quiz of the students’ understanding, from their reading, was used to establish a baseline. The same quiz was delivered as a post-activity quiz, following the demonstration. We compared the results from the pre-activity quiz scores with the post-activity quiz scores. The results indicated an improvement in students’ understanding of inversion and air quality. The correct responses, to the question on inversion definition, increased by 45%. Students demonstrated improved understanding on the concept of mixing in stable air; the number of correct responses increased by 29%. Activity specific survey questions revealed that the average rating for “This demo was useful in promoting my learning of inversion” was 4.61±0.599, and for “This demo activity was a good use of class time” was 4.71±0.572 out of 5 scale. Based on the results, we believe that the demonstration was effective for improving students’ conceptual understanding of inversion and air quality. Active learning, such as an in-classroom demonstration, can improve the students’ ability to understand complex concepts. Adding a visual component to an abstract concept removes misconceptions.

Ozis, F., & Sarikaya, N., & Bringhurst, A. (2019, June), Inverted Approach to Teach Inversion Paper presented at 2019 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Tampa, Florida. 10.18260/1-2--33021

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