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Living in a Materials World: Materials Science Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Educators

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Teachers

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1019.1 - 22.1019.15



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Paper Authors


Louis S. Nadelson Boise State University

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Louis S. Nadelson is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Boise State University. His research agenda is conducted within the context of STEM education and includes aspects of conceptual change, inquiry, and pre-service and in-service teacher education. He has published research ranging from teacher professional development to the impact of inquiry on STEM learning. Dr. Nadelson earned a B.S. degree in Biological and Physics Science from Colorado State University, a B.A. with concentrations in computing, mathematics and physics from The Evergreen State University, a Secondary Teaching Certificate from University of Puget Sound, an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology Leadership from Western Washington University and a Ph.D. (research-based, not theoretical) in Educational Psychology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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Amy J. Moll Boise State University

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Amy J. Moll is a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at Boise State University. She joined the faculty in August, 2000. Amy received a B.S. degree in Ceramic Engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana in 1987. Her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees are in Materials Science and Engineering from University of California at Berkeley in 1992 and 1994. Following graduate school, Amy worked for Hewlett Packard in San Jose, CA and in Colorado Springs, CO. Along with Dr. Bill Knowlton, Amy founded the Materials Science and Engineering Program at BSU and served as the first chair. Amy’s research interests include microelectronic packaging, particularly 3-D integration and ceramic MEMS devices. Amy especially enjoys teaching the Introduction to Engineering and Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering courses as well as engineering outreach activities.

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Anne Louise Seifert Idaho National Laboratory

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Anne Seifert
i-STEM Coordinator

Anne Seifert is the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Coordinator for the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and serves as the INL’s Department of Energy Office (DOE) of Science Education Program Manager. She received a B.S. degree in elementary education with a minor in science and special education from University of Idaho. She completed a M.A. in Education Administration and an E.D.S. in Educational Leadership at Idaho State University. As a 30 year veteran educator, she served as highly skilled and outstanding elementary school teacher and administrator in Idaho Falls, Idaho and Denver, Colorado. She has been involved as an educational leader in school reform, assessment literacy, student achievement, school improvement, and has served as an advocate for STEM education in Idaho for many years. Anne was a member of a statewide school improvement leadership team sponsored by the Albertson’s Foundation and Boise State University. As an advocate for STEM education, Anne works aggressively to address the challenges facing educators as they seek to reform teaching and learning in STEM disciplines. As INL’s K-12 STEM Education Coordinator, her work involves coordinating partnerships with educators, the State Department of Education, business, and industry to raise the awareness of the need for quality K-12 STEM Education in an effort to arm students with the necessary skills of the 21st century in preparation for the workforce of tomorrow. She also serves as the i-STEM Executive Director. Anne believes that teachers empowered with right resources and outstanding professional development, can and will positively impact students; inspiring them to advance their studies in STEM areas so that they are prepared to make informed decisions that will positively impact the way they live, how they live, and our nation’s resources and security.

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Living in a Material World: Material Science Engineering Professional Development for K-12 EducatorsMaterial science has become an fundamental part of our technological developments and societystructures. For example, a cellular phone is composed of a polymer case, liquid crystal displays,LEDs, silicon chips, Ni-Cd batteries, resistors, capacitors, speakers, microphones all of whichhave required advances in material science to be compacted into a phone which is typicallysmaller than a deck of cards. Like many technological developments, cellular phones havebecome a ubiquitous part of society, and yet most people know little about the material scienceassociated with the devised. The probable conditions of constrained knowledge of the materialscience was the motivation for developing and offering a 20 hour four-day course called “Livingin a Material World.” The course was offered as part of a larger K-12 teacher professionaldevelopment project and was a component of a summer institute.The summer institute was a residential professional development program for k-12 educatorswhich included 20 hour content strands, and 12 hours of plenary sessions, planning, andcollaborative sharing. The focus of the institute was on enhancing teacher content knowledge inSTEM, their capacity for teaching using inquiry, their comfort and positive attitudes towardteaching STEM, their knowledge of how people learn, and strategies for integrating STEMthroughout the curriculum. “Living in a Material World” was one of the fifteen content strandsoffered at the institute.The 230 summer institute participants were pre/post tested on their comfort with STEM, theirperceptions of STEM education, their pedagogical discontentment, their implementations ofinquiry, their attitudes toward student learning of STEM, and their content knowledge associatedwith their specific content strand. The results from our research indicate a significant increase incontent knowledge (t = 11.36, p < .01) for the Materials World strand participant. Overall thesummer institute participants were found to have significant increases in their comfort levels forteaching STEM (t = 10.94, p < .01), in inquiry implementation (t = 5.72, p < .01) and attitudetoward teaching STEM (t = 6.27, p < .01) and significant decrease in pedagogical discontentment(t = -6.26, p < .01).In addition to the summer institute the participating teachers were provided with a kit of about$300 worth of materials and equipment to use to implement the content they learned in theirclassrooms. As part of this professional development project the participants were required todesign and implement 5 lesson plans with their students this fall and report on the results. Theplans for the use of the materials kits and the results will be presented in the full paper.

Nadelson, L. S., & Moll, A. J., & Seifert, A. L. (2011, June), Living in a Materials World: Materials Science Engineering Professional Development for K-12 Educators Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18288

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