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Materials Science Course For Nonmajors: An Exercise In Experiential Learning

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Materials Science for Nonmajors

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.891.1 - 9.891.9

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Paper Authors

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Jamie Workman

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

Session 3464

Materials Science Course for Non-Majors: An Exercise in Experiential Learning

Jamie Workman-Germann

Indiana University Purdue University, Indianapolis

Teaching Materials Science courses can be difficult. Teaching Materials Science courses to non-majors can be even more difficult, but teaching Materials Science courses to freshmen non-majors who have no chemistry or engineering background can be extremely challenging. The students in the Mechanical Engineering Technology (MET) program in the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at IUPUI are required to take an introductory Materials Science course their very first semester. Lacking the basic chemistry and engineering mechanics fundamentals, most of the concepts presented in this course are completely foreign to the students. The absence of the fundamentals coupled with the students’ naiveté about materials, products, and processes requires a slightly different approach in the classroom.

The MET program is a manufacturing based curriculum that emphasizes mechanical design, processing, and analysis. The information the students receive in the materials course will be encountered again in several of their major classes, but more from a design or manufacturing standpoint. The students need something they can relate to now because it is uncommon to have the foresight and understanding of how all this academic information will be important and utilized in the future. To help the students maximize their learning in the classroom and begin to understand the complexity of the manufacturing industry, various activities, laboratories, and tools have been developed for this Introduction to Materials course. These ideas were developed to engage the student in this course and help them obtain a deeper understanding and appreciation of the material world than they would get with a traditional lecture format. This paper discusses the strategies and tools used to present various materials concepts to the students along with the guided activities and laboratory experiments performed by the students.


Young children are very inquisitive and they want to figure out how and why everything works. It’s during this time in their lives, just after they have a firm command of the language until they are about 5 or 6 years old, that children are the most curious and want to explore their world. Children will test things out, take things apart, put them back together again, and repeat the process over and over again. Children learn by active

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Workman, J. (2004, June), Materials Science Course For Nonmajors: An Exercise In Experiential Learning Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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