Salt Lake City, Utah
June 23, 2018
June 23, 2018
July 27, 2018
Pre-College Engineering Education
As polymer science continues to be a strong area of research in STEM fields, there is a lack of high school students who have had exposure to this area during their coursework. This can lead to students not understanding the current state of STEM research or having little interest in pursuing these majors. To help introduce polymer science to high schools in New York State (NYS), a two-day summer workshop was developed for high school STEM teachers. Nine teachers from NYS were presented with several laboratory experiments and demonstrations designed to introduce polymer science to students. The labs were developed so that the materials were inexpensive and required little to no specialty products. Experiments included introductions to the chemical composition of polymers and how polymers with the same repeating unit can have different mechanical properties. A challenge problem was then given to the participants, in which they had to determine how to separate different recyclable materials based on their chemical and physical properties. Demonstrations were also shown to the participants to let them know about some of the current research being conducted at the university, including an introduction into light-activated shape memory polymers, and a simple procedure that can be used to make silver nanoparticles. Discussions were held after each experiment or demonstration to allow teachers to talk amongst one another about the strengths of the activities, how they could be edited, and how they could be introduced into the already existing curriculum. Assessment of the workshop was gathered, with overall positive reviews being received. Taking feedback from the participants, the itinerary of the workshop will be changed to present the experiments in a way that could be easily developed as a course module, with demonstrations being highlighted later in the program.
Jannini, A. V., & Buffington, S., & Henderson, J. H., & Mitchell, S. B. (2018, June), Polymers in the Classroom: Developing a Summer Workshop for High School Science Teachers (Resource Exchange) Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. https://peer.asee.org/30877
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