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Practical Considerations For Miniaturized Hands On Learning Stations

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2006 Annual Conference & Exposition


Chicago, Illinois

Publication Date

June 18, 2006

Start Date

June 18, 2006

End Date

June 21, 2006



Conference Session

ChE: Innovation in Existing Courses

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

11.1004.1 - 11.1004.6



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Paper Authors

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Paul Golter Washington State University Orcid 16x16

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Bernard Van Wie Washington State University

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Jonathan Windsor Washington State University

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Gary Held Washington State University

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

Practical Considerations for Miniaturized Hands-on Learning Stations Abstract: Believing student learning in technical courses is enhanced when using a working model of a system during class, we are left wondering how to do that. Most commercially available equipment is relatively expensive, and at the smallest, is scaled for the laboratory bench. Fluid mechanics and heat transfer equipment also requires utility hook ups. How do we by-pass these obstacles to create low cost units, with no external utility requirement, that can be placed on student desktops? How, for example, do we make a double pipe or shell and tube heat exchanger that a student could use in a lecture hall? Here we describe the considerations involved in designing a hands-on desktop demonstration unit – one that is useful in the standard classroom by small groups of students to quickly demonstrate most of the basic fluid and heat transfer concepts. The system serves to enhance qualitative understanding and can be used to measure quantitative information in minutes using hot and cold tap water reservoirs, gravity flow, non-electronic flow meters, manometers, pressure transducers and temperature probes with small-scale readouts.


There is a well known need to re-visit the way in which engineers are trained to better prepare the next generation of engineers for the challenges of our changing society. [1] This can be done either by adding more courses, and thus more years, to engineering curricula or by utilizing alternate pedagogical techniques that can simultaneously enhance learning of core concepts and develop traditionally neglected ‘soft’ skills such as good communication practices.

Alternate pedagogies include cooperative, hands-on, active and problem-based learning. Usually these pedagogies are applied individually. Figure 1 shows the well known ‘cone of learning’ which links complexity of an 10 % Read activity to the amount of knowledge retained. [2] An 20 % Hear implication of the correspondence of increasing complexity 30 % See of activity with increased retention is that combining alternate 50 % See & Hear pedagogies should increase learning effectiveness. In the 70 % Say Fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer course of the Chemical 90 % Say & Do Engineering program at Washington State University (WSU), we have been working on developing a novel approach that Figure 1. Learning Retention combines Cooperative (C), Hands-on (H), Active (A), and Problem-based (P) Learning pedagogies. We refer to this pedagogy as CHAPL and have discussed it in depth elsewhere.[3] A significant part of this pedagogy is the use of hands-on learning with dresser-sized modules containing an apparatus, water tanks, pumps, flowmeters, thermocouples, manometers and a whiteboard. Students are assigned an apparatus and must develop a learning exercise, including a reading assignment, quiz, and experiment, to instruct other students in the key concepts demonstrated by that apparatus. Due to the size and number of these modules, classes using this pedagogy must be held in a dedicated lab space. We have come to realize that one of the significant drawbacks to this method is the investment, in terms of space and equipment. Though we designed and built our current modules, it is possible to purchase a bench scale unit with similar attributes from a

Golter, P., & Van Wie, B., & Windsor, J., & Held, G. (2006, June), Practical Considerations For Miniaturized Hands On Learning Stations Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1084

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