June 12, 2005
June 12, 2005
June 15, 2005
10.1056.1 - 10.1056.8
Reaching 6th through 8th Grade Students through the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Teachers Program
Alice E. Smith1, Cynda Fickert2, Mark Jones3
The National Science Foundation instituted a novel program recently called Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) which allows principal investigators to request a funding supplement to existing grants to enable interaction with K-12 teachers. At Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering received funding for two teachers for the summers of 2002 and 2003. A science teacher of 6th and 7th graders and a math teacher of 8th graders joined the research team on the project “Relating Field Data to Accelerated Life Testing”. The project aimed to correlate wear and degradation of solder connections on under the hood electronic components with that expected through accelerated testing using temperature cycling. Besides conducting research, the other primary goal of the RET was for the teachers to develop classroom modules based on their research experiences. This experience has been enriching, not just for the teachers and their young students, but for the Auburn University industrial engineering faculty and students. This paper will describe how the RET program works and the possibilities for benefits to both K-12 and higher education in math, science and engineering.
Overview Through the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program, at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, Alice Smith of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering received funding for two teachers for the summers of 2002 and 2003. Mark Jones, a science teacher at Drake Middle School (6th and 7th grades), and Cynda Fickert, a math teacher at Auburn Junior High School (8th grade), joined the research team on the project “Relating Field Data to Accelerated Life Testing (EEC-0002669)”. Both schools are part of the Auburn City Schools. This school system serves a diverse student body which includes approximately 30% low income students. This project was conducted jointly with the interdisciplinary NSF sponsored University / Industry Center for Advanced Vehicle Electronics (CAVE) and DaimlerChrysler Electronics in Huntsville, Alabama. The project aimed to correlate wear and degradation of solder connections on under the hood electronic components with that expected through accelerated testing using temperature cycling. The test subject was the transmission controller on Jeep light trucks.
Jones, with his background in the natural sciences, worked primarily on the examination of the solder joint material through mechanical testing and scanning electron microscope photos. Fickert concentrated on the data analysis and statistical modeling for the correlation between mileage of the field units and solder joint degradation as measured through joint shear strength.
Besides conducting research, the other primary goal of the RET was for the teachers to develop classroom modules based on their research experiences. These modules were to be used in their classes as both hands on learning experiences for their students, and as stimulators for students to consider career opportunities in engineering. During the RET time, Fickert and Jones designed two inquiry-based units to use in each of their classrooms.
Jones says of his RET experience, “I use a great deal of discussion in my classroom to promote inquiry in my classroom culture. One aspect of that culture is the students’ perception of the teacher as an expert on certain topics. The experience with CAVE allows me to put myself in a professional setting if I find the opportunity to use that
1 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama. 2 Samford Junior High School, Auburn, Alabama. 3 Drake Middle School, Auburn Alabama.
ASEE Southeast Section Conference 2004
Jones, M., & Fickert, C., & Smith, A. (2005, June), Reaching 6 Th Through 8 Th Grade Students Through The National Science Foundation Research Experiences For Teachers Program Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/15113
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