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Student-Created Water Quality Sensors

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Conference

2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Innovative Program and Curricular Development

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count

24

Page Numbers

22.1343.1 - 22.1343.24

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/18774

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

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Liesl Hotaling University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

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Liesl Hotaling is a senior engineer at the College of Marine Science, University of South Florida. She holds a B.S. in Marine Science, and Masters degrees in Science Teaching and Maritime Systems. She is a partner in Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence - Networked Ocean World
(COSEE-NOW) and specializes in real time data and hands-on STEM educational projects supporting environmental observing networks.

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Rustam Stolkin University of Birmingham, UK

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Dr. Stolkin is a Research Fellow at the Intelligent Robotics Lab, University of Birmingham, UK. He is an interdisciplinary engineer, with diverse research interests including Robotics, Computational Vision, Sensor Systems, and Science Education.

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Susan Lowes Columbia University, Institute for Learning Technologies, Teachers College

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Susan Lowes, Ph.D., is Director of Research and Evaluation at the Institute for Learning Technologies, Teachers College/Columbia University.

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James S. Bonner Clarkson University

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Dr. James S. Bonner,
Shipley Fellow, Professor
Civil and Environmental Engineering,
Old Snell Room 102,
Clarkson University,
PO Box 5764,
Potsdam, NY 13699.
Phone: 315-261-2166.
Fax: 315-268-7802.
Email: jbonner@clarkson.edu.

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William David Kirkey Clarkson University

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Temitope Ojo Clarkson University

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A Research Assistant Professor at Clarkson University, Dr. Ojo received his doctoral degree in Civil Engineering from Texas A&M University. His research focus is on development of innovative chemical and biological sensors for water quality measurements, oil spill monitoring and environmental assessment in coastal areas. Dr. Ojo has been involved with design and implementation of observing systems using an end-to-end systems approach.

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Peiyi Lin Columbia University, Teachers College

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Peiyi Lin is a doctoral candidate in the program in Communication, Computers, Technology and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Eastern Michigan University. Her research interests include the role of school administrators in teacher professional development and the influence of instructional leaders on school culture.

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Abstract

Student-created water quality sensorsSensor development is a topical and highly interdisciplinary field, providing motivating scenariosfor teaching a multitude of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjectsand skill sets.This paper describes the development and implementation of a carefully scaffolded set of highschool curriculum modules, tied to the state and national standards in science, math, andtechnology, that integrate fundamental STEM principles while at the same time introducingstudents to the field of sensors and sensor networks—technologies that are increasingly importantin all fields, but particularly in the world of environmental research.In this project, high school students first build, calibrate and test a set of sensors and circuits, tomeasure a variety of physical quantities. To build and understand their sensors, they must makeuse of a wide range of core knowledge of mathematics and physical science, as well as learningpractical hands-on technology skills such as soldering and debugging circuits. In later modules,students interface their sensors with computers, and write programs to gather raw signals from thesensors, implement calibration curves, and perform data manipulation and data logging. In latermodules, students program their own communications protocols for wireless data transmission,and connect their computerized sensor stations together to form a distributed wireless sensornetwork. Additional modules explore the use and implications of this technology for biosciencesand environmental research.The project has been highly successful in a wide range of classrooms, including pre-engineering,biology, earth science, physics, chemistry, mathematics and environmental science, for students atall academic levels, and in both rural and inner-city schools.This paper will provide an overview of the educational modules, a description of the sensors builtby students, and examples of how these activities are tied to core curricula, enabling the modulesto be utilized in regular classes without disrupting the semester’s teaching goals, and will brieflydiscuss the benefits of the professional development model through which they were introduced tothe teachers. We will then present the results of the first year of classroom implementation, duringwhich 36 teachers were equipped, trained on curriculum, and implemented the modules withapproximately 1,000 middle and high school students. Results show that as students engaged inhands-on problem solving, they learned engineering, math, and physics concepts. Not only didbuilding and testing sensors engage the students and increase their interest in STEM subjects andcareers, but increased their understanding of fundamental concepts of electricity and increasedtheir basic math (algebra) skills. Furthermore, their awareness of water quality as anenvironmental issue grew as well.

Hotaling, L., & Stolkin, R., & Lowes, S., & Bonner, J. S., & Kirkey, W. D., & Ojo, T., & Lin, P. (2011, June), Student-Created Water Quality Sensors Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. https://peer.asee.org/18774

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