Asee peer logo

Teaching Material And Energy Balances To First Year Students Using Cooperative Team Based Projects And Labs

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

New Trends in CHE Education I

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.1144.1 - 14.1144.30



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Michael Hanyak Bucknell University

visit author page

Michael E. Hanyak, Jr. is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University since 1974. He received his B.S. from The Pennsylvania State University, M.S. from Carnegie Mellon, and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976. His teaching and research interests include computer-aided engineering and design, courseware development and the electronic classroom. He was one of the principal investigators with Brian Hoyt, William J. Snyder, Edward Mastascusa, and Maurice Aburdene on a five-year National Science Foundation grant (#9972758, 1999-2004), entitled Combining Faculty Teamwork, Applied Learning Theory, and Information Technology: A Catalyst for Systemic Engineering Education Reform. Courseware and pedagogical developments have been the focal points of his professional career.

visit author page


Timothy Raymond Bucknell University

visit author page

Timothy M. Raymond is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University since 2002. He received his B.S. from Bucknell University in 1997 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2002. His teaching and research interests include atmospheric chemistry and physics, aerosol and particle studies, and improving engineering education. He received an NSF CAREER award (#0746125, 2008-2013), entitled Aerosol-Water Interactions in the Atmosphere. This work focuses on combining aerosol particle research with educational opportunities for undergraduates.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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



A team-based cooperative learning environment for teaching Principles of Chemical Engineering (the material and energy balances course) has been used at Bucknell University for several years. This course has been carefully designed to include a variety of "best practices" to help prepare chemical engineering students in their first course in the curriculum. The course involves five two-week projects where students work in teams to complete problems covering a range of materials and, at the same time, practice teamwork and professional skills. Additionally, each project involves a complex laboratory experiment and use of process simulation software (HYSYS) problems. This work is carefully guided by the course instructors in a way to promote independent learning while assessing the desired outcomes. Assessment for this course has been ongoing and involves a range of data from team self-reports, before and after project concept inventories, individual surveys, team surveys, and final course evaluations. This paper will explain the details of the course setup, the unique application and evaluation of various "best practices" used in the course, and assessment/evaluation of the benefits of the cooperative learning environment.

Introduction (Why?)

Principles of Chemical Engineering (CHEG 200) is the introductory course in the chemical engineering curriculum at Bucknell University. At other universities this course is sometimes referred to as the “stoichiometry” or the “material and energy balance” class. The purpose of the class is to introduce students to the major concepts and ideas related to chemical engineering. This allows students to 1) confirm their choice of major discipline (do they really want to be chemical engineers or is this discipline what they were expecting?) and 2) form the basis of ideas and concepts needed to be successful as chemical engineers. Traditionally and historically, this course at most institutions would be a lecture-based course covering material and energy balances. It would not include a laboratory but rather would rely solely on students performing homework problems from the textbook while working individually or in small, independently- formed groups.

Research into how students learn has shown that people are more likely to abstract the relevant features of concepts and to develop a flexible representation of knowledge when a subject is taught in multiple contexts, including examples that demonstrate wide application of what is being taught.1 Educational researchers also widely acknowledge that learning by doing is more effective for most people than passively listening to a lecture.2 Finally, there is consistent and strong data from employers of chemical engineers that the primary attributes they are looking for in new hires include problem-solving skills, teamwork skills, and communication skills.3 These data have been a strong motivation to change how the first chemical engineering course is taught.

Hanyak, M., & Raymond, T. (2009, June), Teaching Material And Energy Balances To First Year Students Using Cooperative Team Based Projects And Labs Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5629

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015