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Two Legacy Cycle Modules In Math And Chemistry For High School Students Based On Fuel Cell Technology

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

High School Engineering Education

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1282.1 - 15.1282.15



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Paper Authors

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Mohamed Abdelrahman Tennessee Technological University

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Cynthia Rice-York Tennessee Tech University

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Dalton York Tennessee Tech University

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Cynthia Stowers Clark Range High School

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Robert Sircy Tennessee Tech University

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

Two Legacy Cycle modules in Math and Chemistry for High School Students based on Fuel Cell Technology


The current paper is focused on relaying the experience of two high school teachers that participated in a research experience for teachers (RETainUS) program at Tennessee Tech University during the summer of 2009. The program provided the teachers with the opportunity to experience the full cycle of research from formulating a research question and a research plan, to carrying out the research plan along side mentors who acted as consultants to the teachers. The two of the participants were a high school math teacher and a pre-service high school chemistry teacher. Although the two participants worked in the same fuel cell laboratory and shared to some extent the same mentor, the focus of their research and how they would take back their experience to class was completely different. The math teacher focused on research aimed at trying to identify patterns in the response of a PEM fuel cell under different operating conditions in order to better understand the internal behavior of the fuel cell. The chemistry teacher focused on improving the efficiency of Direct Methanol Fuel Cells by reverse engineering an alternative proton exchange membrane composite presented in a recent journal article. The experience of the two teachers has been challenging but rewarding with great contributions highlighted by high potential for being coauthors on technical refereed publications with their mentors. A component of the RET experience was the development of a Legacy Cycle inquiry lesson unit intended to connect engineering research to high school mathematics and science curriculum standards. This paper describes one of the mentor’s and teachers’ experiences and the two legacy cycles produced by the teachers.


The Center for Manufacturing Research of Tennessee Technological University is currently hosting an NSF supported site to provide thirty high school teachers with a 6-week multi- disciplinary summer experience in manufacturing relevant research with an academic year follow-up plan. This program aims to contribute to the retention and the advancement of the manufacturing base in the US through meaningful changes in the teachers’ understanding of manufacturing and how it relates to the Math and Science Curriculum1,2,3,4. The program also aims at improving the teachers’ comprehension of the research and development process through hands-on experience and real world problems5,6,7,8 that relate to: a) advancing the state of the art in conventional manufacturing processes such as metalcasting; b) new trends in manufacturing such as rapid prototyping, c) emerging technologies such as nanomaterials and manufacturing of fuel cells and special coating materials, and d) enabling technologies serving manufacturing processes in general such as intelligent optimization. Manufacturing is a field where boundaries between disciplines disappear opening opportunities for multidisciplinary research. The research projects and faculty mentors participating in the program represent 5 different disciplines in the college of engineering. This offers the teachers a multi-perspective view of how underlying mathematical and scientific concepts are integrated in engineering applications. RETainUS last summer targeted math and science high school teachers in the Upper Cumberland area which includes 14 counties, many of which are underserved and economically disadvantaged (60%)9. The program will also target Hamilton county school district with 42,000 students and a large

Abdelrahman, M., & Rice-York, C., & York, D., & Stowers, C., & Sircy, R. (2010, June), Two Legacy Cycle Modules In Math And Chemistry For High School Students Based On Fuel Cell Technology Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16116

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