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Use Of Collaborative Learning Exercises To Increase Student Motivation And Learning In An Introduction To Materials Engineering Course

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Creative Ways to Present Basic Materials

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.1351.1 - 9.1351.10



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Paper Authors

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Hilary Lackritz

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Stacy Gleixner

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

Session # 3664

Use of Collaborative Learning Exercises to Increase Student Motivation and Learning in an Introduction to Materials Engineering Course

Stacy H. Gleixner and Hilary Lackritz

Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering, San Jose State University, San Jose, CA

Abstract A collection of collaborative, in-class exercises have been designed for use in a freshmen/ sophomore level Introduction to Materials Science and Engineering class. The activities are team based problems that include open ended design problems, calculation questions, and thought problems on unanswered research questions. The activities have been designed with the goal of having one or two a week embedded in a more traditional lecture setting. The exercises relate to the topics covered in most standard Introduction to Materials classes (crystal structure, mechanical properties, polymers, phase diagrams…). Each activity is designed specifically to engage the students in the lecture and excite them about the material. This is accomplished by relating the lecture material to a modern application. For example, students learn about the mechanical properties of different polymer structures by comparing plastic bags and milk bottles. The author has found that one major tool needed for the success of the collaborative learning exercises has been the implementation of reading quizzes. The reading quizzes are quick, five minute quizzes on the assigned reading done at the beginning of class. The students are then ready (and excited) to work on higher level problems in-class. Survey results of student’s opinion show that the reading quizzes and collaborative learning exercises increase the student’s learning (in their opinion) and increase their motivation to read prior to class and attend class.

Introduction to Materials Engineering Course Overview Throughout history, from the Stone Age to the Silicon Age, major advancements in technology have been marked by materials. Each new technical innovation has required discoveries in materials to surmount barriers and limitations. This leads to an overlap between materials science and almost every other engineering field. Electrical engineers use materials science and engineering to produce computer chips, lasers, and superconductors. Structural materials such as concretes for roads and metals for buildings and bridges are crucial to civil engineers. Mechanical engineers must consider the strength and long term reliability of the materials used in their designs. Light weight, strong materials are continuously researched and tested by aerospace engineers. Biomedical engineers investigate alternative materials for transplants, artificial limbs, and surgical tools.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright . 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Lackritz, H., & Gleixner, S. (2004, June), Use Of Collaborative Learning Exercises To Increase Student Motivation And Learning In An Introduction To Materials Engineering Course Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--12869

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