June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.1366.1 - 14.1366.11
What Lies Beneath the Materials Science and Engineering Misconceptions of Undergraduate Engineering Students?
Students from various engineering disciplines who enroll in an Introductory Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) class often harbor a variety of robust misconceptions. The goal of this study is to investigate the origins of these misconceptions and identify barriers to student learning of introductory MSE concepts. To categorize the sources of student misconceptions, Taber’s typology of learning impediments was used. A synthesis of research literature concerning K-12 and undergraduate physical science and chemistry misconceptions was also conducted to reveal origins of MSE related misconceptions. Misconceptions that are present in undergraduate introductory MSE students were revealed using the Materials Concept Inventory (MCI). The misconceptions were linked to four distinct categories of K-12 misconceptions in physical science and chemistry: 1) the nature of crystalline structure and unit cells, 2) the relationship between material characteristics and bonding, 3) material processing, and 4) saturation and super-saturation. These misconceptions were caused by deficiency, fragmentation, ontological, and pedagogical learning impediments. From the comparison and categorization of these misconceptions’ origins, we have made suggestions for developing effective misconception interventions and teaching approaches for introductory MSE classes.
Introductory Materials Science and Engineering (MSE) is a required course for engineering students from fields which include materials, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, aerospace engineering, and chemical engineering. For students to be successful in the course and as engineers, they must develop an understanding of the basis for a material's macroscale properties. This requires an intuitive awareness of a material's structural, nanoscale, and microscale features and their influence on macroscopic properties. However, achieving this goal is a significant conceptual challenge that confronts all levels of learners in developing useful mental models1 that link the concrete "macroworld" of everyday objects and phenomena to the abstract "nano and microworlds" of atoms, molecules, and microstructure. Many students enrolling in introductory MSE classes enter with physical science and chemistry misconceptions, causing a predisposition to MSE learning barriers. Therefore, there is a need to understand what knowledge and experiences students bring to introductory materials science and engineering courses, why this knowledge poses challenges for learning MSE concepts, and how effective strategies can be implemented in introductory MSE courses to enhance student understanding.
From a constructivist perspective, learning involves transfer of information from prior knowledge and previous experiences2. According to conceptual change theories, a major source of students’ learning challenges are due to students failing to achieve such a transfer or failing to
Purzer, S., & Krause, S., & Kelly, J. (2009, June), What Lies Beneath The Materials Science And Engineering Misconceptions Of Undergraduate Students? Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--4974
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