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Why not just run this as a demo? Differences in students’ conceptual understanding after experiments or demonstrations

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Conference

2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Labs and Experiments

Tagged Division

Chemical Engineering

Page Count

8

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/29129

Download Count

75

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Paper Authors

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Margot A Vigeant Bucknell University

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Margot Vigeant is a professor of chemical engineering at Bucknell University. She earned her B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University, and her M.S. and Ph.D., also in chemical engineering, from the University of Virginia. Her primary research focus is on engineering pedagogy at the undergraduate level. She is particularly interested in the teaching and learning of concepts related to thermodynamics. She is also interested in active, collaborative, and problem-based learning, and in the ways hands-on activities such as making, technology, and games can be used to improve student engagement.

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Michael J. Prince Bucknell University

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Dr. Michael Prince is a professor of chemical engineering at Bucknell University and co-director of the National Effective Teaching Institute. His research examines a range of engineering education topics, including how to assess and repair student misconceptions and how to increase the adoption of research-based instructional strategies by college instructors and corporate trainers. He is actively engaged in presenting workshops on instructional design to both academic and corporate instructors.

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Katharyn E. K. Nottis Bucknell University

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Dr. Nottis is an Educational Psychologist and Professor of Education at Bucknell University. Her research has focused on meaningful learning in science and engineering education, approached from the perspective of Human Constructivism. She has authored several publications and given numerous presentations on the generation of analogies, misconceptions, and facilitating learning in science and engineering education. She has been involved in collaborative research projects focused on conceptual learning in chemistry, chemical engineering, seismology, and astronomy.

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Milo Koretsky Oregon State University

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Milo Koretsky is a Professor of Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from UC San Diego and his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, all in Chemical Engineering. He currently has research activity in areas related engineering education and is interested in integrating technology into effective educational practices and in promoting the use of higher-level cognitive skills in engineering problem solving. His research interests particularly focus on what prevents students from being able to integrate and extend the knowledge developed in specific courses in the core curriculum to the more complex, authentic problems and projects they face as professionals. Dr. Koretsky is one of the founding members of the Center for Lifelong STEM Education Research at OSU.

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Edward C Bent Bucknell University

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Edward Bent is currently an undergraduate student at Bucknell University majoring in chemical engineering.

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Rachel Cincotta Bucknell University

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Rachel Cincotta is a student at Bucknell University pursuing a BS in Chemical Engineering.

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Kyle Andrew MacDougall Bucknell University Chemical Engineering Department

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Currently a Chemical Engineering student with a process concentration in Bucknell University's class of 2017. Throughout my studies at Bucknell I have gained many areas of interest, especially in the fields of food science, pharmaceutical engineering, and material science. After graduation I plan on pursuing a career as a process engineer, either in the food or pharmaceutical industries. Ideally I would like to be working as a process engineer on a chocolate production system.

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Abstract

Chemical engineering enrollments have ballooned in the past five years, making it increasingly challenging to find physical space for undergraduate student laboratory experiences. Rather than have laboratory sections with core chemical engineering courses such as fluid mechanics or heat transfer, most students’ in-major laboratory experience is limited to a unit operations laboratory course. Our previous work demonstrated that inquiry-based laboratory activities, brief hands-on-experiments designed to directly combat common misconceptions, could be highly effective at repairing students’ misconceptions. However, even brief experiments present logistical challenges for many colleagues. Therefore we undertook a study asking the question: What is the effectiveness of the same activities if performed as demonstrations?

Over 200 heat transfer students at three institutions were given the Heat and Energy Concept Inventory (HECI) at both the start and end of the semester. During the semester, instructors either had students complete four brief laboratory experiments designed to repair common misconceptions in two areas of heat transfer or had students watch demonstrations of the same experiments as demonstrations. Both treatments were accompanied with the same pre-lab prediction questions and post-lab assessment and reflection questions, which kept student time devoted to each activity similar. Students performing the experiment in small groups scored higher on the concept inventory than did students who watched a demonstration (24.7-percentage point increase relative to 16.9-percentage point increase) although both groups improved significantly relative to their pre-test scores. Analysis of the student reflection questions mirrored this trend, with students performing experiments answering the reflection questions more fully and more correctly than students who watched the demonstration.

Vigeant, M. A., & Prince, M. J., & Nottis, K. E. K., & Koretsky, M., & Bent, E. C., & Cincotta, R., & MacDougall, K. A. (2017, June), Why not just run this as a demo? Differences in students’ conceptual understanding after experiments or demonstrations Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. https://peer.asee.org/29129

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