The materials world module series and the polymer module: A design-oriented approach to teach scientific concepts to grades 9-12 students through materials science

SonBinh T. Nguyen, Jennifer K. Cocson, Carol L. Colby, Robert P. H. Chang, Keith E. Miller

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The Materials World Modules (MWM), funded by the National Science Foundation, is a series of nine short texts that introduce science and scientific concepts to high school students through guided investigations of the materials that surrounds us in the modern world. Designed to be flexible, these modules can be incorporated into a high school science curriculum as a learning-by-inquiry addition to the main science texts. Depending on the time that the teacher has, each module can be covered in 8 to 15 class periods. Using an inquiry method of learning, the modules prompt the students to generate questions about a subject and find experimental approaches which will lead them to the answers. The modules encourage the students to learn by carrying out simple experiments using readily available materials. The Polymers Module of the MWM series aims at introducing the concepts of polymer chemistry and polymeric materials to an audience that has had some exposure to general chemistry. It asks the students to investigate their surroundings to find polymer-based objects and to infer the properties of those objects from knowing the structures of the monomeric building blocks. It introduces the relation between polymer properties and structure and that between polymer properties and molecular weight by suggesting experiments that students can do with poly(vinyl alcohol) and poly(vinyl acetate) films. Finally, it encourages the students to use what they have learned to design simple devices using polymeric materials. An example of such a device is a humidity sensor that is fabricated from thin polymer films.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
Pages137-148
Number of pages12
Volume684
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Event2001 MRS Spring Meeting - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Apr 16 2001Apr 20 2001

Other

Other2001 MRS Spring Meeting
CountryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA
Period4/16/014/20/01

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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    Nguyen, S. T., Cocson, J. K., Colby, C. L., Chang, R. P. H., & Miller, K. E. (2001). The materials world module series and the polymer module: A design-oriented approach to teach scientific concepts to grades 9-12 students through materials science. In Materials Research Society Symposium Proceedings (Vol. 684, pp. 137-148)