The Engineering Habits of Mind in the Science Classroom: Putting Inquiry-Based Learning to  Work in your Science Classroom

Maria Cunniffe, Las Lomas High School
UC Berkeley Faculty Mentor: Amy Herr; Summer 2012

This professional development (PD) presentation outlinees the theoretical background for the use of the Engineering Habits of Mind (EHoM) framework in the science classroom in order to highlight the role of creativity and collaboration in the scientific process and to strengthen student analytical skills. The PD presentation includes an educational philosophy framework for eningeering education and the EHoM, a summary/demonstration pilot unit involving the EHoM, and provides the teacher attendee an opportunity for critique as well as potential unit creation utilizing an inquiry based instruction rubric.

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1909


Analyzing Different Molecular Arrangements in Carbon Nanostructures

Edwin Contreras, Hillsdale High School
UC Berkeley Faculty Mentor: Alex Zettl; Summer 2012

Different types of Carbon nanostructures of different sizes (number of carbon atoms) such as Graphene, Carbon nanotubes and fullerenes are analyzed in terms of their molecular orientations, size and arrangements. In scientific research and technological explorations, other atoms or small molecules are added to these Carbon Nanostructures in order to give them particular properties. These added portions are called functional groups, and they attach to the Carbon atoms at different frequencies and sites. This Lesson will show how to predict the probability of attaching one or more functional groups on different types of Carbon Nanostructures using the concepts of permutations and combinations. Students work in groups as they explore the Carbon Nanostructures assigned to them, and compute probabilities based on molecular Geometry and bonding of functional groups. The Second portion of the lesson consists of multiple short presentations of students, where every group will have a member presenting to the other groups, as they assess each other and provide feedback and suggestions, students assess the work of other groups using a provided rubric.

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1890.


Freezing Ice Cream; Introduction to Heating Curves and Phase Diagrams

Kevin Eastman, Frick Junior High School
UC Berkeley Faculty Mentor: Peter Hosemann; Summer 2012

Teachers often have students make ice cream in class as a fun way to experience a change of state (freezing). During the process, the temperature of ice is lowered by adding salt. In this lesson students will attempt to quantify the affect of salt on the heating curve of water (ice). Groups will be given ice with different concentrations of salt, follow a procedure to heat their samples, and record data and observations. Using a spreadsheet such as Excel, students will use their data to create a heating curve graph. Students will then share results and, using class data, create a basic phase diagram for salt and water. Using our research results, students will determine the ideal amount of salt to add to a known quantity of ice to achieve maximum cooling.2

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1780.


Seeing Small Thinking Big

Toai Dao, Life Academy of Health & Science
UC Berkeley Faculty Mentor: Ting Xu; Summer 2012

Cutting edge scientific discoveries and research requires a strong understanding of the possible different scientific tools that are available to collect different data.  In this ETP, students will learn about  current optical resolution limits of different scientific equiptment and how the resolution impact scientific investigation and progress.  They will learn about when and how to use a light microscope to increase their ability to observe and investigate.  Particularly students will through practicum, microscopically observe their own cheek cells.   Students will also interpret imaged data to estimate sizes of different specimans and scale bars to demonstrate their ability to calculate magnifications and field of view sizes.

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1885.


The Chemistry of Carbon Nanostructures And Their Potential Applications

Edwin Contreras, Oakland Community Day High School
UC Berkeley Faculty Mentor: Alex Zettl; Summer 2011

This project consisted in growing 1 to 10 layers of graphene on Nickel substrates using Chemical Vapor Deposition techniques and optimizing this process by finding the best graphene growth conditions (parameters). In essence looking for the perfect recipe for an easy, affordable and scalable way to grow high quality few-layered graphene. The final goal is to make transparent and continuous graphene that can be used in applications for photovoltaic solar cells.

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1295.


Bioengineering in the High School Classroom

Maria Cunniffe, Las Lomas High School
UC Berkeley Faculty Mentor: Amy Herr; Summer 2011

This project connected engineering design concepts with biological and chemistry concepts and techniques in a dynamic scientific setting. The Herr lab works in the field of microfluidics, using microchips as a platform for biological testing for diseases that in the past had been studied on the macroscale. By converting these tests to microscale, the time, expense, and need for large sample volumes and hazardous materials has decreased. At the same time, doing these assays on the same scale that is found in our bodies is leading to new and improved understanding of how things work at the cellular level that was not possible working at microscale. The techniques being developed and perfected in the Herr lab, along with the potential benefit to society as a whole, exemplifies the importance of infusing engineering careers/concepts into science courses. The creative design process, collaborative team approach, and multiple modes of communication used by scientists are skills students can develop to increase their comprehension of core science concepts, improve their connection to abstract science principles, and broaden their awareness of the career options available to them as they further their education.

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1225


Teaching Science Literature Skills: How professional researchers use reference management programs

Michael Patterson, Serra High School
Stanford Faculty Mentor: Prof. Beth Pruitt; Summer 2011

This project looked at how professional researchers use reference management programs to search, store, reference, cite and share personal libraries of primary literature in science and engineering. Through interviews with professional researchers and product tests on various reference systems, Michael developed an awareness of how a central, reference management system is to the life of the science researcher. Furthermore, the contrast between what high school and undergraduate students do to research topics for technical papers, and what professional researchers do to familiarize themselves with the state of scientific knowledge, or finding an optimal lab process, could not be greater. Generally, students locate a few citations to plug into a paper and then cite it in easybib. In contrast, professional researchers develop large libraries that they become familiar with, have frequent scholarly conversations about, share with colleagues, and ponder over the usefulness to their inquiry. With students, the exercise in using literature is often more academic in that it is completed to have something to cite. For the researcher, the stored library of PDFs is the tool they use to construct lab experiments, situate their niche in a broader field, and springboard their own ideas.

For a detailed lesson plan and how this activity meets California Teaching Standards, please visit: http://community.iisme.org/lessons/display.cfm?lessonid=1081


Discrepant Data

Gary Benz, American High School, Fremont, CA
Stanford Faculty Mentor: Prof. Chris Chidsey; Summer 2011

This project developed hands on guided inquiry lab experiences in which high school chemistry students work together in small groups to carry out an exciting activity that will run in conjunction with Stanford graduate student volunteers. This six-day activity is economically designed to address the concept of solubility and give students the opportunity to experience an inquiry-based lab. Students collect data that is discrepant at first and then address factors that may account for the varying results. Students test their ideas with simple laboratory equipment and then use the kinetic-molecular theory to explain how each factor affects solubility at the molecular level. Students generate data, organize it, test a hypothesis, explain the data based on a model and learn California State Chemistry Standard on solubility in six days.

This lesson plan is currently under development and once completed will be published on the IISME website: http://community.iisme.org/