442836 Elastomeric Bouncy Balls - a Module to Connect Real-World Concepts and Current Engineering Research to K-12 Education

Monday, November 9, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Victor Antontsev, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, Jocelyn Podyma, Northeastern University and Lucas J. Landherr, Department of Chemical Engineering, Northeastern University, Boston, MA

The creation of STEM modules that progressively build on an initial foundation and are integrated in a series of stages at different age groups has been recommended as an effective way of incorporating inquiry-based learning into education. This project develops a series of structured inquiry-based experiments that can be incorporated into STEM curricula at four different grade levels (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12), with emphasis on an introduction of more sophisticated concepts at higher grade levels. The experiments are all centered on the crosslinking of sodium borate solution (Borax) and polyvinyl acetate (Elmer’s glue). The reaction is simple and cheap to carry out in any laboratory setting, and results in the creation of an elastomer. The experiments will expose students at the K-2 stage to the basic, practical concept of a product forming from the mixing of separate materials while in grades 3-5, slightly more developed aspects such as the ideas of density, area, and mass are introduced.  At the more advanced level, the experiments designed for grades 6-8 link to the basics of chemistry, leading into the final stage (grades 9-12) where students connect their experience with the module to the concept of elasticity and develop a more advanced understanding of reactions and chemistry. The definition of a polymer, as well as the mechanism of cross-linking and more advanced material properties such as Young’s modulus are ideas that are introduced with the experimental design in an order that reinforces past concepts and creates the basis for future learning. The experiments connect to the material students would be encountering in their coursework by providing a visual application of the theory learned in class.

Extended Abstract: File Not Uploaded
See more of this Session: Undergraduate Student Poster Session: Education & General Papers
See more of this Group/Topical: Student Poster Sessions