478053 An Experiment Based Smartphone Education App for a Simple Introduction to Chemical Engineering Kinetics

Monday, November 14, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Simone Stanley1, Wardell Samotshozo1, Abiye Mekonnen2, Legand Burge1 and Patrick Ymele-leki2, (1)Howard University, Washington, DC, (2)Chemical Engineering, Howard University, washington, DC

Chemical engineering kinetics studies the rates of chemical reactions. It governs the production of almost all industrial processes, including manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, petrochemicals, and food production. The purpose of this study was to develop an experiment based smartphone application (App) to introduce this fundamental engineering principle through an interactive learning environment for High School students and first year engineering students. The kinetics experiment relies on thermochromic dyes and their ability to change color with changes in temperature. Firstly, we developed an app that accurately predicts the temperature of thermochromic dyes solutions with varied concentrations by relying on colorimetric measurements. The app was found to be highly reliable, with an accuracy greater than 95%. Then, we designed hands on kinetics lessons suitable for pre-college students that take advantage of the capabilities of the app. Additionally, we tested the app in a classroom setting. Two cohorts, totaling thirty pre-college students, were engaged in an interactive program which involved the app in a laboratory setting. Surveys were conducted before and after the 4 day program in order to assess the effectiveness of the app as a learning tool. Survey results and student suggestions will be analyzed and considered to increase accuracy and efficiency of the app and to develop further experiments that best fit the needs students and teachers alike in pre-college settings. The app could inspire additional Smartphone-based lesson plans and activities for K-12 institutions, especially those with limited resources or those that target under-represented minority populations. Affordable technology solutions such as this learning app will help introduce engineering education to the classroom and increase the production of STEM professionals to solve the scientific problems yet to come.

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