Exciting Students About Materials Science and Engineering: A Project-Based, Service-Learning Museum Design Course
Published in Proceedings of the ASEE Annual Conference, June 1, 2007.
A new course was developed for Materials Engineering students to design, create, and install interactive, educational displays on Materials Science & Engineering for a science museum at a local K-6 charter school. The course grew out of an ASM Foundation grant “to excite young people in materials, science, and engineering careers,” and the challenge was put forth to Cal Poly students. A formal design sequence was applied to give the students the opportunity to learn about the design process, project management, and teamwork. User profiles were created for the stakeholders, and project values were established. The class partnered with the museum curator to develop functional and design requirements for the displays, and to gain valuable feedback during the project development. Guest lectures and discussions with museum exhibit developers, education specialists, and design experts assisted the class. Three different displays that highlighted materials were developed: “Metallic Trampoline” (amorphous metal), “Smart Materials” (NiTi shape memory alloys), and “Touch and See” (heat sensing liquid crystals). The final museum displays were well received by the client and end users. A survey at the end of the quarter revealed that the engineering students gained valuable design and project experiences.
Materials Science and Engineering
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