Cross-disciplinary molecular science education in introductory science courses

CHED 1245

David J. Yaron1, Donald R. Sadoway, dsadoway@mit.edu2, Laura M. Bartolo, lbartolo@kent.edu3, Gaea Leinhardt4, Colin Ashe, cashe@mit.edu2, John J Portman, jportman@kent.edu5, W. Craig Carter6, Michael Karabinos1, and Jodi Davenport7. (1) Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213, (2) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Room 8-203, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, (3) Materials Informatics Lab, Kent State University, 036 Science Research Building, Kent, OH 44242, (4) Learning Research and Development Center (LRDC), University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, (5) Department of Physics, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, (6) Department of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT, Room 13-5095, 77 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02139, (7) Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
This paper will present a set of online instructional materials that are designed for use in discipline-specific courses, yet help students to draw connections between disciplines. The initial target courses include chemistry, materials science and biology. The disciplines share goals related to molecular science and, although the focus and details may differ, "recurring patterns" appear in the explanatory frameworks and tools employed in each of the disciplines. The goal of our instructional materials is to help make these recurring patterns explicit for students, such that they can integrate the ideas across disciplines and construct a coherent and robust set of knowledge. The materials we have developed to date are related to the use of free energy landscapes to understand the effects of temperature on molecular processes. The materials are housed in the Materials Digital Library (www.matdl.org).