Visualizing and discovering materials science concepts: Creating an engaging pedagogy with spreadsheets

CHED 354

Scott A. Sinex, ssinex@pgcc.edu, Dept. of Physical Sciences and Engineering, Prince George's Community College, Largo, MD 20774 and Joshua B. Halpern, jhalpern@howard.edu, Department of Chemistry, Howard University, 525 College St. NW, Washington, DC 20059.
Many materials science concepts are a part of general chemistry and can be developed into animated, interactive spreadsheets to create engaging discovery learning tools. Interactive graphic display can also be used to visualize data bases (i.e. periodic trends) and multivariable mathematical models. The Excel spreadsheets are all developed by computational methods (using formulae, not programming) and can be easily modified by instructors. This presentation will demonstrate the use of these materials for concepts including crystal structure of metals, vibrations in solids, carbon nanotubes, and thermal expansion as well as discuss student response to the materials. These are usable by high school and college students, as well as a great development tool for pre- and in-service teachers. This work is supported by the Howard/Hopkins/PGCC Partnership for Research and Education in Materials (PREM), funded by NSF Grant No. DMR-0611595. For other examples and the resources to develop these interactive spreadsheets see: http://academic.pgcc.edu/~ssinex/excelets/matsci_excelets.htm.