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Materials Science and Technology in the High School Classroom: A Report on the Math and Science Partnership

Andrew Nydam and Glenn Daehn | Ohio Mathematics and Science Partnership Program and The Ohio State University

Materials Science and Technology in the High School Classroom: A Report on the Math and Science Partnership

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Materials science is by nature an interdisciplinary field, and thus is ideally suited to integration with current physical and chemical science courses at the high school level. Math and Science Partnership (MSP) is a 3-year program aimed at teaching and equipping high school teachers to incorporate meaningful and interesting materials science laboratory experiments and assignments into the classrooms. As part of this program, high school science teachers participate in a week of 'camp' during the summer and a series of day-long workshops during the school year. These give instruction on a number of topics and potential laboratory experiments. Materials science is then taught without much of the higher-level math. The goal is instead to engage the students by showing them science concepts and making them aware of some of the complexities of everyday objects. The results of this program have been very positive from the perspective of both the students and the teachers. Both academically oriented and typically science-averse students find the course material interesting; each group expressed the opinion that the course material was geared towards them and not the other group of students. Embracing the MSP teaching practices has also changed the way teachers teach. Teachers are now acting as classroom coaches instead of lecturers and worksheet dispensers. As the program grows, more seasoned high school teachers are leading the camps for incoming teachers, showing the potential for tremendous growth and dispersal of the philosophy and techniques of the MSP program.