Using Concept-Building Context modules with technology and the 5 E pedagogy to promote conceptual change in materials science

Jacquelyn Kelly, James Corkins, Dale Baker, Amaneh Tasooji, Stephen Krause

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Recent advances in technology and pedagogy have demonstrated the potential for improvements in student learning. In this research we are report on the development of prototype teaching and learning modules for an introductory materials science and engineering course. At this time content and activities have been created for modules in two subject areas; atomic bonding and properties and also the area of solutions, solubility, and phase diagrams. Each module is being created as a textbook supplement that uses a technologically-enhanced and contextualized 5E Method (Engage, Explore, Explain, Expand, Evaluate) as the contemporary pedagogy for teaching, learning and assessing the topical content. The 5E Method is supplemented with technology in two ways. First, student class preparation (Engage) uses technology with pre-class, Just-in-Time-Teaching (JiTT) questions which can be web-submitted and will contextualize content with examples from students' everyday lives. This provides a learning bridge from concrete phenomena to the more abstract technical concepts of the content. The JiTT responses are, in effect, a formative evaluation that reveals student learning barriers such as misconceptions and misunderstood definitions. Additionally, students can be engaged (Explore, Explain, and Expand) with in-class Personal Response System Clicker (PRSC) questions. Question responses provide rapid feedback to the instructor and students and can reveal commonly held misconceptions that may hinder learning. The team-based, active-learning 5E pedagogy also utilizes Concept-Building Context Worksheets, which engage students with contextualized multiple representations of topical content that include: visual glossaries; macro/micro illustrations; sample data tables; graphical relationships; and controlling equations. Concept learning has been assessed the Materials Concept Inventory and concept-eliciting tasks that include two-tiered concept questions and concept sketching. The module for solubility, saturation and phase diagrams used content contextualization and concept visualization to promote conceptual change and was well received by a focus group. For a full class of 40 the activities and homework for the bonding module engaged students, improved content understanding, and also revealed unresolved misconceptions. Also, the structure of a module, and especially its concept-building context worksheet, have the potential to lower the barrier to faculty participation in active learning. The research background, construction, use and assessment of modules are described and highlighted with a few examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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