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Friday, November 13 • 3:30pm - 3:30pm
Discovering Physical Science Concepts From Everyday Materials

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We have developed a pedagogical open access manifoldapp textbook on the “Science of Everyday Materials,” that helps students in learning science topics in the everyday context. This is being used to teach the course physical science for non-science majors. Rather than teaching students in traditional disciplinary bounds: physics, chemistry, biology, our course and resources incorporate examples from everyday life through which the underlying science can be learnt, sometimes cutting across all fundamental physical sciences. Take coffee for examples: grinding beans is a physical process, coffee in itself is a chemical, and caffeine’s effects on our body is biological.

In addition, most of everyday practical ‘materials’ are a combination of solid-liquid properties. Ketchup for example is a liquid when flowing out of a bottle, but a solid when dipping a fry through it. This course features the science behind household materials that have combinations of solid and liquid properties. Apart from textual content, the course features lively experiments such as how to make huge soap bubbles, and the science of Oobleck (magic mud).

In the broader context, this course features how to solve complex problems by understanding their most basic concepts. One example seemingly unconnected to materials is traffic jams. Traffic jams arise from driver-driver interactions, similar to the emergence of material properties from interactions between molecules. Students can apply the quantitative methods learnt during discovering the science behind every day phenomena, to solve problems, in their day to day jobs be it academia or industry.

At this session, we will discuss the different examples from our open textbook and lab experiments, as well as future plans for learning modules to teach core scientific concepts through examples from everyday life.

Learning Outcomes: Teaching science to non-science undergraduate majors is both important and challenging. We have developed pedagogical resources to teach physical science concepts to non-science majors through everyday examples ranging from traditional materials to the science of huge soap bubbles and even traffic jams. These are available in an online textbook form as a manifoldapp project, as part of an Affordable Learning Georgia (ALG) grant: https://alg.manifoldapp.org/projects/science-of-everyday-materials

avatar for Skanda Vivek

Skanda Vivek

Assistant Professor, Georgia Gwinnett College

Friday November 13, 2020 3:30pm - 3:30pm EST
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