Success from Materials
World Modules Workshop held in Xian, China
Written by R.P.H. Chang
|Dr. Matthew Hsu, senior MWM researcher, conducts
teacher training workshop to facilitate the use of MWM modules
The Materials World Modules (MWM) program utilizes the principle of inquiry and design to help students engage in discovery and engineering design for societal applications. These modules were developed to motivate and train students in becoming cutting-edge innovators, effective communicators, and visionary leaders. While the MWM program had been developed for US students as its target audience, it has also been used in other countries such as Mexico and Qatar in recent years. A comparison study has been carried out to determine how culture, society and language might affect the impact and outcome of the MWM program. Earlier reports from Mexico and Qatar have shown near equivalent success as the results gathered from the US.
To further study student outcome variations, a two-week MWM workshop was conducted between July 2nd and July 18th in Xian, China. This workshop and study was the collaborative effort among MWM faculty members of Shaanxi Normal University, and 30 teachers and 120 students from six area high schools in Metropolitan Xian. During the first week, Dr. Matthew Hsu, senior MWM researcher, trained the teachers on how to use three pre-selected modules: Concrete, Smart Sensors, and Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells. During the second week, Matthew guided the teachers as they coordinated and facilitated their students in the use of the modules.
The pre-post assessment of the teachers' workshop proved to be a resounding success. The test comprised of a total of 30 items with 10 items from each of the three modules presented in the workshop. Preliminary analysis showed that the teachers' post gain was 35%, compared with typical average gains of 23% using normal classroom lecture techniques, and an effect size of 2.7, more than two standard deviation gains between the pre- and post-tests. This showed that the teachers had acquired a good grasp of the concepts taught in these three modules. Similarly, students had also demonstrated high gains, especially in the Concrete module, where students had achieved a 49% gain and an effect size of 2.5.
A comparison study of MWM from results obtained in four countries
on three continents is now being carried out.
|Participants attend a presentation during the event.
Al Bairaq Programme
Gets Msheireb Support
Msheireb Properties has supported Al Bairaq World - an initiative
of the Qatar University's Materials Technology Unit (MTU) aimed
at promoting the teaching and appreciation of science in Qatar's
Students who took part in the 'I Am a Researcher' programme over
two weeks with college scientists to study practical problems and
their best coursework is now on show at the Msheireb Enrichment
The students involved in the Al Bairaq programme
are members of the Future Affiliate Club, the company's flagship
programme for supporting young Qataris in contributing to the nation's
growth. The exhibition, open to all participating students, their
families and friends, provides a glimpse of the future through school
Al Bairaq is an educational project that encourages
students to appreciate science and research. It was launched to
support Qatar's efforts to develop its knowledge-based economy,
enrich its human capital and improve competitiveness through innovation,
entrepreneurship and applied research. Msheireb Properties and the
Future Affiliates Club were involved in the committee that helped
set up and manage the programme.
Msheireb Properties launched the
Future Affiliate Club to create an appropriate platform for Qatari
nationals to be actively involved in the development of a new Qatar.
The Future Affiliate aims to create the right medium to explore
various career options to help students contribute to their community
and its membership offers school students, including undergraduates,
a range of academic and professional guidance, including work experience
and mentoring by company personnel, support with research projects
and career advice, as well as opportunities to take part in various
events and competitions. The Msheireb Enrichment Centre is open
to the public from Monday-Thursday from 9am-8:30pm and on Saturdays
from 3:30pm-6:30pm. Entrance is free.
RasGas, QU Sign
A platinum sponsorship agreement has been signed between Qatar
University's Materials Technology Unit (MTU) and RasGas.
objective is to strengthen the collaborative relationship between
the two, and in particular advance MTU's high school initiative,
Al Bairaq World. RasGas will provide financial support to ensure
the continuance of the Al Bairaq World, an academic and scientific
programme designed to engage students from private and public schools
in Qatar in science and scientific discovery. QU president Prof
Sheikha Abdulla al-Misnad and RasGas managing director Hamad Rashid
al-Mohannadi signed the agreement.
MTU head Dr Mariam al-Maadeed, Al Bairaq World director Dr Noora
al-Thani, senior officials of QU and students from various schools
that participated in the programme were present. Dr al-Maadeed recalled
that Al Bairaq World was established in 2007. MTU, the hub of research
in materials science and engineering activities in Qatar, is involved
in a wide range of research projects that serve Qatar National Vision
2030 in areas such as corrosion, non-destructive testing, polymers
and environment-friendly materials.
MWM Returns to Qatar
Written by Gala M. Pierce
|As part of
an engineering design project for the MWM Dye Solar Cells Module,
Eleventh-grade Qatari students use censors to create a smart
garbage can that opens by itself. |
members of the Materials Research Institute at Northwestern University
anticipate the visit to Qatar in late February to be even more fruitful
than the first two.
Senior content developer Matthew Hsu will come into contact with
200-300 10th- and 11th-grade students at eight schools. His goals
are threefold: provide more teacher training, introduce new Materials
World Modules (MWM) curricula, and build upon the science-based
inquiry and engineering design principles he introduced to Qatari
schools in 2011.
“The first time I went, the design projects were very new
to students,” Hsu said. “At the beginning they were
very fearful, very apprehensive. Also they were worried about presenting
their projects in English. Now they will be more comfortable, and
it will be easier for them to succeed.”
He expects a paramount distinction this time around to be that
since students understand the MWM process, engineering design ideas
will begin percolating when the materials science concepts are first
introduced. The MWM curricula typically begin with games or other
attention-grabbers before students complete a successive number
of inquiry-based activities. The units, which typically last two
weeks, culminate with design projects so a student wears the hat
of both scientist and engineer.
“This program is especially meaningful because it allows
us to do a vertically-integrated study of students’ progression
from middle school all the way through college,” MWM Program
Director R.P.H. Chang said.
The ultimate goal of the program is to encourage more students
in the study of materials science, which is much needed in high-tech
fields. The program’s 16 modules provide authentic learning
in materials science, which naturally lends itself to interdisciplinary
studies. The polymers module, for example, is rooted in concepts
of chemistry, biology and life sciences, mathematics, physics and
physical sciences, geology and earth science, technical education,
and language arts. The unit consummates with a humidity sensor design
Besides the interdisciplinary nature of the modules, it’s
the real world applications that separate the projects from what
is typically seen in the classroom, Hsu said.
Qatari students were taught units of learning mostly in topics of
polymers, composites, and nanotechnology during the first two visits.
This time around, Hsu will implement newer MWM modules, such as
Drug Delivery at the Nanoscale and Dye Sensitized Solar Cells.
The idea is to pique students’ interest by investigating and
designing with cutting-edge technology.
“I think human beings are naturally creative and curious,
and we want to promote that wherever we go,” Hsu said.