Materials World Modules

An Inquiry & Design-Based Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Program

Materials World Modules (MWM) PICATINNY ACTIVITY UPDATE, 17 APRIL 2008 (Apr. 2008)

by Colonel Ed Petersen, Picatinny, New Jersey


Col. Ed Petersen welcomes teachers

Bill Weber leads the Sports Materials Module.


The preceding two weeks have produced great progress in the New Jersey MWM outreach program. Two major training sessions were conducted staffed by instructors from Northwestern University. Teacher participants represented assignments ranging from elementary school through advanced placement high school courses. As suggested by the Commissioner of Education, one session was held in the northeastern area of the state and one in the central region. Two important conferences were held at Picatinny regarding support of the program. Visits were made to two school districts in order to provide follow-up assistance requested by teachers in those schools.

The northeastern regional training workshop was held at the Hudson County School of Technology on April 7th and 8th. This school has been selected as one of the "Best High Schools in the Nation" by US News and World Report. The administration offered to host our meeting and to provide food, materials, and on-site services free of charge. This represents a cost sharing of over $2000.00 by the school. Ten New Jersey school districts (Cliffside Park, East Newark, Fairview, Guttenberg, Harrison, Kearny , North Bergen, Secaucus, Sparta, and Union County Tech) sent twenty-eight active teachers to the training. Dr. Ernie Lepore, member of the N.J. State Board of Education, several school district administrators, Picatinny Scientists and Engineers and STEM Project Office Staff were also in attendance. Instruction was provided by four Northwestern instructors in Biodegradable Materials, Composites, Smart Sensors, and Sports Materials. The success of this training can not be overstated. Participants were enthusiastic, impressed with the quality of instruction, excited by the potential of the MWM program, and eager to get students involved.

Following the momentum generated at the Hudson County workshop, the second training session was held at the Jackson Liberty High School on April 14th and 15th . This facility is a beautiful new state-of-the-art high school, with two of its vice principals being former science teachers. It offers amenities superior to those found in many colleges. As a result, we were given outstanding support, 5 fully equipped labs in which to conduct the training, a large group lecture hall, and a private cafeteria for use as we saw fit. Three school districts (Jackson, Sparta, and Toms River) sent 38 active teachers to the training. They were joined by several district administrators, Northwestern support staff, and Picatinny representatives. Instruction was provided by five Northwestern instructors, all of whom were co-authors of at least one of the MWM modules. The modules taught were Biodegradable Materials, Biosensors, Concrete, Food Packaging, and Sports Materials. Some participants were fortunate enough to receive a preview of the soon-to-be-released Nano modules. Participant response to the training was every bit as positive as the earlier session. Teachers repeatedly publicly stated during the wrap-up session that this was the best workshop they attended in their entire careers. Numerous attendees went out of their way to personally inform the Picatinny Education Director, Ed Petersen, of their gratitude for allowing them to attend, the welcome addition MWM will be to their school's curriculum, and their total support of DoD's effort to help solve the American crisis in STEM education.

The evaluations of the workshops completed by participants during the out-brief contained frequent positive comments. Some examples of typical statements follow:

"Well done, I will begin implementing it next week."

"Great experience, I will definitely incorporate into my classroom."

"I hope that we have the opportunity to take another module."

"Everything was wonderful. Thank you for a great experience."

"This was a great educational experience."

"Excellent, would like the opportunity to attend other workshops on other modules."

"I loved this workshop experience. I wish there were more opportunities like this available."

At the request of one of our experienced MWM teachers, Dee Guarino, Ed Petersen, Picatinny STEM Education Office Education Director, traveled to Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick on April 9, 2008. Dee had been selected by the New Jersey Education Association to be included in their "Classroom Close-up, NJ" program to be shown on NJN Public TV. Her students demonstrated activities from the MWM Sports Materials Module to the film crew. Picatinny has had an Education Partnership Agreement with her district since 2006. She attended the MWM Summer Institute at Garrett College in 2007 as one of New Jersey 's teachers. After receiving her starter kit from our program she has been able to secure outside grant money to continue its funding. Ed was interviewed at length by the film crew and told them how Dee demonstrates everything we had hoped a teacher would, from DoD/ARDEC influence, to EPA partnership, to participation in DoD sponsored training, to engineer motivation of students, and to obtaining independent continuation funding. A more in-depth program on DoD/ARDEC outreach is being pursued.

A visit was also made to the Secaucus High School to follow-up on a request made by a teacher at the Hudson County training session. MWM kits were personally delivered to quickly get them into the hands of teachers who were unable to take the kits home from the training because of a larger than expected turn out at the workshop. (More people attended than pre-registered.)

For more information on MWM, please view.

For more information on Picatinny, please visit:


Food Packaging Group, Kate Heroux, MWM Instructor

Sports Materials Group, Bill Weber, MWM Instructor

Concrete Group, Ken Turner, MWM Instructor

Biodegradable Materials Group, Sharon McCoy, MWM Instructor

Biosensors Group

@ Materials World Modules, 2017