Materials World Modules

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

Success from Materials World Modules Workshop held in Xian, China (July, 2012)

Dr. Matthew Hsu, senior MWM researcher, conducts teacher training workshop to facilitate the use of MWM modules in schools.

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.

@ Materials World Modules