This lesson covers important material in the Materials Science and Processes module I teach. The first half of the lesson is experimental. Students are split into groups and mix salt with water to practically observe solutions, solubility limits and mixtures. In the second half, we work through a problem based exam type question using our experimental values as a guide. In this way, I encourage student-led learning, active engagement, the 3 domains of learning: cognitive, affective and psychomotor which has been shown to improve student learning. The digital learning resource at the bottom of this page is linked to this lesson.
Natural materials are all around us. They have been optimized through millions of years of evolution to survive and thrive in their natural environment. Many of these have been copied or mimicked to great success - velcro, shark-skin inspired swim suits. Bird, insect, fish even seed aerodynamics have been copied to inspire the design of air, water and land vehicles. We examine several of these materials together. How will the materials fail? What interesting properties do they have that we as engineers could mimic to solve a real world engineering problem? The objective is to pique students' interest in the topic of biomimetics and get them to observe natural materials in a new light - a treasure trove for inspiration.
Lesson Plan 3: Lean Manufacturing (click here)
Manufacturing methods are very important for improving and optimizing the time to delivery and the quality of mass manufactured products. In this practical lecture, the students build "trolleys" from a kit based on customer specifications (pictured left). Different assembly line structures are examined. The importance of product rules, line balancing and communication are highlighted and observed at a very practical level by the students as they see the quality and speed of their own manufacturing processes improve throughout the lesson. This lesson is heavily focused on psychomotor learning as the students develop their skill of building trolleys, they learn the theory behind the techniques by experiencing them first hand.
I try to use assessment as a tool for as and of learning. Many students are focused "assessment of learning" i.e. the final exam, and this lecture aims to prepare them for this by working through sample exam questions. During the year, I have engaged in assessment for learning and assessment as learning by following my student-led approach. Many of these sample exam questions and continuous assessments have been made entirely by (or in collaboration with) my students throughout the semester. This, together with peer and self-assessment gives them ownership over the material and a degree of control over their own exam success.