Materials Science Sesame Course Winter 2013

This class provides a general overview of materials science. We will focus upon applying fundamental chemistry, physics, and engineering concepts to the understanding of solids and explorations of liquid properties. The diverse array of topics to be covered includes atoms and molecules—the “building blocks” of materials, the physical properties of solids, an introduction to the specialized instrumentation used to study materials, topics in contemporary materials science, and linking materials science to curriculum content standards. We will also provide opportunities to directly engage with materials through hands-on activities. 
In this class we will 1) develop an understanding of the science of materials, 2) make connections between materials science and the world around us, and 3) explore the process of teaching and learning scientific inquiry through materials science.


Date of Class





9 Jan

Introduction to Materials Science

Parachutes Activity: What are the criteria for good inquiry activities


M. Vincent
16 Jan

Atoms and Electronic Structure

Exploring Inquiry: Comparing Approaches

M. Vincent
23 Jan

Bonding and Chemical Structure

 Properties of Elements Lab

A discussion on the noble gas configuration (it is the outcome, not the driving force)


M. Vincent
30 Jan

Crystal Structure

Symmetry and Crystal Packing Lab 


Z. Yan
6 Feb

Instruments for Studying Materials

 AFM Lab


R. Brown
13 Feb

Lab Tour of Materials Science Facilities 5-6 PM meet in Gordon Center east lobby

Biomaterials Presentation from 6-7 PM in Ryerson 352

Map of Gordon Center and Ryerson 


M. Murrell
20 Feb

Granular Materials Presentation

Granular Materials Lab 


I. Peters

27 Feb


 Presentation of projects

Rubric for Evaluating Projects


Z. Yan

6 Mar

The Fluid State of Matter

 Presentation of projects

J. Burton
13 Mar

Materials at Ultracold Temperatures



J. Burton
Some additional useful links:
  • Exploratorium Education: this is where all of the Inquiry Institutes can be downloaded. They also have lots of hands-on experiments for students.
  • Fun science demos: This is the website of Bassam Shakhashiri, the 2012 American Chemical Society President. He has lots of great links to science experiments and science in the news. 
  • Khan Academy Chemistry Review: If you need to review some chemistry topics this might be a useful place to start. 
  • Chemguide: This is a chemistry guide from the UK for high school level chemistry. He gives very good explanations based on the inter- and intra-molecular forces.