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SIMPLE MATERIALS SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS TO DO IN THE CLASS TO ENHANCE STUDENTS LEARNING

Learning a concept is much more fruitful when it is seen or experienced directly than when it is conveyed by a book or a person. The purpose of this work is to compile different simple experiments that can be performed directly in the classroom when concepts are explained. The aim of these experiments is that the students experience directly the concept to be learned, and hence, improve their learning. In addition, the implementation of this methodology can represent an important incentive to encourage students’ attendance to the class, and enrich in this way the added value of the existence of a lecturer.

The different experiments compiled are designed for Materials Science subjects. Examples of the experiments are:
(i) how an aluminium foil with an attached tape bends when heated due to the differences in the thermal expansion coefficients of both materials,
(ii) how the heated is more quickly conducted/diffused in a copper wire compared to a stainless-steel wire, and
(iii) how a polymer material changes its mechanical behaviour when strained at different rates.

In order to assess whether the desired learning improvement has been achieved, different indicators and criteria are presented, such as the reaction of the students to the in-class experiments, the correct understanding by the students of the concepts supported by the experiments through the evaluation of these concepts, and the feedback of the students related to the new methodology presented, which is collected through a survey.